Dynamic & Static Stretching Examples

What are some great dynamic and static stretching examples for better training, performance, and relaxation?

lady static stretching on the beach

In this article, I’m going to show you the best (click to jump down):

  1. Dynamic stretching examples
  2. Static stretching examples

I will even answer these important questions for you:

  1. Should you start with a dynamic or static stretch before you workout?
  2. What stretches should you do after your workout?

A Dynamic Stretching Routine Example

Here is an example of a great dynamic stretching warm-up routine:

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Exercise 1. Inchworm

Repetitions (how many times to do it): x 10

  1. Bend over like you’re touching your toes
  2. Walk your hands out until you are in a press-up position
  3. Walk your hands back to your toes again and repeat nine more times

Exercise 2. 90/90 stretch

Repetitions: 5 X per leg

  1. Get yourself in a position on the floor where your left knee is bent in front and your right knee is bent behind your body
  2. Reach over to your left knee out in front of you until you feel your lower back and lats being stretched
  3. Go back slowly and repeat four more times
  4. Once you are done, repeat on your opposite leg

Exercise 3. Rolling Crucifix

Repetitions: 10

  1. Lye with your chest flat on the floor with your legs straight and your arms out in front of you like you’re Superman
  2. Keeping your thighs on the floor, rotate your upper torso to the left so that your right arm is up in the air and your left arm is still on the floor and you’re getting good thoracic extension
  3. Rotate back to the other side and repeat nine more times

Exercise 4. Table Twists

Repetitions: 5X on each side

  1. Sit up on the floor with your hands behind your back and keep your chest out (like you’d do in a tricep dip)
  2. Drive upwards so that the centre of your body is flat
  3. Then rotate over your right shoulder, fully extending your lower back by driving through the glutes and repeat

Exercise 5. Three-Way Lunge

Repetitions: 5X on each leg

  1. Stand up and keep your feet together
  2. Forward lunge: Take a big lunge forward with your right leg (3-4 feet) and drop down reaching backwards with your hands up
  3. Quickly push off your front leg so that you go right back to standing with your feet together again
  4. 45° lunge: Now lunge 45° to the right and with your hands up in the air, lean backwards to your planted leg
  5. Side lunge: Now step to the size keeping both of your feet in line, bend your right knee and lean to your planted leg to really stretch your adductors
  6. Repeat this four more times for your right leg then repeat with your left

Exercise 6. Hamstring Pulses

Repetitions: 5X on each leg

  1. Stand with one leg in front of the other, both toes pointing forwards
  2. Bend over your forward knee maintaining an anterior pelvic tilt
  3. Straighten your front leg whilst maintaining that anterior pelvic tilt
  4. Repeat four more pulses and then repeat on the opposite leg

Exercise 7. Hamstring Reaches

Repetitions: 5X on each leg

  1. Stand with one leg in front of the other with both feet straight and toes pointing forwards
  2. Keeping your front leg straight, reach forward with an anterior pelvic tilt until you can feel a good stretch on your hamstrings
  3. Repeat four more reaches and then repeat on the opposite leg

Exercise 8. Can Opener

Repetitions: 10X on each side

  1. Stand with your feet spread out wide
  2. Bring your arms up so that they are in line with your shoulders
  3. Rotate from side to side, lifting the heels of your feet off the ground as you go from side to side
  4. Complete 10 can openers on each side (20 in total) then…
  5. Rotate from up high to down low like you’re a baseball player throwing a ball down across your body
  6. Repeat this 10 times on both sides

Exercise 9. Dead Shoulder Circles

Repetitions: 10X on each side

  1. Stand up with a wide base and bend over at the waist
  2. Let your right arm hang and rotate it ten times in a circle (try to touch the floor but prevent yourself from actually touching it)
  3. Repeat with your other arm

Exercise 10. Ankle breakers

Repetitions: 5X on each side

  1. Stand up on both feet and put one leg out in front of you (2-3 feet)
  2. Slowly bend your back foot outwards like you’re rolling your ankle
  3. Hold the nice stretch you feel for 2 seconds and then come up
  4. Repeat five times on each side

Examples of Great Static Stretches

Yoga man stretching his glutes with a static stretch on the wooden floor

Important notes before attempting these stretches:

  • Only do these static stretches when your muscles are warm and mobile because then, and only then, will they have the elasticity to lengthen [1]
  • Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds because this is the best time to lengthen your muscle fibres. On the other hand, if you hold for too long you may risk injury [2]
  • All these examples have been taken from the most qualified physiotherapists on Youtube and are what I advise as a personal trainer

The Best Static Stretches From The Neck Down

Neck Stretch

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Neck stretch side to side

  1. Sitting/standing, pull your right shoulder down slightly by holding your chair (if sitting) or leg (if standing)
  2. Put your left hand on top of your hand and very slowly pull your head down to your left shoulder (avoid bringing your left shoulder up to your head)
  3. Pull until you can feel a slight stretch and hold this for thirty seconds
  4. Repeat on the other side

