The back and the hips have always had a complicated relationship, especially for runners in NYC. We sit all day, making our hamstrings stiff and angry. Because the hamstrings are so tight, when you run the pelvis rotates forward to help increase your hip extension, which makes your hip flexors tighter, which rotates your pelvis more...

See where I’m going with this?

You know that the pelvis and the hamstring are connected, but it my surprise you to know that the pelvis is also the base of the spine. If the pelvis is strong and mobile, the spine will be able to move well. If the pelvis is not able to move freely (excess forward rotation is the most common issue), this will limit the mobility in the thoracic and lumbar spine.

A study recently looked at the relationship between hamstring length and pelvic tilt in highly trained cyclists. Due to their seated position, cyclists tend to have tight hamstrings. The researchers measured the true hamstring length with the pelvic tilt at rest and thoracic curve at rest. They found that a lack of extensibility in the hamstrings causes a limited range of motion in the joints.

So test out this theory on your own! Stretching the hamstrings, for just 2 minutes a day can help you improve your thoracic and lumbar mobility!

Muyor, J., Alacid, F., Lopez-Minarro, Pedro. Influence of Hamstring Muscles Extensibility on Spinal Curvatures and Pelvic Tilt in Highly Trained Cyclists. Science & Sports. September 2010. 25(4)188-193

Kathleen Leninger, DPT