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The Best Static Stretches for Each Major Muscle Group

Updated: Mar 5, 2022

Static stretching is great to do, as it helps relieve muscle soreness and boost recovery for your next workout.


However with so many options out there, it can be hard to know which stretches are the best ones to do. Which is why we've done the hard research to find out which stretches really are the most effective ones for each muscle group, and listed them in here.


Fit and lean woman doing ab and hip flexor stretch to loosen up tight muscles

The Best Stretches Are...



Standing Simple Quad Stretch


This is perhaps the most simple way to stretch out your sore quadriceps. It's a great one you can do in between your sets, to relieve some of the tightness before you go hard in your next one.


To do this stretch:

  1. Stand on your right leg. Grab onto a chair or pole if needed to keep stable.

  2. Grab your left foot with your left hand and pull your left foot up towards your glutes.

  3. Push your hips forward, and drag your foot further back until you feel a good stretch in your quadricep and hip flexors.

  4. Hold this position for 20-40 seconds, and do the same for your other leg.


Check out Howcast's awesome video below to see a demonstration!



Simple Seated Hamstring Stretch


Another simple way to stretch out a sore muscle, the simple hamstring stretch is incredibly easy to perform. It's great to do after your workout, especially after doing activities and exercises such as squatting, running, cycling or deadlifting. Here's how to do it:


  1. Sit on the floor or a mat, with both legs straight out in front of you.

  2. Straighten and extend your arms, then reach forwards by bending forwards at the waist. Keep your knees fully straight if you can, otherwise the stretch on the hamstrings will be compromised.

  3. Reach as far forwards as possible, but stop immediately if you feel any pain. Note: you should know the difference between pain and a stretched feeling on a sore/tight muscle.

  4. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.

  5. Repeat this for however many times you feel that you need to.


See the video by OrthoIndy Northwest for a brilliant demonstration!



Child's Pose


Video by Vive Health


This is a great stretch for your spinal erectors, as well as your glutes, shoulders and a little for your hamstrings. You should look to do this after any core-reliant exercise such as squatting, deadlifting, indoor rowing, running or something else along those lines. Stretching out the spinal erectors and shoulders will help alleviate muscle tightness in the following days, and help keep you training as efficiently as possible.


To do this stretch:


  1. Kneel down on the ground and bring your hands straight out in front of you, then allow your upper body to fold/fall forwards so that you're almost lying down, while keeping your knees in that same bent position.

  2. Sink down through your hips and rest them on your heels.

  3. Keep your arms extended out in front of you.

  4. Allow your belly to rest on the top of the thighs.

  5. You should feel a stretch mainly in your lower back area.

  6. Hold this pose for 20-45 seconds.



Squat Lat Stretch/Dead Hang


Stretching out tight lats is an incredible feeling, and this is one of the best ways to do it. Having tight lats is one of the most limiting problems lifters and athletes will face. If you've ever done a pull up-only workout for the first time, you'll likely know what we're talking about. Doing either of these stretches will just loosen them up a little bit, and help keep oyu moving as normally as possible.


Note that the squat lat stretch is preferable in this case as it doesn't create a whole new workout for the forearms like the dead hang does. However if you prefer to just dead hang and want that extra grip training, by all means, it provides a stellar stretch on the lats.


To do the squat lat stretch:


  1. Find a stationary object such as a handrail that's about waist level that you can easily hold onto.

  2. Grab onto the object and go down into a squat position (as low as possible while keeping heels on the ground).

  3. Allow your back to relax at the bottom of the squat, and you should find your arms straight out above your head, still holding onto the object.

  4. Inhale deeply through the nose and exhale out of the mouth.

  5. Hold this stretch for 20-30 seconds.


Check out the video by Henry Halse below to see what this stretch looks like!



If you prefer to do a dead hang, it's simply hanging on a bar with your shoulder blades completely relaxed and arms straightened out over your head. This is usually done on a pull up bar, and is great for depressing and relaxing your scapula, as well as stretching out any tight back muscles.



Wall Stretch


Video by Rebalance Sports Medicine Physiotherapy & Chiropractic


This stretch is great for working on each side of the chest individually. You'll feel a great stretch in your pecs, shoulders and also a little bit in your biceps. It's great after an intense chest day workout, or if you just feel like you need to stretch the pecs out a little.


