The goal of static stretching is to regain or increase your flexibility. Remember, the key is to hold these stretches for 10-30 seconds and not bounce as you complete them.

Here are 6 static stretches you should consider including in your exercise and training routine:

  1. Seated shoulder stretch

    • Primarily stretches the shoulder and should be repeated 2-4 times.

    • Start by sitting up straight on a chair, put your left hand on your right shoulder, and cup your left elbow with your right hand.

    • Then, roll your shoulders down and back and gently pull your left elbow across your chest as you extend your left arm. Hold. Return to the starting position, then repeat on the opposite side. This is one rep.

  2. Seated rotation

    • Primarily stretches the back and should be repeated 2-4 times.

    • Start by sitting up straight on a chair with your feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart, and your arms at your sides.

    • Then, slowly rotate your head and torso to the right side, placing your left hand on the outside of your right knee and your right hand next to your right hip. Hold. Slowly return to the starting position. Repeat to the opposite side. This is one rep.

  3. Standing hamstring stretch

    • Primarily stretches the back of the thigh and should be repeated 2-4 times.

    • Start by standing up straight with your arms at your sides.

    • Then, extend your right leg straight in front of you, with your heel grounded on the floor and toes pointing to the ceiling. Place your hands on your upper thighs for support and hinge forward from the hip, keeping your spine neutral. Hold. Return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.

  4. Floor hip flexor stretch

    • Primarily stretches the front of the hip and should be repeated 2-4 times.

    • Start by laying on your back with your legs extended on the floor.

    • Then, relax your shoulders against the floor. Bend your right knee. Rest your hands on the back of your thigh and pull your knee toward your chest. Flex your left foot and press the thigh and calf of that leg down toward the floor as you do so. Feel the stretch in the front of your left hip and top of your thigh. Hold. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other leg. This is one rep.

  5. Double-knee torso rotation

    • Primarily stretches the back, chest, hip, and outer thigh and should be repeated 2-4 times.

    • Start by laying on your back with your knees bent and feet together, flat on the floor. Your arms should be out comfortably to each side at shoulder level.

    • Then, tighten your abdominal muscles and lift both knees toward your chest, then lower them to the right side on the floor. Keeping your shoulders relaxed and pressed into the floor, look in the opposite direction. Feel the stretch across your chest and torso. Hold. Bring both knees back to center and return your left foot, then your right foot, to the floor. Repeat in the opposite direction.

  6. Downward dog

    • Stretches the entire body and should be repeated 2-4 times.

    • Start by positioning yourself on all fours, hands shoulder-width apart, legs hip-width apart, and fingers extended.

    • Then, exhale as you lift your knees off the floor, straightening your legs without locking the knees until you are in an upside-down V. While maintaining a neutral neck and spine, align your ears with your biceps. Try to keep your weight evenly distributed between your hands and feet. Press your heels down toward the floor while keeping your shoulders down and rolled back. Hold. Return to the starting position.


Source: “Stretching: The New Mobility Protection”, Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School