What are the best stretching exercises for men? It depends on the muscle or muscle group you are working at that time. We have compiled a complete guide to all the best stretching exercises for men and included them below.
I recommend repeatedly working with a few exercises you like to see improvement. However, switch up occasionally because you will get different benefits from different stretches.
We broke down the stretches into different muscle groups; however, some overlap into other groups. Most sections are a brief outline but include a link to a more detailed article about each.
How to Relieve Sore Muscles From a Workout?
Have you ever found yourself thinking, “How do I relieve sore muscles from working out?” Well, you wouldn’t be alone if you had. Most of us have sore muscles after a workout and want to stretch them out.
But did you know that if you integrated full-body stretch into your workout in the form of a pre-workout and post-workout routine, you’d never have to face this issue? So today, we’re giving you all the information you’ll ever need about stretching all the right muscles in your body.
This guide has everything from why stretching is essential, how it helps your muscles, and what it does for the rest of your body to all the different muscles you should be targeting and potential injuries you may face. Read on the find the best stretching exercises for men.
What Stretching Does to Your Muscles
You already know that stretching is great for your body. And if you’ve ever done a full-body stretch, you have probably noticed a notable difference in how you feel. However, very few people look into the science of how you get this benefit. So we’re going over it today.
Stretching keeps your muscles flexible, healthy, and strong. Without it, they shorten and become tight. So if you try to exercise without stretching, your muscles can not rise to the occasion. They remain weak and fail to extend all the way, which comes in the form of you getting the most out of any particular routine.
You should know that stretching once won’t magically give you perfect flexibility. You have to commit to the process and continue exercising for a while before you see results.
Benefits of Stretching Your Muscles
Now that you have a general idea of how stretching is beneficial for you, let’s go over the specific benefits of this activity. There are three main benefits men get from stretching exercises for men.
1. Increases Flexibility
Improving your flexibility will increase your range of motion for your workouts. A better range of motion will allow you to get deeper movements during your training. Increasing your flexibility will also limit injuries caused by working underactive muscles, equally injuries caused by working out overtight muscles.
You will experience less post-workout pain when you improve your flexibility. I’ve found other benefits of increased flexibility are improved alignment, posture, and better balance.
2. Increases Range Of Motion
Another great use of stretching your muscles increases your range of motion. Being able to move a joint through its full range of motion gives you more freedom of mobility.
Once you start including static and dynamic stretches in your daily fitness routine, you’ll be able to turn and twist way more than before. An increased range of motion combined with stronger muscles will limit injuries and reduce recovery time for most injuries.
3. Relieves Stress
You will notice that your muscles tense up whenever you’re stressed. This tensing is a physical response to your emotional trauma. Do stretches for your upper back, shoulders, and neck, and you’ll see an immediate change in your mental state.
I’ve found that stretching with added deep breathing can relax your mind. It’s a great way to unwind after a busy day.
Can Stretching Make You Taller?
The short answer is no; stretching can not make you taller. Stretching will strengthen and stretch your muscles but not make you physically taller.
However, there is a longer explanation that involves appearing tall. While stretching doesn’t make you biologically taller, it can make you seem taller by improving posture.
Your height depends on the structure of your bones. Stretching targets your muscles and doesn’t do much for your bones. So if you’re 5’4, you’re always going to be 5’4.
However, you relieve tension from overly tight muscles by stretching. Relieving that tension means you stand up straighter and walk taller. Slouching cuts a few inches from everyone’s height.
You can get them back by stretching regularly. As a result, you will feel and look taller even though your height hasn’t changed.
Stretching before a workout is crucial because it prepares your muscles for intense training. Once you warm up and increase your heart rate and blood flow to your muscles, you should make your way through a routine of static and dynamic stretches.
Exercising without warming up and stretching can be counterproductive. You can end up hurting yourself or worse without benefiting from the exercise. In addition, if you don’t stretch first, your muscles won’t be prepared for the workout correctly, and you won’t see results for at least a month.
On the other hand, if you stretch before working out, you’ll cut that timeline down by half. You will see the result of your exercise in two weeks.
Tearing a muscle means being incapacitated for a few days at best or a few weeks at worst. Both are bad situations because you will not be able to exercise. Moreover, if you don’t stretch, you might hurt your muscles because they will be tight.
Therefore, the wisest decision is always to warm up and stretch before working out.
The best basic stretches are the child’s pose, cat-cow, and donkey kick. Each one targets a different part of your body and engages a series of muscles. They are the ideal way of starting your pre-workout stretch.
After these three stretches, you should move on to specific stretches for the part of the body you’re going to exercise. For instance, if it’s arm day, doing a combination of standing bicep stretches horizontal arm extensions is the best way to go.
Don’t worry if you don’t know how to do these stretches. We have a detailed article explaining stretching before an arm, abs, glutes, or leg workout. Use it as a guide.
