How to Optimize Your Stretching Routine

The Benefits of Stretching

Stretching is an incredibly important, yet underrated, part of any exercise routine.  Even if you don’t exercise, you should still aim to stretch at least once a week.  The benefits of stretching are immeasurable.  Some of the many benefits of stretching are:

  • Reduced muscle tension
  • A greater range of motion and flexibility in your joints, as well as your muscles
  • Increased blood flow
  • Increased energy levels
  • Improves your performance in physical activities
  • Decreased risk of injury
  • Enables your muscles to work most effectively
  • Improves your ability to complete daily tasks

How to Optimize Your Stretching Routine:

If you are new to stretching, you may just jump right into whatever feels right.  While any stretching is better than no stretching, there are many ways you could injure yourself in doing so, and nobody wants that!  So to remove the risk of injury and give you better results, we’ve put together a list of ways to optimize your stretching routine that have been tried and true:

  • If you have a chronic condition or injury, you should exercise caution.  You don’t want to hurt yourself further.  Make sure to wear a proper medical grade brace to protect your injury, and ask your doctor or physical therapist about adjusting your stretching techniques to better suit your injury or condition. 
  • It’s important to remember that you should stretch when your muscles are warm.  When your muscles are cold, you’re more likely to injure yourself.  It’s wise to stretch after you warm up, or better yet, after your workout.
  • Stretching immediately before participating in high-intensity activities, such as sprinting or track and field, may actually decrease performance.  Some research even shows that stretching immediately before an event can weaken hamstring strength.
  • Strive for symmetry as opposed to flexibility.  Having asymmetrical flexibility can increase your risk of injury.  Don’t worry about how far you can stretch, but rather if you can stretch equal amounts on both sides of your body.
  • Focus on major muscle groups, such as your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck, and shoulders.  If you participate in a sport, make sure to target the muscles and joints that you routinely use during your sport or activity.
  • Don’t bounce! Make sure to stretch with smooth movements.  If you bounce as you stretch, you can easily injure your muscles and actually increase your muscle tightness.
  • Hold your stretch.  Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds.  If you are stretching an area that you know is problematic, try to hold it for around 60 seconds.  Make sure to take deep breaths.
  • Aim for tension, not pain.  If stretching hurts, you’re pushing too far.
  • Keep it routine.  You can achieve the most benefits by stretching in a regular pattern.  Aim for 2 to 3 times a week; even just 5 to 10 minutes of stretching at a time can have helpful benefits.

Stretching plays such an important role in keeping your joints and muscles at their best, whether you are on the field non-stop or sitting at a desk on your computer.  We urge you to follow these steps to see just how much of a difference proper stretching can make in your life.

We love to hear your success stories!  If BRD Sport has helped keep pain out of your game, please share with us by emailing Nina at

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