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Level 1/2
30 min

Strengthen Hamstrings, Stretch Quads

Hatha | By Jason Crandell on Jul 12 2013
Most asana practices include an abundance of hamstring stretching and very little hamstring strengthening. Conversely, most practices do several postures that strengthen the quadriceps and few that stretch the quadriceps. This sequence flips these roles by emphasizing postures that strengthen the hamstrings and stretch the quadriceps. In addition to benefiting regular asana practitioners, this class will be particularly helpful to runners.

Description

Most asana practices include an abundance of hamstring stretching and very little hamstring strengthening. Conversely, most practices do several postures that strengthen the quadriceps and few that stretch the quadriceps. This sequence flips these roles by emphasizing postures that strengthen the hamstrings and stretch the quadriceps. In addition to benefiting regular asana practitioners, this class will be particularly helpful to runners.

Comments

  • YK R     Sep 1st, 2014
    Question: my hamstrings so tight that very hard grabbing my back foot with opposite hand. What can i do for the substitute? I always appreciate your precise explanation in your class. Thank you.
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 8th, 2014
      Yasuko - My apologies for the long delay. I'm glad that you like these classes. In order to reach your foot you can try the same side arm; you can also put your other hand on a block to give you a little more height. If these don't work, you can always use a belt!
      • YK R     Sep 11th, 2014
        Thank you very much for taking your time to answer.
        2nd option, do you mean "back knee on a block"? I do not get "other hand on a block".
        • YK R     Sep 11th, 2014
          Got it! Very interesting. So, it is not just hamstring, but I feel stretch in upper body! Great. Thank you again. I really enjoy your teaching!
        • Jason Crandell     Sep 11th, 2014
          No problem. I mean take your opposite hand--the hand that you're not going to hold your foot with--and place it on a block. By raising this hand on a block you may be able to reach much further with the hand that you're going to take ahold of your foot with.
  • Rebecca Morton     Aug 28th, 2014
    Thank you for acknowledging other teachers. So much can be learned from each other. I love your specificity, in the classes you teach- they keep me thinking all the time as I drive around town to teach my classes. Namaste.
  • Deborah Teske     Aug 20th, 2014
    Once again a great practice. Thank you ;)
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 20th, 2014
      My pleasure!
  • lisa bowers     Aug 8th, 2014
    Right on Jason ! Just found this one. I am a runner and YES "Most asana practices include an abundance of hamstring stretching and very little hamstring strengthening"

    You da Man !

