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Stretching Do's and Don'ts 

Ideally, stretch your major muscles after every workout but if that proves too time consuming, stretching twice a week is a suitable target. Far from detracting from your other training, substituting some stretching for a few extra minutes cardiovascular or resistance training will improve your overall fitness, not decrease it. If you can complete two, ten-minute stretching sessions each week, you are well on the road to keeping mobile, supple and injury free. To make sure you always stretch safely, simply consult the dos and don’ts table below and you will get the most from your stretching program.


Stretching ‘Do's’

DO ...

  • Ensure that the muscles being stretched are thoroughly warmed-up

  • Stretch at the end of your training session

  • Relax

  • Breathe easily

  • Hold each stretch for a minimum of 30 seconds

  • Follow an all-over body program for stretching to avoid postural imbalances

  • Follow correct technique

  • Avoid pain, stretching should never be painful

Stretching ‘Don'ts’

DON'T ...

  • Try and stretch cold muscles – it’s a recipe for injury

  • Stretch before your warm-up or workout

  • Bounce or rock whilst holding a stretch – you could overstretch and cause an injury

  • Hold a stretch for just a few seconds

  • Hold your breath

  • Focus on just leg stretches or just upper body stretches

Conclusions about stretching

Stretching is a great injury prevention strategy and also makes you feel loose and relaxed. Good quality stretching can also help correct imbalances, improve posture, extend limb range of motion and increase stride length.

Time spent returning shortened, tight muscles to their original length will provide considerably greater and longer term benefits than a few more minutes gym training or a couple of extra miles on the road. By following the stretching dos and don’ts, you won’t lose it because you regularly use it.

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