Can’t Touch Your Toes? This Physio’s Three-Move Routine Will Change That

Woman performs roll down exercise
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Being able to touch your toes is a mark of flexible hamstrings (the muscles that run right down the back of the thighs to the knees), as well as flexibility in your lower back, glutes and ankles. But if you spend a lot of time sitting down, you may have tight hamstrings and find it difficult to reach your hands lower than your shins when you keep your legs straight. 

It’s not just a point of pride to be able to touch your toes. Improving your flexibility can make day-to-day movement feel easier, potentially reducing pain in the back and the hips, too. And if you take part in sports or lift weights regularly, better flexibility will also have a positive impact on your performance.

Physiotherapist and clinical director of SJC Physio Sam Caddick recently shared an Instagram Reel with three exercises to address tight hamstrings.

Take a look at Caddick's Instagram Reel where he demonstrates the three moves that will help you develop the ability to touch your toes.

To start, Caddick mobilizes the posterior chain, the muscles that run down the back side of your body, with the inchworm.

Next, is the good morning, which Caddick says will build length and strength in your hamstrings. In Coach’s guide to good morning form, the exercise is performed with your weight distributed between both feet, but Caddick adopts the B-stance, moving one foot slightly behind the other and raising the rear heel.

Caddick finishes with eccentric single-leg hamstring curls. Take your shoes off and find a hard surface with some slip. Go into the top of a single-leg glute bridge with your heel on the floor and slowly push your heel away from you. Pause and hold at the end of your range.

Add these three exercises to your routine and you’ll gradually see improvement in your hamstring strength and flexibility. To vary the challenge, incorporate these hamstring exercises and hamstring stretches as well.

Alice Porter

Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.