Does Bending the Knees Protect the Hamstrings? — Jenni Rawlings Yoga & Movement Blog


Think about it: muscles attach to tendons and tendons attach to bones. When a muscle contracts, that muscle pulls in toward its center. This exerts a pulling force (a stretch!) on the muscles’ tendons, and the tendons transmit that force to the bones.

Yet we don’t hear fearmongering in the yoga world about active, engaged muscles, now do we?

In fact, we often hear the opposite: that activating our muscles is what supposedly “protects” our tendons from injury.

Now how does this compute??

If anything, active muscle contractions and strengthening work apply more force to the tendons they pull on than passive stretches do.

Therefore, by this logic, passive stretches could be considered safer – not more injurious – than active, engaged muscles! 🤯

But in reality, neither passive stretches nor active muscle contractions are inherently injurious for tendons.

This is because tendons are tensile tissues that respond well to pulling loads (i.e., tension!).


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