    • Jason Crandell     Aug 8th, 2014
      Thanks Lisa!
  • Felicity Kelly     Jul 20th, 2014
    Used this as a great prep for Urdvha Dhan..Very methodical thigh stretches for stiffer bodies which I appreciate, a great 30 minutes,
    Thanks!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 20th, 2014
      Glad you enjoyed it!
  • Hannah Lundgren     Jul 19th, 2014
    I'm a dancer and this was awesome for me too! Thank you so much Jason!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 20th, 2014
      My pleasure Hannah. Thanks for practicing.
  • jodi bramble     Jul 15th, 2014
    What a sweet way to be gentle and refine my practice....THANK YOU JASON!
  • Skye Harmon     Jul 15th, 2014
    These are all issues I deal with as I get older and I'm discovering that this is really helping me in staying flexible and my range of motion.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2014
      Glad this is helpful!
  • Cathy Gavronsky     Jul 15th, 2014
    Lots of time on the knees. Enjoyed the help with postures.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2014
      Thanks Cathy.
  • Jane Randles     Jul 15th, 2014
    LOve, love, LOVE this! Been having hip trouble since surgery left me with nerve damage. This is how I'm going to start my day now....pain free!! Thank you! Namaste.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2014
      In thrilled this is helpful for you!
  • Virginia Rangitsch     Jul 15th, 2014
    Thank you Jason, I am not a runner but, a big time walker- hiker. This practice will come in handy. Namaste
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2014
      ;)
  • Virginia Rangitsch     Jul 15th, 2014
    Thank you Jason, I am not a runner but, a big time walker- hiker. This practice will come in handy. Namaste
  • Stacey Hauserman     Jul 15th, 2014
    My first class on yoga glo and I'm hooked. Thank you for your expertise. Namaste
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2014
      I'm happy you enjoyed it!
  • Kendall Nance     Jul 15th, 2014
    Great class , really felt everything you were saying to us! Tks:)
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2014
      ;)
  • KAREN Hutchison     Jul 5th, 2014
    Thank you once again :)
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 8th, 2014
      My pleasure Karen! Thanks for practicing.
  • Cathleen Miller     Jul 4th, 2014
    Loved the attention to subtle sensation. Just what I needed! Thanks Jason!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 8th, 2014
      ;)
  • Rhea Zimmerman     Jul 2nd, 2014
    This is perfect, great instruction, thank you.
  • tricia halsteaD     Jun 22nd, 2014
    Thanks! Just what I needed!
  • Jennifer Riley     May 16th, 2014
    "Moderate practice" my gluteus! Great focused sequence. Thanks Jason
    • Jason Crandell     May 17th, 2014
      Ha! Thanks Jennifer.
  • Franco Vargas     May 14th, 2014
    Good practice! Specially for these active running days I've been having. Thank u!
    • Jason Crandell     May 14th, 2014
      ;)
  • Jennifer Hatchard     Apr 1st, 2014
    Thank you so much - a wonderful practice. I am constantly impressed with the accuracy of your teaching cues, it feels as personal as if I was in your classroom, not at home here in France!
    • Jason Crandell     Apr 1st, 2014
      Thanks Jennifer.
  • Natalie Rowe     Feb 27th, 2014
    Your teaching style always makes me very happy. I learned some new things today and it has helped loosen up my tight hamstrings and quads and glutes. Thank you!!
    • Jason Crandell     Feb 27th, 2014
      ;) thanks Natalie!
  • Katja Heger     Jan 16th, 2014
    Great class, Jason! So valuable to pay attention to hamstrings and gluts being strengthened! Just what I need - and from my teaching experience (both Yoga and Pilates) many of us need to focus on more. Love your classes, thank you! Katja
    • Jason Crandell     Jan 16th, 2014
      Thanks Katja.
  • LIZ GUALTIER     Jan 12th, 2014
    Thank you Jason! I really enjoyed this practice! :)
    • Jason Crandell     Jan 12th, 2014
      Glad you enjoyed it Liz.
  • Francesca Amriati     Jan 10th, 2014
    Thank you so much for this practice Jason! I love your style of teaching; you make me smile. My lower back is quite flexible and working my abs really helps me stabilize my back and engage the hamstrings, in addition to preventing back ache. I shall definitely share this knowledge with my students. By the way, I also love your class for new parents. Thanks again!!! Looking forward to more of your classes :)
    • Jason Crandell     Jan 10th, 2014
      Thanks Francesca!
  • Francesca Amriati     Jan 10th, 2014
    Thank you so much for this practice Jason! I love your style of teaching; you make me smile. My lower back is quite flexible and working my abs really helps me stabilize my back and engage the hamstrings, in addition to preventing back ache. I shall definitely share this knowledge with my students. By the way, I also love your class for new parents. Thanks again!!! Looking forward to more of your classes :)
  • Francesca Amriati     Jan 10th, 2014
    Thank you so much for this practice Jason! I love your style of teaching; you make me smile. My lower back is quite flexible and working my abs really helps me stabilize my back and engage the hamstrings, in addition to preventing back ache. I shall definitely share this knowledge with my students. By the way, I also love your class for new parents. Thanks again!!! Looking forward to more of your classes :)
