The optimum duration of stretching is 15 to 30 seconds is sufficient for increasing flexibility.

During the period of 15 to 30 seconds, the greatest change in the range of motion during a static stretch can be achieved.

The effect of changes in the flexibility is minimal after exceeding 30seconds of hold.

A study done by Dr. William Bandy, a Professor with tenure in the Department of Physical Therapy and a licensed physical therapist concluded that 30-second duration is an effective amount of time to sustain a muscle stretch in order to increase range of motion.

No increase in flexibility occurred when the duration of stretching was increased from 30 to 60 seconds or when the frequency of stretching was increased from one to three times per day.

Essentials of Stretching
  1. Don’t consider stretching a warm-up

You may hurt yourself if you stretch cold muscles. Start with a low intensity exercise such as slow jog or walking for 5 to 10 minutes before stretching.

  1. Focus on having equal flexibility on both sides.

Flexibility that is not equal on both sides may be a risk factor for injury. Aim to have a same flexibility on both sides rather than striving for the flexibility of a dancer or gymnast.

  1. Stretch the major muscle groups

Stretch the major muscle group such as neck, shoulder, low back, thigh, hips and calf. Always remember to stretch both side.

  1. Don’t go for ‘no pain no gain’

You should feel tension at the muscle you are stretching. You will start to feel pain if you push too far.

  1. Know when to stop

You should not stretch if you strain a muscle. Stretching may cause further harm.

Article by

Khaw Wei Dong

Physiotherapist of Your Physio Penang

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