Last updated on November 16th, 2022 at 01:25 pm
It sounds crazy to think that your hamstrings may still be sore after a week.
We all experience muscle soreness, or DOMS, from time-to-time.
But, there’s nothing worse than when this soreness seems to linger for more time than you would hope.
This is especially true of the hamstrings, and it’s not unheard-of to still be “feeling it” up to a week later.
Not great news, as this generally impacts on the rest of your workouts during the week.
So, why exactly are your hamstrings sore for so long and what can you do about it?
Allow me to explain.
Why Are My Hamstrings Still Sore After a Week?
The hamstrings are typically more prone to soreness than other muscles which may explain why they’re still sore after a week. However, hamstring soreness can especially occur if a particular exercise is very new to you or you’re training with high volume. It is also extremely important to stretch your hamstrings after a workout, otherwise you’re more likely to experience sore or tight hamstring. It’s also a good idea to regularly practice yoga poses such as Legs Up The Wall and Sun Salutations in order to increase hamstring flexibility.
1. Your Hamstrings Haven’t Adapted to the Exercise
Firstly, I will say that our bodies react differently to exercise.
So, an exercise that may cause one person soreness has no effect on another.
I know for myself that my lats and triceps recover very quickly and I can train these muscles daily if I so wish.
However, I know people who feel their triceps aching for days after an arm session and won’t go near a pull up bar again for at least 3-4 days.
With that being said, the hamstrings are notorious for being prone to muscle soreness.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s had trouble climbing up and coming down stairs for a few days after a heavy leg session.
So, if you’re still feeling your hamstrings, even after a week, and this is just general DOMS rather than actual pain, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
As far as I’m concerned, as long as you’re progressing with your training, you’re moving in the right direction.
Nevertheless, the most common reason your hamstrings stay sore for so long is simply because they haven’t adapted to the exercise.
The main culprits tend to be squat variations, deadlift variations, and sprints.
Basically, you will always feel some type of soreness when you work the hamstrings during these exercises, especially if your body isn’t used to them.
The reason I’ve mentioned “variations” is because your body may be used to one type of squat, deadlift, or form of running, but this doesn’t mean that it’s adapted to the numerous alternatives.
So, if the exercise is new to you, don’t sweat it, you’ll eventually get used to it.
2. You’re Using Excessive Volume
I guess this is something that we are all guilty of from time-to-time (if not always).
Many of us literally try to beat a muscle into submission in order to “force” it to grow.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of both high-volume and high frequency training.
However, as I’ve mentioned above, your muscles do need to adapt to this type of training first.
Basically, you start out small and build your way up.
With that being said, there is a huge difference between a controlled workout session of high volume training and simply trying to murder a muscle.
Plus, excessive volume isn’t always the best method for size and strength gains.
I’ve also said that your body can react completely differently to exercise than someone else’s.
So, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to training.
But, if you consistently train with high volume you’re definitely going to be sore.
And this soreness will usually last a lot longer than you would hope.
Plus, it’s important to change your training protocol every once in a while.
Therefore, you shouldn’t really train at an extremely high volume for longer than 2-3 months.
After this it’s time to back off for a week, and perhaps focus on a different form of training.
So, if you’ve been bombarding your hamstrings with 10 sets each of Romanian deadlifts, leg curls, and Swiss ball curls a couple of times a week, it’s probably time to ease off a bit.
3. You’re Not Stretching After Your Workout
If you’re going to train with high volume or high frequency then it’s important to use proper recovery methods.
The most obvious of these would be proper nutrition and adequate sleep.
However, when it comes to the hamstrings, you should definitely be stretching these muscles out after every related workout.
And I’m not talking about a few half-hearted toe touches either.
You should be looking to spend at least 5-10 minutes (perhaps even up to 15 minutes) stretching out your hamstrings and glutes after every lower-body posterior chain workout.
I also find that the hamstrings react very well to foam rolling, even if it is extremely painful at the time.
But, I will say that just by having a proper hamstring stretching routine you could be good to go again within 48 hours.
15-Minute Hamstring Flexibility Routine
4. You Have Tight Hamstrings
Another reason to focus more on stretching and flexibility is if you have tight hamstrings.
In fact, I would hazard a guess that many of you do suffer with this affliction.
I will say that training has changed a lot over the past decade, especially with the introduction of various Booty-based workouts.
However, this doesn’t hide the fact that many lifters are quad-dominant in their training.
I’m sure there are numerous trainees whose lower body workouts focus largely on the quads and then a quick dose of hamstring activation is thrown in at the end.
Does the following workout sound familiar?
- Leg Press
- Leg Extensions
- Hamstring Curls
- Calf Raises
That’s it, leg’s done.
Okay, I will admit that there is some hamstring and glute activation during squats and leg presses, but it’s certainly not enough to no longer train these muscles.
Unfortunately, all of this quad-dominant training will lead to tight hamstrings
And eventually this may also lead to injury.
I would actually recommend an entire training session for just the glutes and hamstrings.
Plus, don’t forget to stretch and loosen those tight hamstrings.
The following section will definitely help.
5. Try These Yoga Poses and Sequences
I want to stay on the subject of proper recovery and especially stretching.
Basically, I believe it is extremely important, and no more so than when it comes to the hamstrings.
I’ve already said that for many of us have lower-body workouts which are typically more geared towards the quads.
Yes, the glutes have enjoyed much popularity in recent years, but the hamstrings don’t seem to get as much attention.
However, I would not only recommend stretching your hamstrings after every related workout, but even having a 5-minute stretch first thing in the morning and again before you go to bed.
That’s how important I believe the hamstrings are.
I prefer to turn to yoga when it comes to hamstring flexibility and mobility.
There’s honestly nothing better.
Plus, I also think that the Sun Salutation flow sequence is a great way to start your day.
It gets the heart rate up, stretches the entire body, and you can guarantee it will provide some much-needed relief for those sore hamstrings
15-Minute Morning Sun Salutations Yoga Flow
I hope you have a better understanding of why your hamstrings are still sore after a week.
This mainly occurs if an exercise (or variation of an exercise) is new to you.
Plus, you’re bound to feel sore for a lot longer if you continually train with excessive volume.
You should also ensure that you stretch after every related workout, as the hamstrings are notorious for being prone to soreness.
If your leg workouts are particularly quad-dominant you may find that this leads to tight hamstrings, which will simply leave them sore whenever you train them.
And don’t forget to use certain yoga poses and sequences at any time of the day to increase your hamstring flexibility and mobility.
A great exercise for your hamstrings are deadlifts, but they can also leave your hamstrings feeling extremely sore.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.