To stretch or not to stretch? It’s easy to overlook when you only have an hour to get your workout in, but nixing the component from your routine could be hindering your fitness goals. When muscles become tight, you increase your risk of injury. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible and strong, and by maintaining full range of motion, you are able to perform exercises completely and safely.


Not sure where to start? Asphalt Green group exercise instructor Susana Picheny shares some of the best stretches to do before and after a workout.



Stretching before exercise fires up your joints and muscles, preparing your body for the work you are about to do. The focus is on active, dynamic stretches to increase blood circulation, power, and range of motion.


Lunge with a Twist

Muscles stretched: abdominals, glutes, quads, hips, hamstrings

Repetitions: 10 per leg

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step your right foot back into a lunge position, dropping your hips.

  • Keeping your knee in line with your left foot, twist to the right.

  • Twist back to center, and repeat with opposite leg.  

Leg Swings

Muscles stretched: hips and lower back

Repetitions: 10 per leg  

  • Hold on to a wall, chair, or barbell for balance

  • Lift the foot closest farthest the wall off the ground, and swing your leg forward and backward, maintaining control and keeping your leg straight.



Lateral Lunge

Muscles stretched: glutes, quads, hips, abs

Repetitions: 10 per leg

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Step to the side, extending your left leg.  
  • Bend your right knee, and put your weight into your right heel, pushing your hips back into a lunge position.  
  • Bring your left foot back to center, and repeat on the opposite side.



Thank your body for the work its done after a tough sweat session. Static stretching, holding your muscles in one position for a period of time, relaxes and lengthens your muscles and brings your heart rate down. Did we mention it feels great too?


Hamstring Stretch

Duration: Hold for 30 to 60 seconds

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended, feet flexed, and your lower back straight.
  • Inhale, lift your arms toward the ceiling, and reach forward to touch your toes without rounding your back.


Iliotibial Band Stretch (connective tissue that runs down the outside of your thigh, from your hip to lower knee)

Duration: Hold for 30 to 60 seconds on each side

  • Lie on your back.
  • Place a towel or band around your right foot and raise your leg toward the ceiling holding both ends of the towel in your left hand.

  • Inhale, and bring your leg across your body, keeping your knee straight and hips and shoulders grounded. You should feel the stretch on the outside of your leg. Repeat with your opposite leg.


Chest and Shoulder Stretch

Duration: Hold for 30 to 60 seconds

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Bring your arms out straight to chest height, and reach back, clasping your hands together. You may use a towel if you prefer. 

  • Bend forward at the waist, bringing your arms toward your head.

  • Release slowly, returning to standing position.



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