One of the most common muscles people pull is their hip flexors. These are a group of muscles near the top of your thighs. Luckily for you, it is super easy to relax, stretch, and strengthen your hip flexors.
The first two processes help minimize and remove pain, while the third ensures you don’t pull your hip flexors again. Stretching and relaxing your hip flexors is also great because it prepares your muscles and allows you to make the most out of your exercise.
Please read our article on stretching and strengthening your hip flexors for an excellent routine that incorporates all three elements and will keep your hip flexors in perfect shape.
Stretching is not meant to make you uncomfortable. However, if any stretch pushes you too far, you should modify it or remove it from your routine.
Suppose you can’t do mountain climbers for 30 seconds. Maybe you might only be able to do 10 seconds or not even at all. Both are fine. As long as you continue to push yourself and strive to get to the point where you can continue for 30 seconds, you’ll be alright.
The same applies to static stretches like the pigeon pose. If you can’t do an intense stretch, it is okay. However, don’t push too far, or you’ll hurt yourself. Nobody wants that.
Warming up your glutes and hamstrings is a super important part of exercising correctly. Your glutes and hamstrings are impacted by almost every workout, running, working out in a gym, or exercising at home.
Say you’re doing an ab day. You might choose to do mountain climbers and planks. Both put pressure on your glutes and hamstrings. Similarly, if you’re doing an arm day and do push-ups or burpees, you’re going to work out your glutes and hamstrings as well.
So we recommend a full-body stretch before any intense workout, and glutes are a part of that. There are three essential aspects of warming up your glutes: your glutes, buttocks, and groin. We go over each in a lot of detail in our article on warming up glutes and hamstrings. So you can read that if you want to learn more about them.
A great thing about these stretches is that you have options for stretching your glutes and hamstrings while standing and sitting. So if you can’t stand for health reasons or spend a lot of time sitting on a chair and would like to stretch while sitting, you can do that easily. There are details for this in the glutes and hamstrings specific article.
If you go running, your entire body stretch will look a little different than if you’re working out in a gym. In this situation, the best whole body stretches will put a little extra focus on the calf muscles and foot stretches. So you do stretch your hip flexors, glutes, and hamstring muscles as usual but spend less time on them. Instead, focus that energy on calf and foot stretches.
Anyone who runs regularly knows how excruciating leg cramps can be. The easiest way to prevent them is by putting a little thought and effort into finding the best body stretches for your warm-up routine.
We’ve compiled a list of the best foot stretches in an article dedicated to stretching exercises for running. It’s an excellent read for anyone who runs regularly or wants to start running regularly.
Runner’s knee isn’t specifically an injury that affects runners but is common among them. It involves the muscles around your knees. Runner’s knee is commonly caused by overuse to weak and unbalanced thigh muscles.
It would be best if you kept an eye out for several symptoms and signs of Runner’s Knee. First, you’ll notice pain in the front of your kneecap or a bit behind and around it. Second, this pain will increase when you bend your knee to run or walk. It could even hurt to stand up from a chair.
Lastly, walking downstairs or downhill will increase the pain around your knee. The area around your knee might swell up, or you might have a grinding feeling in the knee as well. If you have these signs, go to a doctor. They will do an x-ray and a physical exam.
Once diagnosed, you can consult our article on stretching exercises for running and find the best body stretches to heal from the runner’s knee.
A full-body stretch would be incomplete without stretching your knees. Our knees are often quite tense, and stretching the muscles around the main joint in your knee can go a long way in improving this.
Stretching exercises that strengthen knee muscles are typically high intensity. These include hamstring curls and squats. However, both put a lot of pressure on your thighs and legs. So they can be a little challenging to do in long sets when you’re starting. You can find more examples in our article on stretching exercises for knee pain.
Therefore, we’d recommend starting slow and then building up the intensity. If your knee hurts, there can be quite a few reasons for this pain. Getting the correct diagnosis is super essential in healing.
There are a lot of muscles behind your knees. We have detailed and included a diagram of all the muscles in our article on knee pain. In summary, you could have a runner’s knee or have pulled one of the muscles near your knee joint.
We’ve already gone over how to treat a runner’s knee. However, if you have pulled one of the other muscles near your knee joint, you should include a combination of lunging hip flexors, leg extensions, hamstring curls, calf raises, and half squats in your routine full-body stretch.
Start with getting rid of tight quad muscles first. High-intensity bodyweight workouts typically exercise the quadriceps muscles in your legs. Hence, any full-body stretch should logically include targeting your quads.
You can find specifics for what static and dynamic stretches we recommend for stretching before your workout. They can tighten very quickly if you are under stress or haven’t stretched them in a few days. Also, warming them up is very important since you’ll put a lot of pressure on them during your workout.
A simple calf and hamstring stretch will get the job done. Once you stretch your quadriceps, you can focus your energy on the calves and hamstring muscles. These muscles are also found in your legs and can lead to excruciating cramps.
