Stretching should form a fundamental part of any exercise program and not just as part of the warm up…
In fact recent research suggests that static stretching may not be beneficial before training or athletic performance. Dynamic stretching seems to be more appropriate as part of the warm up.
If you’re not sure what the difference is between various types of stretching see the main flexibility training section for more details.
The flexibility exercises on this page are classed as static stretches. When is static stretching best performed? Ideally, after an exercise session when the body is fully warm. Many athletes perform a series of flexibility exercises like those below at the end of a training session or even after competition.
While you don’t have to be an athlete to benefit from stretching, you should be thoroughly warmed up before you begin to stretch.
Here are some general guidelines to bear in mind when following a flexibility program:
You should be thoroughly warmed up before performing these exercises
Stretch to just before the point of discomfort
The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch
Breath out into the stretch. Avoid breath holding
Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds
If tightness intensifies or you feel pain stop the stretch
Shake out limbs between stretches
Complete 2-3 stretches before moving onto the next exercise