Top Stretching Exercises For The Entire Body

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Note: This page was recently updated on Thursday 2nd of July 2015

Stretching exercises should be performed almost daily as they have many benefits for our body and overall health. If you want to learn how to stretch, you’ve come to the right place.

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This site has gathered an abundance of useful and valuable information in hopes of putting your mind at ease when it comes to flexibility training and stretches.

Please, however, make sure you seek further guidance from a professional licensed physiotherapist or fitness training professional before attempting any of the provided stretching exercises.

Types Of Stretching Exercises

There are many kinds of stretches including lower back stretches, sciatica stretches, hip stretches, shoulder stretches, pectorals stretches, calf stretches, hamstrings stretches, and quadriceps stretches.

The act of stretching is a relatively simple technique to perfect, but for some reason, many of us avoid it causing damage to various parts of the body. Eventually this can lead to a loss in range of motion, or ROM, and joint flexibility.  While there have been many misconceptions about stretching techniques, they in fact have many benefits. You can do this any time in the day and it does not require a warm up, however, this depends on the kind of stretch performed.

There are two primary forms of stretching: static and dynamic. Some of the flexibility improvements from one will transfer to the other when regularly incorporating both dynamic and static stretches.

Static stretching differs from dynamic stretching because it involves one target muscle at a time, and should not be performed before any kind of physical activity or exercise.

Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, is a great way to warm up prior to performing any type of fitness activity and can incorporate more than one muscle group at a time.

PNF Stretching

Proprioceptive neuromuscular faciliation stretching are specific exercises that contains a number of techniques and aids in rehabiliation patients. Regarded as one of the most effective forms of flexibility training incorporating both active voluntary muscle contraction and passive muscular contraction, it is said to have the greatest benefits for ROM and short-term benefits.

Incorrect Stretching

If not performed correctly, stretching can in fact be quite dangerous to the body. The technique is dependent upon the muscle group that is being stretched, and as a consequence, ineffective techniques may be detrimental causing permanent harm to ligaments, tendons, and muscle fibers.

Below are just a few of the many reasons how stretching can help you in a positive manner:

First and foremost, stretching will help increase your range of motion. It is imperative you hold the stretch anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds, while some holds can last even longer as. As we age, this becomes even more important for us as it helps to maintain a strong and flexible frame.

Secondly, stretching can facilitate blood flow to muscles and joints, which elevates energy in the body and as a result, diminishes muscle tension.

Thirdly, this may help prevent injury simply by strengthening the body and becoming more flexible

Finally, taking a yoga class for example will help reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Prolonged stretching coupled with a healthy diet may in fact contribute to the prevention of heart disease.

Additional Stretching Tips

Proper stretching exercises are good for us. The act of extending the limbs and body to the point of resistance can be a wonderful feeling in addition to a good way of improving flexibility and perhaps playing a key role in improved mobility, agility, and quickness.

Some people are unsure how to stretch. It has been recommended to perform warm up stretches prior to and after a workout routine, however, regular daily stretching may be even more beneficial in the decreased risk of injury and do less harm to the body rather than stretching before and post workout. In other words, you are far less likely to pull a muscle or suffer from similar problems.

To improve your muscle’s elasticity and the body’s overall athleticism, this form of physical exercise in which a deliberate stretch occurs, is used in the most basic and instinctive form, to therapeutic reasons for alleviating cramping and muscle soreness.

It is regarded as one of the basic dogmas of physical fitness. When stretching muscles safely and effectively, this can result in stronger muscle-tendons, improved flexibility, and increased performance.

Here are some common stretching exercises for individual muscle groups:

Latissimus Dorsi

Use either a Swiss ball or simply a mat, and push your arms up by reaching forward while you bring your chest to the floor. This will stretch the back muscles.

Upper Trapezius

Gently pull your head to the shoulder by placing your left hand on your head, while positioning your opposite arm behind your back.


Position your arm at a 90 degree angle (forearm vertical and upper arm horizontal) against the wall or the door, and move your shoulder slightly forward.


Standing as shown, position your body aligned appropriately while maintaining an upright torso and push your hips forward.


Standing erect, lean forward from the hip flexors until you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.


Place your toe in front of the wall standing erect, and slowly lean your body forward until you feel a stretch in your calf muscle.


The hip area should always be stretched and one way to keep them loose is by opening up the hip joint through one legged crosses or the butterfly stretch.

A common yet nagging acute pain and sometimes chronic pain, located on the outer hip area is referred to as IT band friction syndrome.

This area is composed of a highly dense fibrous tissue which runs along the outer region of the thigh and is needed for all kinds of athletic activities. If neglected, injury can arise and can often be experienced in short distance and long distance runners or athletes who engage in powerful sprints or quick bursts of energy.

You can learn more about this area including stretches and preventative measures of IT band pain by visiting our IT band stretching page.

Look out for more brief explanations of diverse stretching exercises.

Foot Minders Plantar Fasciitis

Baby Center: Pregnant Women Exercise Stretching

Wikipedia: Stretching Exercises – How To Stretch Your Body

People.Bath.AC.UK – Types Of Stretching

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