The Rules of Static Stretching
When: Any time of day, except before a workout
Why: To improve general flexibility
How: Apply these guidelines:
Stretch twice a day, every day. Any less frequently and you won’t maintain your gains in flexibility—which is why most flexibility plans don’t work. Twice a day may seem like a lot, but each “session” will require as little as 4 minutes of your time. Also, there’s no need to “warm” your muscles before stretching; that’s a myth. So you can stretch at work, while you’re watching TV, or while you’re grilling burgers.
Keep in mind that duration matters. You can increase passive flexibility with a static stretch that’s held for as little as 5 seconds, but you get optimal gains by holding it between 15 and 30 seconds, the point of diminishing returns.
Finally, do just one stretch for each tight muscle. Because most of the improvements in flexibility are made on the first stretch, repeating the same movement provides little benefit.
What: Use these movements to stretch your entire body. Do as shown and, for all but number 2, switch sides and repeat the stretch with the opposite arm or leg.
Place your left hand on your head as shown and position your right arm behind your back. Gently pull your head toward your shoulder.
Position your body in front of a wall as shown and lean forward to stretch.
Place your arm against a door frame or wall as shown, then move your shoulder forward.