  • Tanya Embree     Dec 18th, 2013
    I absolutely love this class. It has been exactly what I have needed to help strengthen what is normally just stretched in yoga. There is a 90 minute class that seems similar. Any way you could do a 60 minute class? Yum.
    • Jason Crandell     Dec 19th, 2013
      Tanya - Glad you love it. A longer version seems like a good idea. I'll put it on my "wish list!" Happy Holidays!
  • nancy bernstein     Dec 12th, 2013
    Great, thank you so much. Had just started feeling one of the banes of my existence, my left hamstring attachment, getting pissed off at me again. This tends to happen if I'm not working full out, often because of some other injury--in this case my right knee, victim of an unfortunate oven-cleaning incident last week. I have some go-to strengthening exercises, but it was nice to have some new ones to try (and please--if you have more to recommend, I'm all ears! --At 56, injuring this sucker can mean literally years of recovery, so I'm doing my best to avoid that again....) Many, many thanks.
  • Tracy Jones     Dec 10th, 2013
    Brilliant! By focusing on the back of my legs with the oh-so-subtle strength exercises in this class, I was unkowingly able to release nagging tension in my lower back. Thank you!! And thank you for teaching me how to incorporate strength training into my practice. I always learn so much from your classes. Keep up the excellent work Jason.
    • Jason Crandell     Dec 10th, 2013
      Thanks Tracy.
  • Chase Jackson     Dec 10th, 2013
    That was the perfect class for my hamstring strain. I'm so glad you recommended it! -Chase
    • Jason Crandell     Dec 10th, 2013
      Glad it worked well for you Chase.
  • Emma Hamilton     Nov 22nd, 2013
    Thanks Jason, I love all your anatomical insights especially as I 'm "re-training" my body. I spent many years being told in my dance and yoga training not to use the gluts but am paying for it now...
    • Jason Crandell     Nov 22nd, 2013
      Glad this is helpful for you Emma, thanks.
  • Laszlo Aebischer     Nov 17th, 2013
    Great class and the best for us after running exercise this morning. Namaste
    • Jason Crandell     Nov 17th, 2013
      Thanks Lazslo.
  • Bryony Lloyd     Nov 6th, 2013
    Thank you for this class...... very insightful. Have just learnt how much my lower back overcompensates for the lack of strength in my hamstrings, especially in "almost dhanurasana", plus unbelievably tight quads. Great teaching, thank you. Namaste.
    • Jason Crandell     Nov 7th, 2013
      Glad you enjoyed it, thanks Bryony.
  • Stephanie Iverson     Oct 23rd, 2013
    Is this class good for me if my hamstring is strained?
    • Jason Crandell     Oct 23rd, 2013
      Stephanie - This is a tough call. I'd say it depends on how acute your hamstring strain is. If it is feeling pretty bothersome, I'd give it more rest. If you're still practicing and managing pretty well without too much discomfort, you should certainly give it a try. It will likely be beneficial if you're not dealing with an acute strain.
  • Elizabeth McGowan Phillips     Oct 15th, 2013
    Am two days after running a 1/2 marathon and quads were still burning. However, working those antagonist hamstrings during this practice really helped my quads to feel much better. Will definitely be incorporating some of these things into my own practice and my classes. Thanks for your wisdom!
    -Beth
    • Jason Crandell     Oct 15th, 2013
      Glad this helped Beth!
  • Nic Stark     Oct 13th, 2013
    This was exactly what I've been looking for for my hip flexors, quads and hamstrings. The subtle movements were so effective! Thank you
    • Jason Crandell     Oct 13th, 2013
      Glad to hear it was a nice fit for you Nic, thanks.
  • Stacy Rosenblum     Oct 5th, 2013
    Great class with a strong focus. I like to be able to throw these kinds of classes in when I am hiking a lot.
    • Jason Crandell     Oct 6th, 2013
      Thanks Stacy!
  • Lisa Acree     Oct 1st, 2013
    Perfect. I need to keep my hamstrings strong after an ACL tear, and it all came together in bridge pose. Thank you Jason.
    • Jason Crandell     Oct 2nd, 2013
      My pleasure Lisa, thanks!
  • jolie sullivan     Sep 27th, 2013
    Was just listening to a lecture with Julie Gudmestad about how many regular practitioners overstetch the hamstrings and they become weak - so me - so this was a great practice that I'll be using often. Thanks Jason!
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 28th, 2013
      Great! Thanks Jolie.
  • Jodi cross     Sep 19th, 2013
    Wow Jason! Thank you so much for this wonderful class. It is my second time doing it. I have very bad knees and this class helps me so much. My knees feel like when I leave physical therapy. :0)
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 19th, 2013
      Glad this helped create more comfort for your knees.
      Thanks!
  • Allison Strodel     Sep 14th, 2013
    Thank you Jason! I appreciate your alignment directions on how to really access muscle groups. I have very tight quads/psoas and you have a couple of great videos that address this specific area, thereby giving me such a release. This one was great, since my front body is tight due to running, interval training ect. it's also so much stronger than my back body, ie hamstrings which need more attention. Thank you for slowing me down and helping me fully understand my body, instead of my default of another speedy vinyasa class.
