062: 7 Weeks of Hatha Yoga is Effective for Producing Significant Increases in Hamstring Flexibility in Both Males and FemalesJul 18, 2022
LaSala, T. T., Run-Kowzun, T., & Figueroa, M. (2021.) 'The Effect of a Hatha Yoga Practice on Hamstring Flexibility.' Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies volume 28, pages 439-449.
31 healthy adults (11 males, 27 females, 21.2 ± 2.6 years old) with limited or no yoga experience completed a twice-weekly Hatha yoga programme for 7 weeks. Each yoga exercise was an active movement followed by a static hold that increased in duration from 30-60 seconds to 60-90 seconds, and then 90-120 seconds. At the end of the 7-week programme, all participants exhibited significant increases in hamstring flexibility. There was no difference in increase between sides of the body or between sexes of the participants.
The optimal function of the musculoskeletal systems requires the ability to access an adequate range of motion, but especially of the hamstrings, since hamstring tightness has been significantly associated with the development of low back pain and injuries to the lower extremities (Ahmed et al., 2015; Sadler et al., 2017).
Possessing a sufficient level of flexibility helps to improve activities of daily living, and stretching has been shown to improve physiological and psychological function in everyday life (Kim et al., 2004). Furthermore, flexibility exercises have positively influenced posture-related lower back pain (Crombez et al., 1999).
Yoga is practiced in many forms all over the world. Hatha yoga, in particular, which is one of the oldest methods that utilises a combination of dynamic movement, static holds, and controlled breathing, has been shown to improve flexibility and has been suggested to be an effective option for the treatment and management of lower back pain (Akyuz & Kenis-Coskun, 2018; Plastaras et al., 2015).
In this study, positive effects on hamstring flexibility following a 7-week progressive Hatha yoga programme were confirmed via the use of laser-guided digital goniometry, with no significant differences between sides of the body or between sexes of participants.
The results will be of interest to athletes and sports coaches since hamstring strains caused by excessive muscle tightness are one of the most common injuries in sports (Birkel & Edgren, 2000).
In addition, increased hamstring flexibility is important to older individuals due to age-related declines in joint ROM, and participation in a group Hatha yoga class may also contribute to an improved sense of well-being because of the community aspect of participating in a social activity.
Ahmed, H., Iqbal, A., Answer, S., et al. (2015.) 'Effect of Modified Hold-Relax Stretching and Static Stretching on Hamstring Muscle Flexibility.' Journal of Physical Therapy Science volume 27, number 2, pages 535-538.
Akyuz, G. & Kenis-Coskun, O. (2018.) 'The Efficacy of Tai Chi and Yoga in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Spondyloarthropathies: A Narrative Biomedical Review.' Rheumatology International volume 38, number 3, pages 321-330.
Birkel, D. A. & Edgren, L. (2000.) 'Hatha Yoga: Improved Vital Capacity of College Students.' Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine volume 6, number 6, pages 55-63.
Crombez, G., Vlaeyen, J. W., Heuts, P. H., et al. (1999.) 'Pain-Related Fear is More Disabling Than Pain Itself: Evidence on the Role of Pain-Related Fear in Chronic Back Pain Disability.' Pain volume 80, number 1-2, pages 329-339.
Kim, Y. S., Jeong, I. S., & Jung, H. M. (2004.) 'The Effects of a Stretching Exercise Program in Elderly Women.' Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing volume 34, number 1, pages 123-131.
Plastaras, C. T., Huang, L. Y., Metzger, C. J., et al. (2015.) 'Yoga Therapy for Management of Neck and Low Back Pain.' Journal of Yoga and Physical Therapy volume 5, number 4, article 1000215.
Sadler, S. G., Spink, M. J., Ho, A., et al. (2017.) 'Restriction in Lateral Bending Range of Motion, Lumbar Lordosis, and Hamstring Flexibility Predicts the Development of Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review of Prospective Cohort Studies.' BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders volume 18, number 1, article 179.