One of the three muscles at the back of your thigh, the hamstring plays a vital part in all your movement, especially when exercising.

It’s also unfortunately, one of the muscles most prone to injury, which is why you’re always hearing about athletes suffering from a ‘pulled hamstring’.

Tight or rigid hamstrings can greatly restrict your flexibility. But here are some ways in which you can relieve the tension:

1. Begin stretches by bending knees. Keeping your upper body straight, bend your knee upwards towards your chest. This initial movement will relieve the stress on your calves and hamstrings, making the following stretches more comfortable.

2. Don’t prolong static stretches. Studies show that holding on to a static stretch beyond 30 seconds could become counterproductive. It’s much better to hold on to a stretch for 15-30 seconds at a time, in order to prevent muscle resistance and tightness later.

3. Work out other muscles. The muscular system of the body works in consonance, so it’s a good idea to do back and hip stretches as well as calf-stretches besides focusing on your thighs.

4. Don’t overdo the stretching. It’s tempting to try and push limits when working out, but instead of benefiting you, a too strenuous a workout could backfire. Ease into stretches to lower muscle resistance and gradually build up strength.