If you have quadriceps tendonitis, your entire body stretch will change slightly. This is why you’ll need to put extra focus on stretching your hamstrings, quads, and hips in your overall stretch to hasten your recovery.
Lower back pain can be a considerable nuisance. It interferes with almost all day-to-day functioning by coming in the way of your physical well-being. You can’t sit, sleep, or stand without feeling it. What’s more, it comes with a substantial mental toll because you’re constantly thinking about it.
The stress of sitting at a particular angle or not putting too much pressure on some specific part of your back can be super annoying. That is why we have included lower back stretches in this guide to the best stretching exercises for men.
Integrating lower back stretches not only alleviates this pain but makes sure you don’t get it anymore. It would be best if you started with some basic back stretches. These include static stretches like the child’s pose and knee to chest stretch.
If you include the child’s pose at some other point in your entire body stretch routine, you don’t have to repeat it here.
Some people have pinched nerves in their lower back. If that sounds like you, you should add a lumbar rotation to your routine as well. In case you don’t know how to perform any of these stretching exercises, consult our article on stretching out the lower back, and you’ll find details for everything we’re mentioning here.
The article also has tips on standing up with lower back pain. Once you start stretching, you’ll need to continue consistently for a couple of weeks before the pain goes away. Until then, these tips should help make it bearable.
After working on your lower back, the next step in your entire body stretch should be your rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Stretching these muscles prepares you for exercises targeting your arms and shoulders while increasing your range of motion.
There are standard stretches that include shoulder raises and shoulder rolls. Both loosen tight tendons and open up your chest and shoulders. Then you have the dynamic stretches like arm circles that warm up the rotator cuff.
If you want higher intensity stretches, you should include a resistance band in your whole body stretch. You should consult a physical therapist to determine which resistance band would be ideal for you. There are different resistances, and you can’t figure out the proper resistance for you.
Two of the best stretches for rotator cuffs that use resistance bands are external shoulder rotations and resisted shoulder extensions.
Please read our article on stretches and exercises for rotator cuff for more details on these stretches and how to cope with a damaged rotator cuff. If you injure this group of muscles, you should watch several things.
Firstly, you should avoid intense stretches because it could further damage this group of muscles. Second, you should sign up for physical therapy and avoid putting too much strain on your rotator cuff. Doing these things, along with the other tips in our stretches and exercises for the rotator cuff article, will speed up your recovery.
Tennis elbow is a painful injury of the tendons in your elbow. It usually happens if you put too much load on your elbows or overuse them. So any repetitive motions can cause tennis elbow. The most common example is playing tennis, but there are several other examples.
Irrespective of how you got the injury, you can use the same stretches to heal from it. Start with finger stretches, grips, and wrist curls. Read our article on stretches and exercises for tennis elbow for details on these stretches if you don’t know how to perform them.
Tennis elbow is not easy to manage. It is a nuisance for most people, but you have to do it to heal correctly. Unfortunately, having tennis elbow will impact your workout routine. You should remove our elbow flexor exercises, wrist exercises, straight arm exercises, and repetitive lifting exercises from consideration.
Put on your elbow band. Use the instructions in the manufacturer’s guide or use our tutorial in the article on tennis elbow. Then strengthen your tennis elbow by including stretching exercises like supination with a dumbbell and wrist extensions in your entire body stretch.
After thorough research, we’ve curated the perfect cool-down routine. After an intense workout, you should do a combination of light jogging, walking, upper body stretch, forward bend, etc. There are quite a few stretches that are great for this purpose.
Now that you have everything you need to know about the best stretching exercises for men pre-workout, it’s time to discuss why you need to stretch after a workout. The pre-workout stretch is part of your warm-up, whereas the latter is part of your cool-down. Stretches during warm-up and Cool-down are equally essential and shouldn’t be skipped.
The cool-down stretches are essential because they allow your body to transition into a resting or near-resting state gradually. Since you have to build down the intensity, your cool down depends entirely on the nature of your workout.
Full-Body Stretch Routine for Flexibility
It is wise to put a few of these stretching exercises for men into a routine. Be sure to group them in a way that will create a full-body stretch routine, including stretches for each muscle group.
If you create the pre-planned routine ahead of time, I’ve found that you are more likely to stick to it.
Tips to Create A Full-Body Stretch Routine for Flexibility
Keep it short and sweet. Try to pick only a couple of stretches that will target several muscle groups at once. You will want to spend a few minutes in each stretch to get the best outcome.
You will want to switch up your stretching exercises, so your workout does not get boring. So, if you create two different routines, you can switch every week. That will keep your workouts fresh and exciting. While also doing the stretch enough to get better and feel the progress.
To Conclude, The Best Stretching Exercises for Men
A full-body stretch is vital before and after your workout. Both pre-workout and post-workout stretching routines should include a combination of static and dynamic stretches to get the best results.
The best stretching exercises for men will target all the important muscles in your body and get everything loose and ready for a workout. Use this guide to the best stretching exercises for men as a trainer to start your fitness journey.