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 14th, 2013
      My pleasure Allison! Glad this helped you address the front body at a pace that worked well.
  • Debbie Erbland     Sep 9th, 2013
    Thank you for this class- awesome!
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 9th, 2013
      Glad you enjoyed it, Debbie. Thanks.
  • Julie Pangilinan     Sep 4th, 2013
    THANK-YOU! def learned some things I can incorporate into my teaching. so often people move from the easiest location of the body rather than from the muscle (hams in this class) and joint.
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 4th, 2013
      thanks Julie!
  • Jen McGown     Sep 2nd, 2013
    Jason, great sequence, thanks! It feels good to feel open in the front rim of the pelvis while building strength in back body. I've done the sequence several times and each time my Golgi tendon organ spasms in the hamstring (after creating length in AMS and transitioning for the first time into kneeling hip flexor stretch, even though i have the flexibility to do the asana) Do you advise creating more heat in the body first or transitioning more slowly? It happens also in your in-person workshops as you are a keen teacher in recognizing the importance of this sequence for yoga bods. I try to incorporate more of this work when i teach (and also see other charlie horse hamstring crampers!)
    Thanks for your perspective. Namaste, jen
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 23rd, 2013
      Jen - I'm really, really sorry about the lengthy delay. What if you pull your hips way up and back before your engage your hamstrings? Meaning, put both your hands on your front knee, pull you hips up and back out of the lunge until your back leg is vertical, then use one hand to hold your foot. Otherwise, your guess is as good as mine! It might also change as your hamstrings become more used to this type of engagement.
  • Georgina Johnson     Sep 2nd, 2013
    Jason, what a wonderful, inspring class. As a yoga teacher I will definitely be taking this on to my mat when I teach. Thank you, thank you.
    • Jason Crandell     Sep 23rd, 2013
      Glad you enjoyed it Georgina, thanks!
  • Chris Keller     Aug 31st, 2013
    This class was brilliant. I felt like I filled out a "personal-practice" request card for exactly the issues addressed in this class and Jason delivered on it. This class was so insightful. Jason thank you for being so in-tune and so impactful with your teaching. You make me a better student of yoga and I am so grateful for the lessons you teach.
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 31st, 2013
      Glad this practice served your needs well. Thank you Chris.
  • Carley Ewing     Aug 28th, 2013
    Great class, thank you so much. I appreciate your attention to function :) My hip flexors feel nice and open. Thank you!
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 29th, 2013
      Thanks Carley.
  • Jeanne Ann Whittington     Aug 17th, 2013
    Thanks so much Jason, your classes are so clear and effective at helping me feel what you're teaching,and I appreciate you addressing areas of the body that are not often the focus of classes. This is so helpful for my own practice and for my teaching--I am so grateful for the incredible encyclopedia of instruction that is available here in your archived classes!
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 17th, 2013
      Thanks Jeanne. I appreciate your feedback immensely.
  • Emmanuelle Lambert     Aug 15th, 2013
    Great class, as usual. I actually loved natarajasana "without the fun" :) Thanks Jason!
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 15th, 2013
      Thanks Emmanuelle! Glad you enjoyed it.
  • Lainie Devina     Aug 12th, 2013
    skill & refinement = very satisfying. thanks Jason... hope to see you in L.A. & Ojai soon!
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 12th, 2013
      Looking forward Lainie!
  • Karina Niederman      Aug 11th, 2013
    Great class! I'm going to use it with my students! Great cues for an alignment class like the ones I teach.
    Thank you Jason! I admire your work.
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 12th, 2013
      Thanks Karina.
  • Tiana Gamble     Aug 2nd, 2013
    Awesome class. It really helped relieve tension in my hip flexor. Thank you!!!
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 2nd, 2013
      Thanks Tiana!
  • Luminita Pirvu     Aug 1st, 2013
    Thanks ! Love your classes, and precise alignment cues; as well as the explanations as to why practicing a pose in a certain way, for a particular type of practice. Giving up on some of the expansion in natarajasana - was actually fun, for me, with chronically tight quadriceps...
    • Jason Crandell     Aug 1st, 2013
      Thanks Luminita. Glad backing off a bit in natarajasana was fun ;)
  • robin steinman     Jul 20th, 2013
    Love your classes. Your precise alignment cues have improved my practice and my teaching. Thanks so much!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 20th, 2013
      Glad to hear that Robin, thanks!
  • Autumn Jordan     Jul 19th, 2013
    Soo good after my 7 mile run this morning which followed with sore quads. Fantastic. Cant stop smiling, namaste Jason. :)
