How to Build a Stretching Routine

Stretching can improve circulation, increase mobility, and decrease stress. In other words, it’s a great addition to your daily routine! You can stretch before and after a workout or in any spare time you have. The most important aspect is building a consistent stretching routine that works for you. Here are some tips!

Tips to Build a Stretching Routine

  1. Warm-up before Stretching

Taking a 5-minute walk or jog before stretching can help warm up your muscles and assist in avoiding injury.

2. Avoid Over-Working Injuries

If you have had an injury in the past, then be careful with stretching that area. Only do stretches that have been approved by your doctor or physical therapist, and as with all stretches, stop if you feel pain.

3. Incorporate Dynamic and Static Stretches into Your Routine

Dynamic stretches are stretches that mimic movement. You make a motion but do not hold the final position. For example, doing a few arm circles would be a dynamic stretch. A static stretch is a stretch where you hold a position to stretch a specific muscle. An example of a static stretch would be holding a quad stretch. In general, dynamic stretches are beneficial before a workout, and static stretches are helpful afterward, but both can be useful to a routine.

4. Stretch Regularly

For adults, stretching at least two or three times a week is beneficial. The more regularly you incorporate stretching into your routine, the greater your range of motion will be.

5. Stretch Your Full Body

Major muscles and tendons are located in your neck, shoulders, arms, back, hips, legs, and ankles. It is important to stretch your whole body to gain the full benefits of stretching, even if you’re only working out a specific body part. For example, many runners observe shoulder and arm stiffness when running, and stretching can alleviate this.

Stretches to Incorporate in Your Routine

There are dozens and dozens of stretches, all of which have various benefits. The most important thing is finding a stretch that works well for you. Here are a few options to try out!

  • The Seated Pike

The Seated Pike is a great stretch for your legs and lower back. To perform it, first sit with your legs straight out, knees locked, and toes pointed towards the sky. Then, lean forward to feel the stretch. Don’t stretch to the point of pain. Round out your back, and you can adjust to stretch further or closer if you need to. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds at a time.

  • The Prone Press-Up/Cobra Stretch

Similar to a push-up, this is a stretch that you lay on your front to do. Using your arms, push your upper body up so that your back is stretched and your face is pointed to the sky. Hold the stretch for 15-20 seconds.

  • Overhead Tricep Stretch

In this stretch, lift your arms over your head. Let your right elbow bend so that your right hand is resting behind your neck. Then, using your left hand, grab your right elbow and gently pull it in towards your head. Hold this position for 20 seconds, and then switch arms.

Written by: Maddie Aguilar


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The Social and Health Research Center