Stretching and Flexibility GuidelinesStretching can have a variety of benefits if it's done properly. Review the following tips before you start any stretching routine.
- Stretching vs. Flexibility: Stretching is a way of actively increasing our range of motion and thereby increasing our flexibility.
- Stretch safely. Always follow the safe stretching guidelines to prevent injuries.
- Perform static stretching. This means you hold a stretch for about 30-60 seconds at a time and don't bounce or overstretch.
- Stretch after you warm up. Research shows this is the best way to improve range of motion.
- Perform a dynamic warm up before your workouts to make sure your muscles are warm.
- Keep in mind each joint has an ideal range of motion and more flexibility isn't always better.
- To maintain good muscle balance, stretch tight muscles and strengthen weak ones.
- Avoid over-stretching or stretching cold muscles.
Stretching Exercises - Upper BodyUse these stretches to target specific areas of the upper body.
- Shoulder Stretch - Basic
- Shoulder Stretch - Golfer Stretch
- Shoulder and Hamstring Stretch - Standing Forward Bend
- Spine Stretch - Cat-Cow Stretch
- Spine Stretch - Prone Back Extension
- Spine Stretch - Spinal Twist
- Spine Stretch - Knees to Chest
- Lower Back and Hip Stretch
Stretching Exercises - Lower BodyUse these stretches to target specific areas of the lower body.
- Achilles Tendon (Heel) Stretch
- Plantar Stretch
- Calf Stretch - Standing
- Soleus Stretch - Standing
- Calf and Achilles Stretch
- Hip Flexor / Psoas Stretch
- Quad Stretch - Standing
- Quad Stretch - Exercise Band
- Quad Stretch - Kneeling
- Hamstring Stretch - Seated
- Hamstring Stretch - Standing
- Hamstring Stretch - Partner Stretch
- IT (Iliotibial) Band Stretch -Standing
- IT (Iliotibial) Band Stretch - Seated
- IT (Iliotibial) Band Stretch - Crossover Squat Stretch
- Piriformis Stretch
- Piriformis Stretch - Lying
- Groin Pain - Stretching Routine
- Groin Stretch - Standing
- Groin Stretch - Seated
- Groin Stretch - Squatting
Stretching Exercises By SportHere are some basic stretching routines for athletes who play a specific sport.
- Best Stretches for Cycling
- Best Stretches for Golfers
- Best Stretches for Runners
- Best Stretches for Snowboarding
- Best Stretches for Soccer
Injury-Specific Stretching RoutinesHere are some sample stretching routines for athletes who have specific injuries.
- IT (Iliotibial) Band Pain Stretching Routine
- Back Pain Stretching Routine
- Calf Pull Stretching Routine
Andersen, J. C. Stretching Before and After Exercise: Effect on Muscle Soreness and Injury Risk. Journal of Athletic Training 40(2005): 218-220
Herbert RD, de Noronha M. Stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 4.
Ian Shrier MD, PhD and Kav Gossal MD. The Myths and Truths of Stretching: Individualized Recommendations for Healthy Muscles, The Physician and Sportsmedicine, VOL 28, #8, August 2000.
Witvrouw, Erik, Nele Mahieu, Lieven Danneels, and Peter McNair. Stretching and Injury Prevention An Obscure Relationship. Sports Medicine 34.7(2004): 443-449