7 Best Stretches to Prevent Sports Injuries

After any sports activity, it is a must to stretch your body. (Photo by Nathan Cowley via pexels)
After any sports activity, it is a must to stretch your body. (Photo by Nathan Cowley via pexels)

Stretches are one of the most significant things you can do to prevent sports injuries. No matter the intensity of your exercise routine, it is a must to stretch before and after your workout session as it helps to loosen and lengthen your muscles and also helps you stay injury-free.

Various studies also suggest that proper stretches before and after performing any type of sport can lead to crucial benefits for athletes. Since there are several risks linked to sports participation, regular stretching can assist in enhancing joint movement, improve overall flexibility and lead to reduced chances of pain and injuries.

We’ve outlined some of the most effective stretches that everyone should do regularly before and after a workout. After all, your muscles and joints deserve all the care after training so hard.

Here are some of the best stretch exercises you can do to ease muscle pain and soreness and to prevent injuries:

1) Knees to chest stretch

This is an amazing stretch exercise that helps loosen up your back, quads and hamstrings.

  • Start by lying down on the floor or on an exercise mat on your back.
  • Keep your arms by your side.
  • Slowly allow your knees to bend in a way that your heels touch your butt.
  • Contract your knees in and bring them towards your chest. Wrap your arms simultaneously around your legs. As you do this, squeeze your arms and stretch your body as hard as you can.
  • Once done, release your arms and legs and bring them to the initial position.
  • Repeat this stretching exercise 5 to 8 times until you feel relaxed in your lower back area.

2) Cobra stretch

Cobra stretching is one of the best stretches to engage your chest, hip flexors, abdominal muscles, and mid-spine.

  • Lie down on an exercise mat with your face down and your hands directly underneath your shoulders.
  • Slowly extend your arms by stretching your upper body off the floor. Make sure to keep your pelvis close to the floor.
  • Hold the position for at least 20 seconds, and then rotate your head in a controlled manner in one direction for a few seconds.
  • Rotate your head in the opposite direction and again hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Lower your body to the floor and relax.

3) Butterfly stretch

The butterfly stretch is also called a hip opener stretch as it targets your flexor muscles located in front of your hips. The flexor muscles are responsible for rotating your hips.

  • Sit straight on the floor or use an exercise mat.
  • Put the soles of your feet together and pull them as close as you can to your groin.
  • Press your thighs with your palms and allow your knees to open and stretch. Do not press harder.
  • Hold the position for at least 30 seconds, relax and then repeat.

4) Glutes stretch

This stretch basically targets your buttock muscles and helps in extending and opening your hips.

  • Sit straight on an exercise mat. Keep both your legs stretched and extended straight in front of you.
  • Now put your right ankle over your left thigh and slowly press down on your right knee to feel the stretch.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds, relax and then switch legs.
  • Repeat the move on the other leg.

5) Leg swings/kicks

Leg swings or kicks help to stretch your lower body, especially your major leg muscles, including your calves and hamstrings.

  • Stand straight near a wall or a sturdy chair.
  • Hold onto a wall with your right hand and balance your body with your right foot.
  • Point your left toes straight forward and keep your foot relaxed.
  • Slowly start to swing your left leg forward from your hips. Do not move your upper body.
  • Face the other way round and repeat the same on the other leg.

6) Kneeling hip stretch

The kneeling hip stretch targets your hip flexor muscles and is an effective warm-up and cool-down exercise.

  • Take a half to kneeling position.
  • Keep your arms overhead while pushing your hips forward. Make sure to keep your thighs absolutely perpendicular to the ground.
  • Complete at least 10 to 12 overhead arm drives, and then reach over your left and right shoulder 10 times on each side.

7) Neck stretch

The neck stretch targets the front and back muscles of your neck and prevents it from causing pain and neck injuries.

  • Stand or sit with your head straight and your spine neutral.
  • Now start tilting your head to the left and use your right hand to slowly pull your head to your shoulders.
  • Hold the position for 20 seconds, and then tilt your head to the right and repeat using your left hand.


All the stretches explained above are some of the best ones that’ll help you prevent sports injuries and keep you strong and safe. When incorporated into your daily workout regimen, they can potentially help improve your range of motion, overall flexibility, and balance.

However, remember that these stretches don’t replace medical treatment, and thus you must always consult a doctor for medical advice and guidance.

Edited by Sabine Algur