Neck stretch up and down

  1. Sitting/standing, place your hands on top of your head
  2. Very slowly pull your head down to your chest (keeping your chest up)
  3. Hold this for 15-30 seconds
  4. Raise your head up and put your hands back down to your side
  5. Look up as though you’re looking up at the sky
  6. Hold this for 15-30 seconds

Tricep Stretch

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  1. Stand in front of a wall/something sturdy like a tree
  2. Lift your left elbow up and pull your left lat down with your right hand across your body
  3. Walk up to the steady surface and put the backside of your elbow on it
  4. Lean in (pulling down on the lat) and hold this for 15-30 seconds
  5. Repeat on the other arm

Bicep Stretch

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  1. Straighten your elbow as far as you can
  2. Pronate your forearm and reach back behind your body and hold onto something horizontal in line with your lower chest (such as a barbell on a squat rack) so that your arm is in extension
  3. Squeeze your triceps
  4. Step away from the barbell slightly so that you can get a great stretch on your bicep
  5. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat on the other arm

Mid-Back & Rhomboid Stretch

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  1. Open a door with strong hinges and handles
  2. Put your left hand on the right door handle and your right hand on the left door handle
  3. Sink back so that your hands are out in front of you for maximum protraction
  4. Elevate your shoulders by breathing in, letting your but tuck under and lift your shoulders
  5. Hold for thirty seconds

Chest Stretch (Pectoral Major & Pectoral Minor)

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Pec Minor

  1. Stand to the left of a pole/edge of the wall
  2. Retract your scapular by pinching your shoulder blades together
  3. Put your right shoulder into the poll/wall so that your armpit is in line
  4. Raise your right arm up the pole, keeping your shoulder blades together
  5. Hold at the top for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the left side

Pec Major

  1. Stand to the left of a pole/edge of the wall
  2. Retract your scapular by pinching your shoulder blades together
  3. Put your right shoulder into the poll/wall so that your armpit is in line
  4. Lean into the stretch and hold it for 15-30 seconds

Shoulder Stretch

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Front Deltoid Stretch

  1. Put hands behind back
  2. Raise them up and at the same time stick your chest out
  3. Hold this for thirty seconds and repeat on the other arm

Middle Deltoid Stretch

  1. Put your hand behind your below and bring your arm across your body
  2. Pull that arm down
  3. Hold this for thirty seconds and repeat on the other arm

Rear Deltoid Stretch

  1. Put your hand behind your below and bring your arm across your body
  2. Lean forward slightly and then scoop your arm up
  3. Hold this for thirty seconds and repeat on the other arm

Rotator Cuff Stretch

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  1. Hold a golf club/broom handle behind your back like you’re carrying a rucksack
  2. Then, take your arm and position it at 90° with the golf club/broom handle behind you as though it is dissecting your bicep
  3. Grab onto the club/broom from underneath and pull your shoulder back into external rotation
  4. Hold this for thirty seconds and repeat on the other side
  5. Next, you need to stretch your rotators internally because what we do externally we must also do internally:
  6. Put the back of your hands (knuckle area) on the outside of your hips and move your elbows forward
  7. Squat down and put your elbows in-between your knees
  8. Drive the elbows in with your knees and hold this stretch for thirty seconds

Latissimus Dorsi Stretch

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  1. Hold onto something from up high with your left hand in a supinated position to increase the length of your lat
  2. Drop back as far as you can slowly so that your lower lat fibres are getting stretched
  3. Lastly, rotate your hips to the left and side bend for greater activation
  4. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat on both sides

Abdominal Stretch

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Rectus Abdominus 

  1. Take out a physioball and lye on it with your back
  2. Drop your hips off of the ball so that your back is the only part of your body on the ball
  3. Raise your arms back behind you and let your glutes sink down to separate the ribcage from the pelvis for a good stretch on your rectus abdominus
  4. Breath deeply and hold for thirty seconds

External obliques

  1. Lye with your obliques resting on the physioball
  2. Separate your ribcage from your pelvis by allowing your hips to sink
  3. Externally rotate your upper torso slightly until you feel a nice stretch on the obliques
  4. Breath deeply and hold for thirty seconds
  5. Repeat on the other side after you stretch the internal obliques…

Internal obliques

  1. Roll yourself around the ball from when you were stretching your external obliques
  2. Bend your shoulder down over the ball to get a deep internal oblique stretch

Forearm Stretch

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  1. Extend both arms out in front of you
  2. Pronate your forearms inwards
  3. Overlap your right forearm over your left forearm and interlace your fingers (connect them together like you’re walking with your other half)
  4. Pull your right hand down into flexion
  5. Hold for thirty seconds and repeat on the other forearm

Lower Back (Quadratus Laborium) Stretch

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  1. Sit on the floor with one leg 90° in front of you and the other 90° behind you
  2. Lean out to the side and keep your back knee on the floor to open up the Quadratus Laborium muscle
  3. To intensify even more, internally rotate your upper torso as your reach further
  4. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side

Lower Back (Disc) Stretch

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  1. Lye down on the front of your body with your hands just outside the shoulders like you’re about to do a push-up
  2. Put your feet together, contract (squeeze) your glutes
  3. Press up as far as you can go without your hips lifting off of the ground
  4. Hold it for 15-30 seconds

