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Stretches

Do all stretches gradually. Do not push or bounce the stretch. You should feel a stretch, not pain.

Breathe normally as you stretch. Do not hold your breath. If you like to time your breathing with your exercise, you can breathe out as you stretch, breathe normally in and out 2 or 3 times as you hold the stretch, and then relax. This will mean each stretch takes 15 to 30 seconds.

Latissimus stretch

Picture of latissimus stretch
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  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. You can do this stretch sitting down if you are not steady on your feet.
  2. Hold your arms above your head, and hold one hand with the other.
  3. Pull upward while leaning straight over toward your right side. Keep your lower body straight. You should feel the stretch along your left side.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds, then switch sides.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each side.

Triceps stretch

Picture of triceps stretch
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  1. Stand with your back straight and your feet shoulder-width apart. You can do this stretch sitting down if you are not steady on your feet.
  2. Bring your left elbow straight up while bending your arm.
  3. Grab your left elbow with your right hand, and pull your left elbow toward your head with light pressure. If you are more flexible, you may pull your arm slightly behind your head. You will feel the stretch along the back of your arm.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds, then switch elbows.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each arm.

Calf stretch

Picture of calf stretch exercise
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  1. Place your hands on a wall for balance. You can also do this with your hands on the back of a chair, a countertop, or a tree.
  2. Step back with your left leg. Keep the leg straight, and press your left heel into the floor.
  3. Press your hips forward, bending your right leg slightly. You will feel the stretch in your left calf.
  4. Hold the stretch 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.

Quadriceps stretch

Picture of quadriceps stretch
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  1. Lie on your side with one hand supporting your head.
  2. Stretch your leg back by pulling your foot toward your buttock. You will feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. If this causes stress on your knees, do not do this stretch.
  3. Hold the stretch 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.

Groin stretch

Picture of groin stretch exercise
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  1. Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together.
  2. Grab your ankles and gently pull your legs toward you.
  3. Use your elbows to press your knees toward the floor. You will feel the stretch in your inner thighs.
  4. Hold 15 to 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 2 to 4 times.

Hamstring stretch

Photo of hamstring stretch exercise
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  1. Lie on the floor. Extend your left leg out straight with your toes pointing up. If your back is uncomfortable, use a rolled washcloth or small towel for support.
  2. Bend your right knee. Gently pull your right leg toward you as you straighten that knee. You should feel a gentle stretch down the back of your right leg.
  3. Hold the stretch 15 to 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 2 to 4 times for each leg.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science
Last Revised October 25, 2011

Last Revised: October 25, 2011

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Heather Chambliss, PhD - Exercise Science

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