Updated December 11, 2020Stretching keeps the muscles healthy and flexible, maintaining a range of motion in the joints. Without range of motion, the muscles shorten and tighten, and there’s a higher risk of injury doing day-to-day activities. In our article, we share some of the best stretches to drastically improve your flexibility.Standing Hamstring StretchThe Standing Hamstring stretches the back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves, and provides extra support to the lower back and pelvis.Stand straight with feet slightly apart.Bend forward at the hips and lower your head towards the floor.Keep your head, neck, and shoulders relaxed.Reach your arms down and try to touch your toes with your fingers.Hold the position for 20 seconds.Lunge with Spinal Twist StretchThe Lunge with Spinal Twist is a great core stretch that lengthens the ab muscles by stretching the back, quads, and hip flexors.Begin by standing with your feet together.Take a big step forward with your right foot, bending the right knee.Keep your left leg straight behind you with toes on the ground—you should feel a stretch in your left thigh.Brace yourself with your left hand on the floor.Twist your upper body to the right and extend your right arm, reaching toward the ceiling.Hold for 20 seconds, then switch to the other side.Single-Arm Triceps StretchThe Single-Arm Tricep stretches the triceps, biceps, and shoulders, improving flexibility, loosening connective tissue, and boosting circulation.Stand upright with feet hip-width apart.Lift your right arm above your head and bend the elbow so you’re reaching behind your back.Using your left hand, hold your right elbow and gently pull to the left.Hold for 30 seconds, then switch to the left arm.Figure Four StretchThe Figure Four is one of the best stretches for the body, because it targets your body’s largest and most powerful muscle groups, including the hamstrings, hips flexors, lower back, and glutes.Start by lying on your back with feet flat on the ground.Cross your right foot over and rest it on top of your left thigh.Grab your left thigh just under the left knee, and gently pull your left thigh towards your chest until you feel a stretch.Hold the position for 20 seconds.Switch sides and repeat.Butterfly StretchThe Butterfly stretches the back, thighs, hips, and glutes, loosening these muscles and strengthening your back to improve posture.Start by sitting on the floor.Shift your position so the soles of your feet are pressed together and the knees bent out to the sides.Flex your abs, hold onto your feet with both hands, and gradually lower your torso toward your feet until you feel a stretch.Hold for 30 seconds.Lunging Hip Flexor StretchThe Lunging Hip Flexor relaxes tense muscles after sitting for long periods of time, stretching the quads, glutes, and hip flexor muscles.Begin by kneeling on the floor, resting on your right knee.Bend your left knee with the left foot flat on the floor.Engage your glutes and lean forward, so your right hip stretches towards the floor.Hold this position for 20 seconds.Repeat on the opposite side.Knee to Chest StretchThe Knee to Chest stretches the hamstrings, hips, and lower back muscles, relieving pressure on spinal nerves and reducing back pain.Lie flat on your back with both legs straight out.Bend your left knee and pull your left leg to your chest.Keep your right leg straight out and lower back pressed to the floor.Hold for 20 seconds, then switch to the opposite leg.Standing Quad StretchThe Standing Quad stretches your quads and improves flexibility in your knees and legs.Stand straight with feet together.Bend your right knee so your right foot is behind you.Reach for your right foot with your right hand and hold for 30 seconds.If you need to, brace yourself against a wall with your left hand for balance.Repeat on the left leg.Standing Oblique StretchThe Standing Oblique stretches the biceps, triceps, deltoids, abs, and obliques, reducing muscle tension and maintaining spinal alignment.Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.Extend both arms straight above your head with clasped hands.With feet flat on the ground, lean to the right side until you feel a stretch along your right side.Hold for 20 seconds, then switch to the left side.Single Hamstring StretchThe Single Hamstring stretches the hip flexors, glutes, calves, and hamstrings and improves range of motion in the hips, making it easier to perform daily tasks, like bending over or walking up the stairs.Begin by sitting on the floor.Bend your right leg inward, so the bottom of your right foot is resting on the side of your left thigh.Extend your left leg straight out.Lean forward at the hips and grab your left toes.Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.Calf StretchThe Calf Stretch stretches the calves and hamstrings, providing support and strength to the lower legs and ankles.Stand up straight with your feet slightly apart and arms resting at your sides.Step forward with your left leg and keep your right leg behind you.Bend your left knee, but keep your right foot flat on the floor.Hold for 20 seconds, then switch sides.Cross-Body Shoulder StretchThe Cross-Body Shoulder stretches the deltoids and triceps, extending the back of the shoulder to release shoulder and upper back tension in the muscles.Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.Cross your right arm over your upper chest so your right hand is pointed to the left.Hold your right arm in place with your left hand, gently pulling until you feel a stretch in your right shoulder.Hold for 30 seconds, then switch arms.Child’s Pose StretchThe Child’s Pose stretches the lower and upper back and shoulders, and helps relieve back pain.Kneel on the floor with knees spaced apart.Move forward, using your arms and hands until your arms are straight on the floor.Your lower abdomen should be resting on your thighs and forehead touching the floor.Hold the pose for 30 seconds, relaxing your muscles.Neck StretchThe Neck Stretch loosens and strengthens the neck by stretching the neck and shoulders. You can do this stretch either standing or sitting down.Keep your head and back straight.Place your right hand over your left ear and gently pull your head toward your right shoulder until you feel a stretch along the left side of your neck.Hold for 30 seconds and repeat once more.Switch to stretching the right side of your neck.Chest StretchThe Chest Stretch stretches the deltoids and pectoral muscles to improve flexibility and range of motion in the chest, key for maintaining proper posture.Start by standing straight with feet hip-width apart.Keeping your arms straight, place your arms behind your back with fingers interlocked.Push your arms up until you feel a stretch in your chest.Hold for 20 seconds, then release.FAQsHow much should I stretch to get flexible?The American College of Sports Medicine suggests you hold a stretch for a total of 60 seconds. You can perform each stretch a few times for 20 to 30-second intervals. Stretching relaxes the muscles, improving movement and flexibility.Is it bad to stretch every day?A good rule of thumb is to stretch whenever you exercise, even if you’re just walking or going for a run. If you don’t regularly exercise, try to stretch at least three times a week to maintain flexibility. You may want to stretch every day if you have tightness or pain in your joints or back.Is it good to stretch before bed?Stretching before bed relaxes tense muscles and may improve your sleep. Muscles aren’t as stiff compared to going to bed without stretching, especially if you’re recovering from an injury. Relaxing the muscles also helps your body unwind and prepare for sleep, so you fall asleep faster and experience fewer sleep disruptions.Can you hold a stretch for too long?Stretching relaxes the muscles, but holding the stretch for too long can create stiff, sore muscles. It would be best if you held a stretch no longer than 60 seconds—holding a stretch longer causes the muscles to cramp and could increase the risk of injury. A stretch should feel slightly uncomfortable, but you could be pulling the stretch too far or for too long if you feel sharp pain.How long will it take to increase flexibility?It depends on how often you stretch and how physically active you are. Generally, you may feel the difference within 2 to 4 weeks if you stretch 3 to 5 times a week and exercise regularly. Increasing flexibility also depends on if you have any medical conditions, like fibromyalgia, which could restrict your movement because of chronic pain.ConclusionStretching not only improves flexibility, but it can also improve posture, decrease lower back pain and neck pain, and boost muscle recovery. When you don’t stretch, especially after a workout, the muscles become stiff and sore, and you may not have a good range of motion in your joints. Regularly stretching keeps the muscles flexible and helps you perform at your best.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.