Stretching Exercises

Stretching Exercises

 

Walk around the room, step side to side, ride a bike or walk on a treadmill for at least 5 minutes to warm up before doing these stretches. Stretch warm muscles only. Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds. Do NOT bounce. You should feel the stretch in the muscle, not the joint.

Lower body stretches

Calf Muscle Stretch

  • Move your left foot back and keep your leg straight.
  • Move your right foot forward with the knee bent. Keep the knee in line with your ankle.
  • Press the heel of your left foot into the floor.
  • You should feel a stretch up the back of your lower leg, from your heel up to the back of your knee.
  • Repeat with the right leg back and the left leg forward.
Woman standing with one foot ahead, bending knee

Hamstring Stretch

  • Sit in a chair or on the edge of the chair.
  • Bring your left foot forward, placing the heel down and your toes raised to the ceiling. The knee should be slightly bent.
  • Lean forward and feel the stretch in the back of your upper leg.
  • Bring your right foot forward and repeat.
Woman sitting on chair, leaning with knee out in front

Quadriceps Stretch

  • Sit in a chair. Bring your foot back under the chair, so the top of your foot is on the floor.
  • Keep your lower back straight and lean back.
  • Feel the stretch in the front of your upper leg.
  • Repeat with your other leg.
Woman sitting in chair, leaning back with one leg stretched out

Upper body stretches

Side and Triceps Stretches

  • Raise one arm into the air and reach for the ceiling. Feel the stretch through your side.
  • Bring the hand down behind your head reaching across towards the opposite shoulder blade.
  • Reach up with your other hand and gently pull your elbow towards your back. If you cannot reach to pull your elbow back from behind your head, gently push your elbow back from the front of your arm.
  • Feel the stretch in the back of your upper arm.
  • Repeat with the other arm.
Man shown from the back with arm in the air, then folded behind head

Stretch for Back of Shoulders

  • Sit or stand and bring one arm across your body at shoulder height.
  • Place your other hand on your elbow or upper arm and pull it close to your chest.
  • Feel the stretch in the back of your shoulder.
  • Repeat with the other arm.
Woman holding arm in front of chest, stretching shoulder

Wrist Circles

  • Hold your arms in front of you at shoulder height.
  • Move your wrists to the right and to the left in circles.
Hand shown with fist, turning in circles both directions

Neck Stretches

  • Sit facing forward. Relax your arms at your sides.
  • Press your chin into your chest. You should feel a stretch up the back of your neck. Return to looking straight ahead.
  • Press your right ear to your right shoulder. Do not raise your shoulder to your ear. Feel the stretch in the side of your neck. Return to looking straight ahead.
  • Press your left ear to your left shoulder. Do not raise your shoulder to your ear. Feel the stretch in the side of your neck. Return to looking straight ahead.
  • Turn your head to the right as far as you can and feel the stretch. Return to looking straight ahead.
  • Turn your head to the left as far as you can and feel the stretch. Return to looking straight ahead.

Man pressing chin toward his chest

Man turing head from side to side, ear to shoulder

Man turing head side to side

© 2006 – March 29, 2021, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information, call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: health-info@osu.edu.