Best Stretches for Non-Stretchers

Post-workout stretches have become a meme.  These oft overlooked parts of your workout routine are great ways to give you a more attractive posture, improve your durability, and help you to avoid chronic aches and pains.

And for those people who lift weights, spending time stretching might help you achieve a more muscular butt!

Note:  None of this is prescriptive to your needs as I do not know you.  Not all of these stretches are good for all individuals.  Rather, this is a subset of stretches I’ve found to be helpful for most people in a lot of different circumstances.  As with anything, don’t do it if it is painful.

Problem Areas

Rounded upper back and shoulders, lower back pain, tight hips, tight hamstrings, and so on!  How do you know if you have these problems?  Let me answer that question by asking you a couple questions:

Do you drive a car?  Do you work at a computer?  Do you find yourself getting lost in your cell phone?

Hell, I’m sitting at the computer with a rounded upper back as I type this thing out!

These are unattractive postures, and more importantly, can cause you pain and problems in your daily life.

The Protocol

How Often?

Spend as many sessions per week doing these as you can.  Daily is great.  Every other day is good.  Every once in a while… not so much but better than nothing, I guess.

How Much Time?

The minimum amount of time you should spend in each of these positions [stretches] is 60 seconds.  If you can spend more time there, spend more time there as you will find you will get more out of it if you do (to a point).


Seriously… breathe.  Do not hold your breath.  A lot of these things are contingent upon your ability to relax.  Again, you will get more out of these if you can relax and breathe.

Post Workout

There has been debate regarding the merit of stretching before you workout.  For me, it depends on the population of people we are talking about.  However, you should be stretching when you’re done.  This is a great time to make physical changes in the right direction!

Order of Operations

Believe it or not, there is an order of operations for how you should be stretching:

  1. Foam Rolling
    • This could be on a tennis ball, lacrosse ball, foam roller, or in our case a PVC pipe or barbell
  2. Static Stretching
    • This is going to be where you are holding a certain stretch (or position) for a certain amount of time

There are other forms of stretching, to be sure, but you can easily employ these two and [more specifically] in this order.

How to Employ Your Stretches

Before you go about adding each and every one of these stretches to your routine (which could take 10 minutes up to 30 minutes), here are two rules of engagement that I use to make it a routine you can stick to:

  1. Do not add too many stretches at once.  Not that you cannot do that but the more time you know you need to take, the less likely you’ll use them
    • Pick 1 or 2 and go for it
  2. Spend the minimum amount of time.  For now, hit 1 minute in each stretch (on each side if it calls for it) and that’s it
    • Again, if you know you have a 20 minute routine to follow, how likely are you to dive in?

Something that works for me… I will use my son’s table, set up my laptop on it, set my timer and stretch while I’m working.  I get a good 30+ minutes of stretching using this method.  The timer helps me to hit 3 minutes in each position (on each side).

The Stretches

To Fight Rounded Shoulders & Upper Back

Utilize the doorway stretch on this one.  This one is good because you don’t need anything fancy.  You just need a wall or a doorway.  One notable thing:  you can perform this stretch with one arm at a time or with both arms at the same time.

Tight Hip Flexors Or Lower Back Pain

Take your sweet time getting into, and then out of, the lizard stretch.  Breathe, stay “tall,” and relax what you’re stretching.  If you sit a lot, this one’s for you.  Don’t just pop out of the stretch when you’re done… take your time.

Knees & Hip Flexors

Here is our first self-myofascial release (aka rolling).  Grab a foam roller, a PVC, a barbell, or whatever you use to roll and plant it just above your knees just like THIS video.  Then, find a spot that hurts, stop on it, and breathe.

Feeling spicy?  While you’re stopped on that spot, flex and extend your knee like you’re doing hamstring curls and leg extensions.  And remember, breathe.


Can’t touch your toes?  Check THIS stretch out!  I’ve already said it but I’m going to say it again, breathe and relax in your stretchy positions.

Your Butt

Much like your hamstrings and your hip flexors, if you sit a lot, THIS stretch will be another great one for you to employ.

Take Action

You don’t have to wait until you’re in pain, until you’re super stiff, or until your workout performance suffers to take the initiative.  If you know you spend a lot of time in a less than attractive posture, pick one or two of these stretches to do daily and have at it.

You might find you get relief in a short amount of time.  You might find you need to be consistent for a while to get there.  Either way, these are great options for improving your posture and improving your workouts and daily life.

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