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My child is very stiff, does he need to stretch?

March 29, 2013

  • Ask the Experts

  • Most children compared to adults are very flexible, but when they have tight hamstrings corrective action should be taken.  Hamstrings in children and adults have the same structure, so any hamstring stretch will work.  I recommend simple static stretches done in a gentle manner using proper form.Because children tend to be very flexible many people believe stretching is not necessary.  Children are subject to developing tight muscles, especially during puberty.  Accelerated bone growth combined with a lot of physical activity can lead to aching, cramping muscles.  Stretching the hamstrings can help alleviate these problems.  Teaching children proper stretching is important, as they can take this knowledge with them throughout their life.

    Static One-Legged Hamstring Stretch
    -Have the child sit on the floor with his right leg straight and the bottom of his left foot against his right inner thigh.
    -The left leg is bent. Reach forward and hold for 20 seconds.
    -Repeat using opposite legs.
    Be careful not to bounce while stretching and only stretch till there is slight discomfort.

    Toe Touches
    -Have the child stand with feet shoulder width apart.
    -Bend slowly trying to touch the toes.  Have the child reach only until they feel tightness or discomfort in the hamstrings.
    -Hold each stretch for approximately 20 seconds, and repeat.

    by Robert Inderwies, Youth Certified Trainer. To submit your Ask the Expert questions please submit them to bonita@energeticjuniors.com.