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Static Stretching Exercises

Research work by McNair (2000)[1] and Knudson (2001)[2] suggests that the use of static stretches are more appropriate for the cool down. By contrast, dynamic stretches - slow controlled movements through the full range of motion - are the most appropriate exercises for the warm up.

The Exercises

The following are examples of general static stretching exercises that could form part of the cool down program at the end of a training session when stretches are held for 10 seconds or to improve the mobility and range of movement when stretches are held for 30 seconds. In all exercises breathe easily whilst performing them.

Chest Stretch

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Hold your arms out to the side parallel with the ground and the palms of the hand facing forward
  • Stretch the arms back as far as possible
  • You should feel the stretch across your chest
Chest

Biceps Stretch

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Hold your arms out to the side parallel with the ground and the palms of the hand facing forward
  • Rotate the hands so the palms face to the rear
  • Stretch the arms back as far as possible
  • You should feel the stretch across your chest and in the biceps
Biceps

Upper Back Stretch

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Interlock your fingers and push your hands as far away from your chest as possible, allowing your upper back to relax
  • You should feel the stretch between your shoulder blades
Upper Back

Shoulder Stretch

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Place your right arm, parallel with the ground across the front of your chest
  • Bend the left arm up and use the left forearm to ease the right arm closer to you chest
  • You will feel the stretch in the shoulder
  • Repeat with the other arm
Shoulder

Shoulder and Triceps Stretch

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent
  • Place both hands above your head and then slide both of your hands down the middle of your spine
  • You will feel the stretch in the shoulders and the triceps
Triceps

Side Bends

  • Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent, hands resting on the hips
  • Bend slowly to one side, come back to the vertical position and then bend to the other side
  • Do not lean forwards or backwards
Side Bends Side bends Side bends

Abdominal and lower back muscles

  • Lie face down on the ground in a prone position
  • Lift your body off the ground so that you are supported only by your forearms and toes. The elbows should be on the ground and should be almost directly below your shoulders. Your forearms and hands should be resting on the ground, pointed straight ahead, toes and feet should be shoulder width apart and your head in line with your spine
  • Contract your gluteus (bum) muscles gently. Hold for ten seconds
Plank
  • Lift your right arm off the ground, straighten it and point it straight ahead, holding it in the air for 10 seconds
  • Return to the starting position
Plank
  • Repeat with the left arm
  • Return to starting position
Plank
  • Lift your right leg off the ground and hold it there for ten seconds (keep back straight).
  • Return to starting position
Plank
  • Repeat with left leg
  • Return to starting position
Plank
  • lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously and hold them in position for ten seconds
  • Return to starting position
Plank
  • Lift your left arm and right leg simultaneously and hold them in position for ten seconds
  • Return to the starting position
Plank

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit on the ground with both legs straight out in front of you
  • Bend the left leg and place the sole of the left foot alongside the knee of the right leg
  • Allow the left leg to lie relaxed on the ground
  • Bend forward keeping the back straight
  • You will feel the stretch in the hamstring of the right leg
  • Repeat with the other leg
Hamstring

Calf Stretch

  • Stand tall with one leg in front of the other, hands flat and at shoulder height against a wall.
  • Ease your back leg further away from the wall, keeping it straight and press the heel firmly into the floor
  • Keep your hips facing the wall and the rear leg and spine in a straight line
  • You will feel the stretch in the calf of the rear leg
  • Repeat with the other leg
Calf

Hip and Thigh Stretch

  • Stand tall with your feet approximately two shoulder widths apart
  • Turn the feet and face to the right
  • Bend the right leg so that the right thigh is parallel with the ground and the right lower leg is vertical
  • Gradually lower the body
  • Keep your back straight and use the arms to balance
  • You will feel the stretch along the front of the left thigh and along the hamstrings of the right leg
  • Repeat by turning and facing to the left
Hip

Adductor Stretch

  • Stand tall with your feet approximately two shoulder widths apart
  • Bend the right leg and lower the body
  • Keep you back straight and use the arms to balance
  • You will feel the stretch in the left leg adductor
  • Repeat with the left leg
Adductor

Groin Stretch

  • Sit with tall posture
  • Ease both of your feet up towards your body and place the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to come up and out to the side
  • Resting your hands on your lower legs or ankles and ease both knees towards the ground
  • You will feel the stretch along the inside of your thighs and groin
Groin

Front of Trunk Stretch

  • Lie face down on the floor, fully outstretched
  • Bring your hands to the sides of your shoulders and ease your chest off the floor, keeping your hips firmly pressed into the ground
  • You will feel the stretch in the front of the trunk
Trunk

Iliotibial Band Stretch

  • Sitting tall with legs stretched out in front of you
  • Bend the right knee and place the right foot on the ground to the left side of the left knee
  • Turn your shoulders so that you are facing to the right
  • Using your left arm against your right knee to help ease you further round
  • Use your right arm on the floor for support
  • You will feel the stretch along the length of the spine and in the muscles around the right hip
Iliotibial

Quadriceps Stretch

  • Lie face down on the floor, resting your fore-head on your right hand
  • Press your hips firmly into the floor and bring your left foot up towards your buttocks
  • Take hold of the left ankle with the left hand and ease the foot closer to you buttocks
  • Repeat with the right leg
  • You will feel the stretch along the front of the thigh
Quads


References

  1. MCNAIR, P.J. et al. (2000) Stretching at the ankle joint: viscoelastic responses to holds and continuous passive motion. Medicine & Science in Sport and Exercise, 33 (3), p. 354-358
  2. KNUDSON, D et al. (2001) Acute Effects of Stretching Are Not Evident in the Kinematics of the Vertical Jump, Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 15(1), p. 98-101

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • HADDAD, M., et al. (2014) Static stretching can impair explosive performance for at least 24 hours. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 28 (1), p. 140-146
  • MCGARTH, R. P. et al. (2014) The Effects of Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching on Post-Exercise Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness in Young Adults. International Journal of Exercise Science, 7 (1), p. 3
  • BORMS, J. et al. (1987) Optimal duration of static stretching exercises for improvement of coxo‐femoral flexibility. Journal of sports sciences, 5 (1), p. 39-47

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1998) Static Stretching Exercises [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/stretch.htm [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic:

Stretching Stretching