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             Fitness Tips For 8/4/2004          
Stretching Exercises    
by Shannon Entin
Stretching is crucial for every sport or fitness activity, and too 
many people neglect this part of their workout. Stretching will 
not only increase your flexibility and minimize your chances 
of pulling or tearing muscles, but it will also improve your 
performance. A flexible muscle reacts and contracts faster, 
and with more force, than a non-flexible muscle. 

Flexibility also increases your agility and balance. Stretching 
exercises should be performed after a short warm-up, between 
weightlifting sets, and/or during your cool-down. As an added 
benefit, stretching is an excellent relaxation technique. 

Use your stretching time to focus on your sport or workout,
visualizing success. The following is a list of stretching 
exercises you can incorporate into your workout. 

Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and do not bounce. Breath 
normally during the stretch. 

Stretching Routine For Each Muscle Group

Neck Rotation Turn your head to the side, stretching your 
chin toward your shoulder. Turn head back to center and 
repeat to the other side. 

Shoulder Stretch Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Raise 
one arm overhead and stretch as far as you can without 
bending the torso. Repeat with opposite arm. 

Forearm Stretch Extend your right arm straight out in front 
of you, palm downward. With the left hand, grasp the 
fingers of the right hand and pull back gently, stretching 
the wrist and forearm. Repeat with the left arm. 

Tricep Stretch Raise one arm straight up, so your upper
arm is near your ear. Bend at the elbow and let your 
hand fall to the back of your neck. With the other arm, 
reach behind your head and place your hand on top of 
the bent elbow. Gently pull down and back on the 
elbow. Repeat with other arm. 

Trunk Stretch Stand with your feet a little more than 
shoulder width apart. Reach your left arm overhead 
and bend to the right at the waist. Repeat on opposite 

Torso Twist Stand at arm's length from the wall, with 
the wall at your side. Reach one arm out and place 
your hand on the wall. Reach the other arm around the 
body, stretching the hand to the wall. Repeat on 
opposite side

Chest Stretch Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. 
Clasp your hands behind your back and gently press 
your arms upward, keeping your arms straight.

Back Stretch Lie on your back and bring one knee to 
your chest. Hold the knee with both hands and gently 
pull in. Alternate knees and repeat. 

Hip Roll Lie on your back and bend your knees, feet 
flat on the floor. Let your knees fall to the right while 
reaching both arms across your body to the left. Hold 
the stretch, then roll the hips over to the left, stretch 
arms to the right and repeat the stretch. 

Lower Back Reach Sit on the floor with your legs 
straight out in front of you. Reach forward toward 
your toes, keeping your chin up and lower back 
slightly arched. Try not to round the back or tuck the 
chin in - this decreases the effectiveness of the stretch. 

Butterfly Stretch Sit on the floor, bend your knees out to 
the sides and bring the soles of your feet together. 
Place your hands on your knees and gently press the 
knees toward the floor. Keep your back straight. 

Lateral Hip Stretch Sit on the floor with both legs 
straight in front of you. Bend your left leg and place the 
left foot over the right knee. Place your right hand on 
the outside of the left knee and gently pull the knee 
toward your right shoulder, twisting the torso to the 
left, until you feel the stretch in your left hip. Repeat 
with opposite side. 

Hamstring Stretch Stand with legs shoulder width 
apart and the left leg slightly in front of the right. Shift 
your weight to the back leg (the right) and bend the 
knee, turning the knee and toe to the right. Extend the 
left leg and place the heel on the floor, toes in the air. 
Keep the back straight and bend forward at the hips 
until you feel the stretch in the hamstring of the left 
leg. Repeat with the opposite leg. 

Standing Hamstring Reach Stand with one foot 
crossed over the other. Bend at the hips, reaching 
toward the floor and keeping the knees slightly 
bent. Repeat with the opposite foot crossed in front. 

V-Stretch Sit on the floor with your legs extended to 
either side so they form a "V". Bend forward, grasp 
your toes or ankles, and stretch your chest toward 
the floor. Try to go a little lower each time you 
perform the stretch. 

Leaning Calf Stretch Stand about 2 1/2 feet from a 
wall. Place your hands on the wall and lean in, 
gently pushing your hips forward. Keep your legs 
straight and heels flat on the floor. 

Standing Calf Stretch Stand with your feet together. 
Extend one leg in front of you and place the heel 
on the floor, toes in the air. Keeping the back 
straight, bend forward at the hips until you feel 
the stretch in the calf. Repeat with opposite leg. 

Quadricep Stretch Lie face down and reach back
with your right arm to grasp your right ankle. Pull 
your foot toward your buttocks. Be sure to keep 
your hips and pelvis on the floor. Repeat with 
left leg. 

Standing Quad Stretch From a standing position, 
reach back to grasp your right ankle with your 
right hand. Pull your foot toward your buttocks. 
Place your other hand on a wall or chair if you need 
balance support. Repeat with left leg.


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