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Stretching Exercises

Below are a number of stretching exercises with video tutorials, coaching points, muscles stretched and related sports injuries. Tick the boxes on the left of the page to view stretches for that particular body area or joint.

Flexibility explained describes what flexibility is and the factors affecting it. Different types of stretching exercise are also explained including static stretching, dynamic stretching, pnf and others.

Adductors
Ankle
Back
Calf
Elbow
Foot
Front thigh
Hamstrings
Hips
Neck
Shin
Shoulder
Trunk
Wrist
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Abdominal Stretch II

Abdominal muscle stretch with teaching points, variations and muscles stretched.

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Abs on Ball

Abdominal stretch on a gym ball.

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Advanced Shin Stretch

This stretch should only be attempted by those who can feel no stretch in the shin stretch and standing shin stretch.

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Advanced Soleus Stretch

This stretch is really effective but you must be careful and make sure you have something to hold on to!

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Anterior Shoulder Stretch

Stretching the front part of the shoulder and chest muscles can help to improve posture. There are a number of ways of stretching the muscles at the front of the shoulder

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Anterior Shoulder Stretch II

Using furniture, doorways and other equipment can be very useful to provide an effective stretch. Just make sure its sturdy first!

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Assisted tricep stretch

The assisted triceps stretch aims to stretch the triceps brachii muscle with assistance from a therapist.

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Back Stretches

Stretching the muscles of the lower back can provide a great deal of relief to back pain sufferers.

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Calf Muscle Stretching

The calf muscles consist of the larger gastrocnemius muscle and the lower soleus muscle.

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Calf stretch on step

Performing a calf stretch on a step is a progression from a standard calf stretch on the floor. It helps to gain more range of motion at the ankle which places a bigger stretch on the calf muscles.

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Cat Stretch

Cat stretch. These types of stretching exercises are similar to those used in yoga.

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Chest Stretch

Stretching the chest muscles, especially pectoralis minor can be beneficial in improving posture of the upper back and shoulder girdle.

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Chest Stretch with a Partner

Getting a partner to pull the arms back gently can be an effective way of stretching the chest. Just make sure you communicate and let them know when you can feel a gentle stretch.

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External Rotation Stretch

The muscles of the rotator cuff such as subscapularis should be stretched prior to activities involving overhead movements such as throwing and racket sports.

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Forward Neck Flexion Stretch

Performing a stretch such as this on a regular basis can help to ease muscular aches and pains in the neck and upper back.

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Gastrocnemius Stretch / Calf Stretch

We demonstrate a number of calf muscle stretches above. Stretching the calf muscles can help to prevent a whole range of lower limb injuries.

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Gluteal Stretch

Stretching the buttocks can be great for reducing symptoms from sciatica.

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Gluteus Maximus Stretch

Stretching the buttocks can be great for reducing symptoms from sciatica.

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Hip Flexor Stretch

This is an effective stretch which is commonly used for the muscles at the front of the hip including Rectus Femoris.

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Internal Rotation Stretch

The muscles of the rotator cuff are often overlooked, but should be stretched before and after all exercise of sport involving the shoulder joint.

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Kneeling Quad Stretch

This really stretches the Rectus Femoris muscle as it crosses both the hip and knee joints. However, don't perform this stretch if you have any kind of knee injury, as it is pretty hard on the knee.

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Lateral Neck Flexion Stretch

Lateral neck flexion stretch targets the upper trapezius muscle.

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Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

The lats are regularly left out of stretching routines, however, all it takes is a simple stretch like this or kneeling on the floor.

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Latissimus Dorsi Stretch II

This is a great stretch for the lats, which are often tight in people with poor upper back posture.

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Laying Quadriceps Stretch

This is a variation of the more common standing quad stretch, which may be easier to perform for some people.

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Long Adductor Stretch

Stretching the adductor muscles will help to keep your hips flexible which is important in injury prevention.

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Lower Back Stretch

Stretching the muscles of the lower back can provide a great deal of relief to back pain sufferers.

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Lower Lumbar Rotation

This exercise aims to increase the flexibility of the lower lumbar muscles. The weight of the leg provides the stretch but it can be increased by using the hand.

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Neck Rotation Stretch

Stretching the neck from side to side like this can help ease neck aches, especially if you apply gentle overpressure with your hand.

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Outer Hip Stretch

Stretching the muscles of the outer hip such as tensor fascia latae and also the Iliotibial band can be effective in treating runners knee.

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Partner Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are probably the most commonly tight muscles and this can contribute towards lower back pain.

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Peroneal Stretch

The peroneal muscles run down the outside of the lower leg and are difficult to stretch and so often neglected in a stretching routine.

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Piriformis Stretch

Piriformis stretching. Above we demonstrate a number of ways of stretching this muscle

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Plantar Fascia Stretch

Stretching the fascia which runs under the arch of the foot can be a useful part of treatment for plantar fasciitis.

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Posterior Shoulder Stretch

Stretching the back of the shoulder can be effective in rotator cuff injuries and also when the muscles of the upper back and neck are tight.

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Posterior Shoulder Stretch II

This stretch is great for rotator cuff injuries and can be also be performed before exercise, especially if throwing is involved.

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Rotation Stretch

Rotation mobility exercise for the lower back.

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Shin Stretch

Stretching exercise for the front of the shin. The muscles at the front of the shin are notoriously difficult to stretch.

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Short Adductor Stretch

Stretching the adductor or groin muscles maintains the flexibility of the hip and can help you to prevent and recover form groin strains.

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Side Stretch

The classic side stretch for all the muscles on the side of the body, from arm down to hip.

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Sitting Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are probably the most commonly tight muscles and this can contribute towards lower back pain.

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Soleus Stretch

This stretch targets the Soleus muscle which is deeper, underneath the larger Gastrocnemius. Bending the knee relaxes gastrocnemius, allowing Soleus to be stretched in isolation.

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Standing Groin Stretch

Standing groin stretch. This easy stretch can help prevent and treat groin strain injuries.

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Standing Hamstring Stretch

The hamstrings are probably the most commonly tight muscles and this can contribute towards lower back pain.

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Standing Outer Hip Stretch

This is a great stretch for reducing tightness in the Iliotibial band - a long thick strip of fascia running down the outside of the thigh.

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Standing Quadriceps stretch

Standing quad stretch. This has to be one of the most recognised and commonly used stretches.

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Standing Shin Stretch

Stretching the shins is usually overlooked until an injury such as shin splints occurs. This is a great treatment and prevention stretch.

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Sternocleidomastoid Stretch

The sternocleidomastoid stretch stretches the two long strap-like muscles on either side of the front of the neck.

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Supraspinatus Stretch

Stretching the supraspinatus and other rotator cuff muscles is important in throwing and other overhead activities such as badminton. These muscles are often overlooked and frequently injured.

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Tennis Elbow Stretch

Tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is caused by degenerative changes in one or more of the forearm muscles, where they attach to the humerus.

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Triceps Stretch

The muscles of the arm including the Triceps are often overlooked when it comes to a stretching routine. Stretching the Triceps especially after a weights workout can help reduce DOMS.

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Wrist Extensor Stretch

Stretching the wrist extensors can be an effective treatment for tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.

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Wrist Flexor Stretch

Stretching the wrist flexor muscles can be difficult, but using a wall to apply pressure and increase the range of motion can be very effective. Make sure you keep the elbow straight.

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Adductors
Ankle
Back
Calf
Elbow
Foot
Front thigh
Hamstrings
Hips
Neck
Shin
Shoulder
Trunk
Wrist