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Static stretching exercises

Brian Mackenzie provides some examples of general static stretching and mobility exercises, which can form part of a general flexibility session.

The exercises

In all exercises breathe easily whilst performing them and hold the static stretches for 20 to 30 seconds. These exercises can also be used as part of a cool down program but only hold each stretch for 10 seconds.

Chest stretch

Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and 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.

Biceps stretch

Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and 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.

Upper back stretch

Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and 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.

Shoulder stretch

Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and 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 your chest. You will feel the stretch in the shoulder. Repeat with the other arm.

Shoulder and triceps stretch

Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and 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.

Side Bends

Stand tall, feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, knees relaxed and 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.

Abdominal and lower back muscles

Lie face down on the ground. 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.

  1. Contract your glutes (bum) muscles gently. Hold for ten seconds
  2. Lift your right arm off the ground, straighten it and point it straight ahead, holding it in the air for 10 seconds
  3. Return to the starting position
  4. Lift your left arm off the ground, straighten it and point it straight ahead, holding it in the air for 10 seconds
  5. Return to starting position
  6. Lift your right leg off the ground and hold it there for ten seconds (keep back straight)
  7. Return to starting position
  8. Lift your left leg off the ground and hold it there for ten seconds (keep back straight)
  9. Return to starting position
  10. Lift your right arm and left leg simultaneously and hold them in position for ten seconds
  11. Return to starting position
  12. Lift your left arm and right leg simultaneously and hold them in position for ten seconds 13.
  13. Return to the starting position

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.

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.

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.

Adductor stretch

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

Groin stretch

Sit with tall posture. Ease both of your feet up toward 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.

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.

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 ease yourself 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.

Quadriceps stretch

Lie face down on the floor, resting your forehead 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 foot with the left hand and ease the foot closer to your buttocks. Repeat with the right leg. You will feel the stretch along the front of the thigh.

Remember

These stretches must be effective, safe and stable in terms of their mechanics and used to ensure a normal range of motion in all muscle groups plus any sport event specific range of motions. The aim is to relax the muscles and facilitate an improvement in the maximum range of motion.


Article Reference

This article first appeared in:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2003) Static stretching exercises. Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching, (ISSN 1745-7513/ 8 / December), p. 9-10

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2003) Static stretching exercises [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/articles/scni8a4.htm [Accessed

About the Author

Brian Mackenzie is a British Athletics level 4 performance coach and a coach tutor/assessor. He has been coaching sprint, middle distance and combined event athletes for the past 30+ years and has 45+ years' experience as an endurance athlete.

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