Hip Flexor Stretch Stretch

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  1. Grab a stick/mop/pole and drop down so that one knee is bent in front and the other is on the ground behind
  2. Open up your hip flexor by leaning in
  3. Then reach up towards the top of your stick and bend to the side so that you really open up your hip flexor
  4. Hold this for 15-30 seconds and switch to the other side

Quad Stretch:

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  1. Get on the ground and lay on your left side
  2. Hold your right leg with your hand so that it is completely bent and then bring your left leg up to your pelvis in order to intensify the stretch
  3. Hold this for 15-30 seconds and switch to your opposite leg

Glute Stretch

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Seated knee hug stretch

  1. Sit on the floor with your legs out straight and your torso up
  2. Bring your right leg over your right and hug your left knee (bring it into your body)
  3. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side

Hamstring Stretch

Watch this video first before attempting this hamstring stretch:

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  1. Stand against a wall and put your front foot up against it
  2. Lean into your foot whilst keeping your leg straight
  3. When your hands touch the wall, reach up so that your back arches (anteriorly rotates)
  4. Hold this stretch for 15-30 seconds and repeat on the other side

Calf Stretch

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  1. Stand facing a wall
  2. Place one foot in front of the wall so that you have one foot in front of the other (toes facing the wall)
  3. Put your hands on the wall to stabilise your body
  4. Lean into the wall
  5. Hold this for 15-30 seconds, then…
  6. Bend your back knee slightly so that you switch from stretching your gastrocnemius to your soleus
  7. Hold this for another 15-30 seconds
  8. Repeat both of these stretches on your opposite leg

Abductor Stretch

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  1. Sit on top of a pillow
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together in front of you
  3. When they are together, hold the top of your foot by your ankles
  4. Put your ankles on your knees to lower your knees down
  5. Hold this for 15-30 seconds

Should You do Static or Dynamic Stretches Before Physical Activity?

Dynamic stretching is for pre-workouts

Why do you do dynamic stretching before physical activity?

Dynamic stretching is important before a workout because it will help you work on the eccentric lengthening of the muscles.

This lengthening is where your joints will be able to move through their full range of motion [3].

Static stretching is where you hold the stretch.

It is best for post workouts because that is where you are able to interfere with your cross-bridging of the muscle fibres. Or in other words:

When you are static stretching you are increasing the length of the muscle which is not something you want to do before a workout.

Why?

Because you can interfere with the length-tension relationship inside of the muscle fibre.

This means that your mind is not feeling the muscles the way that it is used to feeling them (in the stored pattern of movement) which will prevent your mind and muscles from working together.

All smart fitness individuals or high-level athletes know about the importance of dynamic stretching prior to working out to ensure that injury is minimised and performance is enhanced.

Want to know why stretching itself is important?

Read our article on the importance of stretching here.

What and How Should You Stretch After Your Workout?

Static stretching is for post-workouts

Static stretching is the type of stretch that is held for a period of time (typically 15-30 seconds).

If you started static stretching before your workout when your muscles are cold this wouldn’t be good for you. Because…

Your muscle fibres are not loose and could be pulled too rigorously, therefore, causing a muscular strain/joint injury.

Stretching before your workout is like taking a rubber band out of the freezer and pulling on it.

The solution is to complete static stretches after your workout when warm because this is when your muscle fibres are elastic, like a rubber band at room temperature.

Note: Sometimes you don’t need to stretch at all as your problem may be a weakness rather than a tightness (especially when you’ve been stretching the same muscle continuously)

While you don’t have to stretch every muscle in your body after a workout, it is important to stretch the muscles that you have been working.

For example, if you’ve just had a leg strengthening workout, those muscles are going to be very tight the next day. So here’s the thing:

I’d recommend focusing your static stretching on the lower part of your body because this is where shortened muscles need lengthening.

Alternatively, if you do not have time after a workout to static stretch then a great time to do so it before bed. Why?

Because when you sleep your muscle fibres are being healed, rebuilt and therefore shortened.

So when you are able to lengthen your muscles before bed this is a perfect end to the muscles you worked that day and it can also help you lose weight.

Conclusion

There we are.

I hope that you have found these stretching examples helpful and are prepared for your next stretch.

The key steps of this article were:

  1. Do a full-body dynamic stretching routine before every workout
  2. Ensure your muscles are warm before you static stretch
  3. Static stretch after your workout or just before bed

Now it is time to turn it over to you:

What have you learnt from today’s guide?

Have you got a new static stretching routine sorted?

Or perhaps you have learnt that dynamic stretching is before a workout and static stretching is for after one?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below!

Also, don’t miss out on the best stretching and fitness content on our Instagram here.

Stay flexible!

Tihomir Stefanov
 

As a qualified personal trainer with sports academy certification, Tihomir Stefanov (Tisho) has helped over 100 people face to face, and thousands more online in their journey of a healthy body and mind. Tisho continues to study health relentlessly so that he can continue to deliver honest, objective, evidence-based information to all.