Monthly Archives: February 2015

Mel Collie | How long you been stretching those hamstrings?

Mel Collie | How long you been stretching those hamstrings?

It seems hamstrings get a poor press – especially in the athletic world, they are always being stretched (usually badly at the expense of the lower back) or being strained.

Where are those hamstrings?  You will find them from the back of your knees to the base of your pelvis, and theres 3 of them, its been suggested that one of the inner thigh muscles, the adductor magnus,  is the 4th hamstring.

Your glutes also play a part in hamstring effectiveness also, in fact the calves and feet do also..but so does you brain.

Simply stretching it deals with the issue doesnt it…?
Well, lets look at whats going on first…because its not just a short hamstring you are dealing with, we want to know why, because we are assessing, not just guessing.

The hamstrings don’t work just on their own, no muscle does, they all work like an orchestra, in harmony with each other, well, thats the plan..but the way we move, sit walk, stand, the food choices and hydration all affects the inner system, the nervous system, the software, as well as the hardware, the bones, muscles and fascia.

Simply stretching them doesnt last, other stuff has to happen too. The nervous system has control over how the muscles move. Its job is to protect the muscles from harm, so a stretch can be seen by the nervous system as a threat, so it will make sure that stretch doesnt go too far, in order to do that the nervous system simply makes those hamstrings tighter and more sore to stop you from stretching outside the perceived area of safety .

Theres many reasons the brain can put a halt on a stretch, those hamstrings are tight for a reason, could be to reduce range in the knee, maybe because of a previous  injury for example.

So should you stretch?
Well, you might get a better result, and I do get better results from clients with a few simple fascial release techniques:

1. Massage your forehead all the way up to the hairline, gentle fingertip massage, for a couple of minutes
2. Massage your cheekbones down to your jaw for a few minutes
3. Massage the head. And if you have got a full head of hair, gently grab a handful of hair, and pull it very gently, you should not feel pain at all, but a gentle pull and circular motion, all over the head.

To assess it, check the length of your hamstrings first, do a forward bend, touch the toes, or lie on the back and lift one leg up, without moving your pelvis from a neutral position, or you are cheating and wont see a true benefit.(keep your bum on the floor)

Further, in using your brain and your senses, I also have great success, on my own hamstrings by seeing the type of person i am, the thoughts I have, and the effect the brain has on your muscles.

I will follow on from this next time, as we go into the nervous system, vision, proprioception and spatial awareness and how it all affects your movement, tight muscles and pain.

For now, if you are into fascial release, one of the best ways to have more flexible fascia is to be hydrated, drink more water and less caffeine.

Enjoy your Hamstrings 🙂



Mel Collie | Bingo Wings & saddlebags

Mel Collie | Bingo Wings & Saddlebags

I was watching a programme last week on weddings, being filmed last Summer, everyone was in a short sleeved dress (apart from the guys obviously..)

When they waved goodbye to the bride, those underarms flapped..and even though we think it means you should do more exercise to tone up those arms, we’ve jumped the gun a bit and ned to go back to basics, work on the foundations, then you can work on the training.

Heres where to begin:

Tricpes – Fat being stored here is telling you something, it doesn’t sit here for a laugh, its here for a reason.Its your body way of telling you that you are low in Testosterone.

Stress kills testosterone levels as does lack of sleep, so instead of adding in extra training, start by looking at what you are already doing to help you out.

1. Stress levels – easy for me to tell you to reduce them isn’t it..I don’t know what your lifestyle is like. However, we all have stress, and its normal, its good to have, however, look at it like this – you have a bucket, and in it is some water and a few levels of pebbles, the bottom layer is financial, the next is hydration, the next is family, the next is work, the next is fitness – for example…now as we have more issues in one of those areas., the levels rise, we start to see the bucket overflowing, it can be a simple as getting a bill in the post on a Monday morning when you have to be at work on time and get the kids to school early. Sound familiar?  De- stressing can be simple things like having a monthly massage. Having a bath with the candles lit and the door locked. Having a walk with a loved one. Walking 10 minutes every day. Reading a chapter of your book in peace and quiet. Its re charging your batteries. It helps you cope, gives you a clear head and focused mind to tackle the crap when it hits and not have road rage…

2.Sleep – be in bed by 10pm love nights a week. Deep breathing to help you fall asleep. Reduce caffeine after mid day to help it release from the system. Hot bath before bed to help relax and calm you. Dark bedroom, black out blinds if the street lights bother you, no electrical appliances on standby – TV for example, move the mobile away from the bed, something as simple as the electro magnetic field can disturb sleep patterns.

3. Take a good quality Zinc supplement.

4.Reduce alcohol levels, so if you love a glass or two of red wine after work, try reducing the amount by drinking from smaller glasses, or help detox your liver by taking green supplements like a quality greens drink every day.

Love Handles

Fat stored on the love handles can mean your body is struggling with Insulin levels.

1. Good quality Fish Oil supplement. Watch out for cheap fish oil, the oil is sometimes rancid, and won’t be effective, it will just leave you with fish burps, not nice!

2. Eat good fats like avocado, coconut oil, almonds.

3. Training? Eat carbs after you train. Eating starch with the last meal of the day, and protein with each meal. Reduce the amount of starch though, like rice and potatoes, don’t get rid of them completely, just add an extra spoon of been veg like peas, spinach, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage. Roasted Veg taste lush, as does par boiled veg, drained, kept in the pan with a knob of butter , salt and pepper and coated with the butter. Yumski…


So there you go…start with the foundations, get your body working for you, not against you and watch the fat begin to melt away. This doesn’t mean you will have remarkable toned arms as training does come into this, but as the say, you can’t out train a bad diet..

Start with your fuel, lets talk training next time.

Mel Collie

To book an assessment for posture and whats going on with your body fat, check the websites for details.