Rachel Richards

licensed massage therapist

east village, nyc

News: August 2023

Why Your Hamstrings and Lower Back Are Always Tight

If you have a chronically tight, achy lower back or hamstrings that have not been helped by massage or stretching, there's a good chance you need to strengthen your core and gluteal muscles. These muscles tend to weaken while we sit for hours every day.

When the gluteal muscles are weak, the hamstrings will pick up the slack, working double duty to help with hip movement and stability. The hamstrings, however, are not equipped for the job and will wear down over time, resulting in excessive tension, soreness, and a high risk of injuries. Similarly, the lower back tries to compensate for weakness and instability in the gluteal and core muscles, also leading to increased tension, pain, and injury risk.

When we notice our hamstrings are feeling tight and sore, we often try to alleviate the discomfort by stretching them, but as long as the glutes don't pull their weight, our hamstrings must remain tight like guitar strings. Often, injuries occur when trying to stretch tight hamstrings, since the muscle fibers will contract against the stretch. This creates a sort of tug of war that can lead to hamstring strains. In other words, stop trying to stretch your hamstrings and start activating your gluteal muscles.

The same goes for the lower back. Almost everyone experiences lower back pain at some point. Many of us are familiar with back spasms that feel like a hot rod through the spine every time we move. Even without pain, our lower back muscles often feel stiff and immobile. That's because they are trying to stabilize our spines and hips while our deep abdominal muscles and glutes are on vacation. Again, stretching won't help and may even make things worse.

Vacation is over! We need to wake up our core and gluteal muscles so that our lower backs and hamstrings can finally relax, and we can give them that glorious stretch they've been waiting for. The way to improve hamstring and lower back muscle flexibility is not by stretching, but by strengthening.

The glute bridge with miniband exercise is a great place to start!

In this video, I teach you a super effective way to activate and strengthen your deep abdominal muscles, as well as your glutes. If you do this exercise daily, you may be surprised at how soon you feel the results. You just might find your lower back and hamstrings pain-free and more flexible. Not only that, strengthening your core and gluteal muscles supports the whole body, improving alignment, allowing for more mobility, and reducing your risk of injury. Follow along with me and unlock your flexibility. Strengthen before you lengthen!

Relieve Anxiety and Find Balance

Join me for a transformational self-massage that will help you reconnect with your body and mind, and leave you feeling relaxed, balanced, and rejuvenated. We will playfully explore the idea of balance through breathwork, mindfulness meditation, stretching, and everyone's favorite, self-massage. Have a comfortable seat and get ready to feel amazing!

What's new with me ...

Massage Today, a news magazine for the massage therapy profession, reached out to me to ask my opinion for an article about common massage myths and misconceptions. Check it out!

Jesse and I took Sienna to a teaching supplies store in Brooklyn. She was elated, she loves playing teacher. She studied each item in the store with delight, and piled up everything she wanted on the checkout counter. It was an impressive pile!

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American Massage Therapy Association

Swedish InstituteCertified Myoskeletal TherapistNational Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork

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