Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises form an important part of rehabilitation of many sports injuries.

Below we outline stretching exercises for different parts of the body. We also explain the different types of stretching including static stretching, dynamic stretching, PNF stretching and muscle energy techniques. See individual sports injuries for stretching exercises specifically recommended.

The benefits of stretching are thought to include decreased injury risk, improved sports performance, improved posture and possible even stress relief.

Lateral neck flexion stretch

Neck stretching exercises

Neck stretching exercises are excellent for relieving neck and shoulder pain, particularly if you spend too much time working at a computer or desk. Neck stretching can also help in the treatment of whiplash, wry neck, kyphosis and general stiff neck muscles. Major muscles stretched include the trapezius, levator scapulae, sternocleidomastoid, splenius and scalenes muscles.

Shoulder stretching exercisesShoulder stretching

Stretching the shoulder muscles is important for helping to prevent injury in many sports, especially throwing. Shoulder stretching also forms and important part of the rehabilitation programs of rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder, supraspinatus tendonitis and shoulder impingement. Major muscles stretched include pectoralis major, subscapularis, teres major, teres minor and deltoid muscles.

Tennis elbow stretchWrist and arm stretching

Wrist and arm stretching exercises are important in the treatment and rehabilitation of tennis elbow, golfers elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome as well as wrist sprains and strains. Regular stretching of the wrist and arm muscles is also important as part of a warm up for racket sports, cricket and contact sports, especially those involving a ball.

Lumbar rotationBack stretching exercises

Back stretching and mobility exercises are important for managing and preventing back pain. Muscles stretched include the errector spinae, gluteus maximus and quadratus lumborum.

Hip and groin stretching exercises

Hip and groin stretching exercisesHip and groin stretching exercises are important in the treatment and rehabilitation of groin strains, back pain, iliotibial band syndrome and piriformis syndrome. Muscles stretched include the gluteal muscles and hip abductors, adductor muscles and hip flexors.

Thigh stretching exercisesThigh stretching exercises

Thigh stretching exercises for the hamstring muscles and quadriceps are important in the prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of hamstring strains, quadriceps or thigh strains and contusions. Dynamic stretching is important for the hamstring muscles.

Calf and ankle stretchingAnkle and calf stretching exercises

Ankle stretching exercises are used in the treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of achilles tendonitis, calf strains and shin splints. Ankle mobility exercises are more important for ankle sprains and other lower leg injuries where loss of joint mobility is a factor.