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08 Mar 2004

Shortening of hamstring muscles
I have recently started swimming and have found that my hamstrings are really tight. Does swimming perhaps shorten these muscles?
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Expert
FitnessDoc
fitnessdoc

01 Jan 0001

Hi Sharon

It may do - I have to admit that I don't know specifically whether swimming would shorten the muscles more than another form of exercise such as running, so I would not be able to compare the types of exercise. HOwever, it's a fair bet that regular exercise which uses a muscle group (as swimming does with the hamstrings) would result in some loss of flexibility. THerefore, regular stretching would be helpful in at least increasing the flexibility. As for improved performance, whether stretching would help that is another thing, and there's even some reason to suggest that being slightly inflexible could assist, certainly with running, perhaps less with swimming. however, to improve flexibility, it's just a matter of doing regular stretching.

Check out the following website for some good stretch information - it shows all the major muscles.

http://www.health24.co.za/fitness/shape_up_for_summer/16-173-178.asp
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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