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GENERAL: When is the best time to do stretching exercises to improve flexibility?

The ability of your joints to move the way that they’re supposed to move is called flexibility. Long muscles and tendons allow you to have good flexibility. Stretching, using the types of static stretches and PNF stretches described in the text, is the best way to stretch muscles and tendons and improve flexibility.

The best time to do your stretching is when the muscles are warm. Many experts recommend that you do your stretching program after you have done a general warm-up or, even better, after you have been exercising for at least 10 minutes. Warm muscles stretch more easily than cold muscles, so your program will be more effective if you do your stretching after doing other exercise.

The warm-up before your exercise program is not the same thing as a stretching program or workout that you do as part of your total exercise program.

  • In a warm-up, you begin with a general total-body activity and then do a dynamic warm-up or stretching exercises.
  • As part of your total exercise program, you begin with exercise that gets your muscles warm, and you stretch afterward. For example, basketball players often do shooting drills, dribbling drills, and running drills before stretching.

Sometimes people do stretching exercises separately from other parts of their total exercise program. For example, they might stretch first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. If you choose to do this, you should do a good general warm-up before stretching.