Flexibility Exercises

This compilation of flexibility exercises targets all the major muscle groups.

Stretching should form a fundamental part of any exercise program and not just as part of the warm up...

In fact recent research suggests that static stretching may not be beneficial before training or athletic performance. Dynamic stretching seems to be more appropriate as part of the warm up.

If you're not sure what the difference is between various types of stretching see the main flexibility training section for more details.

The flexibility exercises on this page are classed as static stretches. When is static stretching best performed? Ideally, after an exercise session when the body is fully warm. Many athletes perform a series of flexibility exercises like those below at the end of a training session or even after competition.

While you don't have to be an athlete to benefit from stretching, you should be thoroughly warmed up before you begin to stretch.

Here are some general guidelines to bear in mind when following a flexibility program...

  • You should be thoroughly warmed up before performing these exercises

  • Stretch to just before the point of discomfort

  • The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch

  • Breath out into the stretch. Avoid breath holding

  • Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds

  • If tightness intensifies or you feel pain stop the stretch

  • Shake out limbs between stretches

  • Complete 2-3 stretches before moving onto the next exercise

Upper Body Flexibility Exercises

Stretch #1 Shoulder & Chest
This can be performed kneeling or standing. Clasp hands behind back and straighten arms. Raise hands as high as possible and bend forward from the waist and hold. 

Chest & shoulder stretch

Stretch #2 Arm Across Chest
Place one arm straight across chest. place hand on elbow and pull arm towards chest and hold. Repeat with other arm. 

Arm & shoulder stretch

Stretch #3 Triceps Stretch
Place one hand behind back with elbow in air. Place other hand on elbow and gently pull towards head. Hold and repeat with other arm. 

Triceps stretch

Lower Body Flexibility Exercises

Stretch #4 Glute Stretch
Sitting on floor with right leg bent, place right foot over left leg. Place left arm over right leg so elbow can be used to push right knee. Hold and repeat for other side. 

Glute stretch

Stretch #5 Adductor Stretch
Stand with feet as wide apart as is comfortable. Shift weight to one side as knee bends. Reach towards extended foot and hold. Repeat for other side. 

Abductor stretch

Stretch #6 Single Leg Hamstring
Place leg out straight and bend the other so your foot is flat into your thigh. Bend forward from the waist keeping your back flat. Hold and repeat with the other leg.

Hamstring stretch

Stretch #7 Standing Quadriceps
Standing on one leg grab the bottom of one leg (just above ankle). Pull heel into buttocks and push the hips out. Your thigh should be perpendicular to the ground. Hold and repeat with the other leg. 

Quads stretch

Stretch #8 Standing Calf
Place feet in front of each other about 18 inches apart. Keep back leg straight and heel on the floor. Push against a wall to increase the stretch. Hold and repeat with other leg. 

Calf stretch