Recommended Stretching Routines

Do you hurry through your stretching exercises, so you can get to your work out quicker, or maybe you skip stretching altogether. If this sounds like you, read on. The American College of Sports Medicine advises that a simple stretching routine can provide many benefits to participants.

What is Stretching?

Stretching is the elongating of muscle through deliberate movements designed to increase your range of motion. This form of exercise is often therapeutic to the body and is frequently performed by athletes prior to and sometimes after exercise.

While there are various techniques in stretching, if done correctly, a stretching routine can be a crucial component to a healthy fitness program.

Benefits of Stretching

Stretching RoutinesRecent studies have revealed mixed results regarding the effectiveness of stretching; however, there are several tried and true benefits that a stretching program can provide for your body.

These typical benefits include:

  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Increased athletic performance
  • Improved range of motion and flexibility
  • Increased muscle control
  • Help to alleviate cramps
  • Convenient – no need for equipment
  • Improved posture

During a recent study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, participants were divided into two groups. One group performed 15 stretches, while the other group didn’t do any stretching exercises.

The study revealed that those who participated in a stretching program had an 18% increase in overall flexibility. Additionally, they also had gains in strength, while the other group had no improvements in flexibility or strength.

Stretching Routine

The following program is designed to provide a wide range of exercises for a complete full body stretch. This routine can be performed anywhere that there is enough space:

Lying Hamstring Stretch

  1. Lie flat on your back with both legs extended.
  2. Lift one leg up by grasping it under your knee.
  3. Pull the leg toward your chest and hold for 20 seconds.
  4. Repeat with the other leg.

Lying Quadriceps Stretch

  1. Lie on your side with both legs extended.
  2. Bend the top leg and hold the top foot with your hand.
  3. Gently press the top hip forward while holding your foot.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other leg

Knee to Chest

  1. Lie on your back with both legs straight out in front of you.
  2. Grasp one leg behind the knee and slowly pull it toward your chest.
  3. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Inner Thigh Stretch

  1. Stand with feet around 3 feet apart.
  2. Lunge to one side and bend your knee, facing that direction.
  3. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.

Triceps Stretch

  1. Start in a standing or seated position with both arms over your head.
  2. Bend the left elbow and grasp it with the right hand.
  3. Pull your elbow up and back slightly.
  4. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other arm.

Chest Stretch

  1. Start under a doorway with your right arm against the wall.
  2. Rotate your body away from your right arm unto you feel a gentle stretch in your chest.
  3. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other arm.

Shoulder Stretch

  1. Start in a seated or standing position and cross your left arm over the front of your body.
  2. Hold elbow with your right arm and push until you feel a stretch in your shoulder.
  3. Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat with the other arm.

Calf Stretch

  1. Start by standing about 2 feet away from a wall and place both hands on the wall in front of you.
  2. Place one foot at the wall and straightened the back leg until you feel a stretch in the back of your calf.
  3. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat with the other leg.


Before you start a stretching routine, use these tips to help prevent injury:

  • Never stretch to the point of pain.
  • Don’t consider stretching a warm-up exercise.
  • Stretch slowly and don’t bounce.
  • Stretch all sides of the body equally.
  • Maintain a consistent routine and stretch at least two times a week.
  • Take your time and don’t rush through the program.
  • Focus on stretching muscles that are specific to the activity or sport that you may be performing.