This muscle is named by a butcher because when they slaughter a pig it would be hanging by it’s tendons behind the knee.. The HAMSTRINGS! On the opposing side of the quads, it makes sense that the hamstrings do the opposite motions: Hip extension (bringing the leg behind the body) and knee flexion (bending the knee). Where the quads have 4 muscles, the hamstrings have 3 (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, biceps femoris long & short head). The hamstrings are used when walking, running, jumping, and controlling some movement in the trunk. This is that anterior pelvic tilt I have been talking about, where your stomach sticks out in the front and your butt sticks out in the back. Sure you can show off a more bodacious booty, but your gut is not looking too flattering, and tension is being administered in the hips, thighs and lower back. Hamstrings also have a strong tie to the IT Band and the lateral fibers can pull the IT Band causing tightness and knee pain.
How does one take care of their hamstrings you may ask? Well fixing posture is always a big help! Once your hips are properly aligned stretch away! With one leg out in front of you and the other one bent to support your body weight, you want the ankle of the straight leg to be flexed and bending towards you to pull in the muscles of the calf as well. Hold for 30 seconds. I find this is a great pre and post run stretch.
For home care massage again I would have to recommend the foam roller. If you don’t have one they are a great investment (around $30), or most gyms will have one in their stretching station. Rolling up and down the back of the thigh applying as much body weight as possible to work these muscles out. A back up to the foam roller is a rolling pin, tennis balls, golf balls, laundry balls, etc.