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 20th, 2013
      Thanks Autumn.
  • Jeanette Darbyshire     Jul 18th, 2013
    Such precision and more gold nuggets. Thanks Jason
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 18th, 2013
      Glad you enjoyed it Jeanette.
  • Karen Huhn     Jul 18th, 2013
    I'm a physical therapist and that class was so well instructed, the verbal cues and descriptions couldn't be better. My favorite teacher!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 20th, 2013
      Thanks a lot Karen!
  • Susan Neumeister     Jul 18th, 2013
    That's exactly why I like your classes - first of all for my own practice, but also as inspiration for my own teaching. Thanks, Jason, for your great input!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 18th, 2013
      Thanks Susan!
  • yogagal      Jul 17th, 2013
    Not just for runners, in working with a biomechanical scientist, most of us are walking in a perpetual state of falling forward due to positive heel footwear, thus using quads when if walking barefoot or with negative heel footwear would be using our glutes. She called it quad centric society. So most of us need hamstrings, glute, adductor strengthening, quad stretching. So this practice is great. Thanks jason
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 21st, 2013
      Thanks, yogagal.
  • Caroline Moroz     Jul 17th, 2013
    Wonderful practice, very different to what we're used to in yoga generally but ever so effective. If like me you have very flexible hamstrings and hyper-extendable knee joints, this practice is essential work to help stabilise the hips and knees. Thank you Jason for highly useful tips on working hamstring strength. Namaste, Caroline.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 17th, 2013
      Happy this was helpful Caroline.
  • christine jefferson     Jul 16th, 2013
    Thanks Jason, great practice ! useful tidbits for teaching also. My question is why do my hamstrings cramp up when I am lunging and grabbing my back foot with opposite hand? This has happened before and I need to release the back leg and make sure hams and gluts are totally relaxed before holding back foot to stretch quads...Thanks for any explanation you may be able to give.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 21st, 2013
      Christine - My apologies for the long delay! Your hamstrings are cramping in the scenario you've described because they may not be used to this degree of contraction. We contract the hamstrings getting into this pose and it's triggering a stronger contraction than necessary. This is pretty common. It may change over time with practices like this that should strengthen them.
  • Kim Lambert     Jul 15th, 2013
    Awesome session Jason! I did not realize how tight I've become running!! Any suggestion on how to reach my left foot with my right hand and vice verse? Yoga strap maybe...I am a beginner. Thanks Again, Kim
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 21st, 2013
      Kim - My sincere apologies for the lengthy delay! Yes, please use a belt.
  • Katie Serbus     Jul 14th, 2013
    perfect practice for runners. hoping this will help not only with my running but also with some of the deeper back bends!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2013
      Thanks Kate!
  • Beate Laengle Fuertbauer     Jul 14th, 2013
    dear jason, thank you very much for this precise explained anatomy focus class. a helpful practice for athlets - against piriformis syndrom :) greetings from switzerland to you, bea
  • K Z     Jul 14th, 2013
    Odd as it may sound , quite a refreshing practice. Loads of bits I can use as focus. Loved it thanks Jason
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2013
      Glad to hear it was refreshing! Thanks KZ
  • Debbie Dawes     Jul 13th, 2013
    A very helpful practice - thank you.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2013
      Glad to hear it Debbie, thanks!
  • lisa bowers     Jul 13th, 2013
    You listened Jason :-) Thank -You !

    Precisely the balance I have been needing. I am a runner & my hamstringa *are* weak and my Quads are *beyond* tight... approaching concrete.

    Next challenge... Internal Rotation of Hips practice :-)
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 15th, 2013
      Glad this worked well for you. Thanks Lisa
  • Nancy Ruiz     Jul 12th, 2013
    Really needed this! Thanks Jason!
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 12th, 2013
      Thanks for practicing Nancy
  • Jennifer LaFleur     Jul 12th, 2013
    Ever since I started running, my practice and other activities have kept the rest of me fairly supple but I've started to notice that my quadriceps have lost a lot of flexibility. Thanks, as always, for the inspired ideas! Namaste.
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 12th, 2013
      My pleasure Jennifer. Happy this helps create flexibility.
  • dar carman     Jul 12th, 2013
    jason, thank you ! wonderful ideas to sprinkle into my own practice and teachings! Loved the prone postures in working with the lower butt and back of legs..brilliant! Thank you for keeping us so inspired, your teaching have been such a HUGE part of my own learning and teachings.Namaste, dar
    • Jason Crandell     Jul 12th, 2013
      Dar- it's my pleasure. Thanks for practicing with me as consistently as you do.