Make your hamstrings feel like *butter* with the ‘waterfall stretch’


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Photo: Getty Images/RichVintage

My hamstrings are more like violin strings or Spandex-laced skinny jeans. Read: Extremely tight. As such, I tend to lift one foot up onto any raised surface I come across during a stroll or a conversation, and then bend over a bit to stretch them out. It may look funny, but whatever—my hammies need some love.

From now on though, you’re going to catch me doing the “waterfall stretch.” This involves slightly bending one knee while sticking the other foot slightly in front of you, toes pointed up while keeping that heel planted. Then you outstretch your arms, folding your body over the front heel, and flowing gracefully back up in a waterfall-esque motion.

Adidas running coach Jessie Zapotechne enlightened me with this stretch right before we knocked out a 5K (while testing out the new Adidas headphones, which—BTW—are really great), and my legs truly felt like butter, and so much more loose than they typically feel after my regular hamstring stretches. “The waterfall stretch is one of my favorites for runners because it stretches out the entire back side of your body—think glutes, hamstrings, and calves, as well as your lower back and shoulders,” she tells me. “It’s a simple move, but you’ll often see elite distance runners doing this as a dynamic warm-up before running or racing.”

It makes perfect sense, considering how many trainers praise the perks of a dynamic (rather than a static) warmup before exercise. “Dynamic warm-ups activate specific muscle groups that you will use in your workout and will help to prevent injury when done consistently,” she adds. Of course, you don’t have to be a runner in order to enjoy the opening-up benefits of the waterfall—hamstrings get really tight from sitting all day, too. Want to try it for yourself? You can see it in action, below. This is a waterfall that I will be chasing (sorry, had to).

Here’s how to get back into running if you’ve lost your mojo. And to open up more of your tight legs, here’s the best calf stretch to do along with the waterfall.

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