The Do's and Don'ts of Stretching

What you need to know to keep your muscles ready for anything


  • Stretch after workouts. Stretching muscles you've just trained encourages their growth.
  • Hold stretches for 20 to 30 seconds. You'll forces the muscles to relax.
  • Stretch chronically tight areas often. Most people have very tight hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors, so spend more time on those areas.


  • Stretch before workouts. It can weaken your muscles for lifting.
  • Stretch in a rapid motion. Pushing yourself into position quickly and then "bouncing" back is dangerous.
  • Stretch injured muscles. Even if it feels good, you may make the damage worse.

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