To do this stretch:


  1. Stand next to a wall or doorway that you can easily face your palm into.

  2. Stand in a split-leg stance with your right left in front first (top of a lunge position).

  3. Bring your right arm up to shoulder level and face the palm and inside of your arm towards the doorway or wall. You arms can either be bent or straight, it's completely up to you.

  4. Push against the doorway or wall, whilst trying to twist a little away from the surface. Once you feel a good stretch in your chest, hold that position for 20-40 seconds.

  5. Repeat for the left arm.



Behind the Back Stretch


This is also a great way to stretch out your chest, if you don't have access to a doorway or a wall anywhere nearby. You can either do this seated or standing, it doesn't matter.


To do this stretch:


  1. Have your arms hanging down by your side.

  2. Squeeze your two shoulder blades back and together, and you should feel your chest opening up. Bring your arms behind your back and grab the opposite elbow with your hand if you can. Otherwise, just clasp the hands together.

  3. Push your chest out.

  4. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds.


See the video below by AskDoctorJo for a great demonstration!



Cross-Body Stretch


This is a great stretch to loosen out your lateral/middle and rear delts (shoulders). Plus you'll stretch the lats and the muscles of the upper back as well, making it a great stretch to not only relieve muscle tightness, but potentially improve your posture as well.


Here's how to do it:


  1. Assume a standing position with your right arm straight out in front of you.

  2. Bring your straight arm straight across to the left side of your body, keeping it at the same angle.

  3. Your right arm should be past your left foot.

  4. Bend your left arm and hook your left forearm underneath your right elbow.

  5. Pull your right arm in using your left arm, and you should feel a stretch in the back of your shoulder.

  6. Hold this stretched position for 20-40 seconds and repeat for your left shoulder.


Once again, we've found a great video demonstration for you by AskDoctorJo!



Seated Bicep Stretch


Video by Origym Personal Trainer Courses


Having sore or tight biceps can be extremely limiting in everyday life, making the ability to stretch them very, very important. This is probably the most straightforward and most effective stretch for them, and can it be done literally anywhere. We like to do these at the end of any session where we performed bicep curls, simply because a tight bicep can affect everyday life so heavily. Especially if you're not used to it.


To do the seated bicep stretch:


  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent in front of you.

  2. Keep your feet flat on the ground.

  3. Put your hands on the floor palms facing down, and fingers pointing away from you (backwards).

  4. Slide forward while keeping your hands planted in the same spot on the ground, and you should begin to feel a stretch along your biceps.

  5. Hold this position for 20-40 seconds.



Cobra Pose


This is a really good feeling stretch, and will create amazing relief in your tight hips and abs. It's a great stretch after rigorous exercising such as cycling or rowing, especially if you're a competitive athlete in sports of that kind. Loosening your abs and hips will help keep you moving as efficiently as possible, and we know that many athletes train with sessions separated by just 8 hours or so. If that is you, it becomes even more important for you to do stretches like this.


To do it:


  1. Lie face down on an exercise mat or just on the ground.

  2. Keeping your hips on the ground, push your upper body up with your arms, as high as you can. Make sure your hips stay on the ground.

  3. You should feel a stretch in your abs, as well as in your hip.

  4. Hold this stretched position for 20-30 seconds.


We've included a video by Yoga Journal for you to see what this looks like!



Cat/Cow Stretch


Video by Howcast


The cat/cow is a funny looking stretch, but it's actually a great one to do for your ab mobility and flexibility. You'll also be stretching your lower spinal erectors (lower back muscles) at the same time. Great after heavy compound lifting such as squatting and deadlifting.


Here's how to do it:


  1. Go down on your hands and knees and tuck your neck in while arching your back upwards.

  2. Then extend your neck upwards and relax your belly, allowing it to drop all the way downwards. Do not resist, as this is the part that stretches the abs.

  3. Hold this position for 10-30 seconds, and alternate between the two positions to stretch both your abs and your lower back.



Conclusion


Thanks for checking out this post! We hope you've enjoyed reading through it and have been able to learn something from it today.


These static stretches can be done anywhere, and it's definitely a good idea to form some sort of a stretching routine for yourself to stay flexible, mobile and help prevent injuries!


Which one was your favorite stretch?


Let us know down in the comments section below!