7 Best Stretching Exercises for Beginners to Improve Flexibility

Stretching exercises can enhance your overall flexibility. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)
Stretching exercises can enhance your overall flexibility. (Photo by Ketut Subiyanto via pexels)

Flexibility is not just important for athletes and gymnasts; it's important for everyone and for any healthy and active lifestyle. Various studies suggest that flexibility helps alleviate chronic pain, reduces chances of injury and also has a great impact on muscle and bone function. Additionally, flexiblity can also make everyday tasks easier and more convenient.

The good news is that stretching exercises can improve your flexibility, while also strengthening your muscles and reducing muscle tightness. Although stretching may not be exciting, it's very essential for a well-rounded fitness schedule. Incorporating stretching exercises into your workout routine can help reduce stiffness and make your workouts safer and more efficient.

So, if bending over or touching your toes seems like a challenging task, it might be the right time for you to start working on your flexibility.

Stretching Exercises to Improve Flexibility

Here's a look at seven such exercises:

1) Standing Hamstring Stretch

Standing hamstring stretch is one of the easiest stretching exercises you can do to improve your flexibility. This exercise stretches your neck, hamstring, back, calves and glutes.

To do it:

  • Stand tall with your feet at a hip-width distance. Keep your knees slightly bent and both your arms on your sides.
  • Slowly bend forward by hinging at your hips and lowering your head towards the ground. Make sure to keep your shoulders, neck and head relaxed.
  • Simultaneously, wrap your arms around your legs, or grab the back of your legs.
  • Bend your knees, and roll up back to the initial position.

2) Figure Four Stretch

This stretching exercise mainly works on the iliopsoas and piriformis muscles and also stretches your lower back and hamstrings. Due to the movement involved in this exercise, it's considered a gentle option that helps relieve knee and back pain, while also enhancing your overall flexibility.

To do it:

  • Lie on your back, and keep both your feet on the ground.
  • Cross your right foot over your left quad, and lift your left leg off the ground.
  • Hold the back of your left leg, and slowly pull it near your chest.
  • Hold the stretch for a few seconds; switch sides, and repeat.

3) Shoulder Cross-arm Stretch

The shoulder cross-arm stretch helps stretch the back of your shoulders and releases tension from your neck too.

To do it:

  • Stand straight with your legs at a hip distance.
  • Bring your left arm across your body, and bend your right arm at your elbow.
  • Bring your right firearm under your left arm, and support your left arm above your elbow.
  • Use your right arm to pull your left arm across your body, and feel the stretch in your shoulders and forearms.
  • Switch sides, and repeat.

4) Frog Stretch

The frog stretch basically stretches your inner thighs and hips and works directly on the tight spots in your groin muscles.

To do it:

  • Start on all your fours, and slide both your knees slightly wider than your shoulder width.
  • Keep your toes out, and rest your inner feet on the ground.
  • Slowly shift your hips towards your heels, and move your hands down to get a deeper stretch.
  • Hold for a few breaths. Relax.

5) Seated Neck Release

Stretching your neck is very crucial to improving your overall flexibility. Relieving tension in your neck and head can be beneficial for the rest of your body, especially your upper body.

To do it:

  • Stand straight, or sit with your back tall.
  • Move your right ear towards your right shoulder.
  • Press down your head with your right hand to deepen the stretch.
  • Hold, and switch sides.

6) Knee-to-chest Stretch

The knee-to-chest stretch improves flexibility in your lower back muscles and also works as a glute opener.

To do it:

  • Lie down on your back, and keep your heels on the floor.
  • Slowly bring both your feet towards your hips, and allow your knees to bend.
  • Hold your knees with your hands, and pull them towards your chest.
  • Hold for a few seconds, and release your legs on the floor.

7) Standing Quad Stretch

A quad stretch is one of the most effective lower body stretches that works great after running, cycling or a cardio workout session.

To do it:

  • Stand tall with your feet together.
  • Bend your right knee, and pull your right foot towards your butt using your right hand.
  • Hold for a few breaths, and relax.
  • Repeat the exercise on the other leg.


Flexibility has many health benefits. From improving muscle function and enhancing range of motion to preventing chronic pain and lowering the risk of injuries, it plays a crucial role in improving the quality of your life.

The aforementioned seven beginner-friendly stretches can help you become more flexible while also building your muscle strength.

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Edited by Bhargav