After a hard workout nothing feels better than performing a few varieties of a hamstring stretch. Most people are quite tight in this area of their body so when first starting you need to approach it cautiously so you do not cause any muscle pulls or tears.
The first hamstring stretch will target your glute and calf muscles as well. To perform it sit with your bum down on the ground, legs extended straight in front of you. Next take a deep breath in and then slowly lean forward towards your toes, reaching as far as you can with your fingers. To intensify the tension you feel during this hamstring stretch you can also flex your feet. For those who are particularly stiff though, rather than flexing the feet, keep them pointed and allow for a slight bend in the knee. Your goal should then be to work on straightening the knee first and then progressing into a flexed foot position.
The next hamstring stretch is best done in partners. Lay back down on a mat, with one leg extended beneath you and one raised so it is at about a ninety degree angle with your waist in the air. Then have your partner gently push on the foot above you so it moves towards your head. Depending on how flexible you are this foot may be able to reach close to your head or only it may move a few inches. After you've assumed this position, focus on resisting against your partner as hard as you can (while they resist your pushing action). This causes the muscles to contract and shorten. Hold that for ten seconds and then relax the muscles and have them press the leg towards your head again. You will likely notice at this point that your leg is able to move further towards your head than last time. Repeat the process two to three more times and then switch legs. This is an active form of flexibility training that will not only lengthen the muscle but also strengthen it as well.
So next time you are at the gym, give either one of these exercises a try during your cool down.