Best Stretches to Improve Flexibility

Mar 17 / Stacey Nemour Flexibility Master /Martial Artist © Protected material for not reuse without direct permission

There is an overload of information on the best stretches for flexibility all over the net. Rest assured I am pulling from my three decades experience as an international flexibility coach to top athletes: from beginners to Olympians, professional dancers, Cirque Du Soleil performers, established actors, UFC champion Victor Belfort and Carlson Gracie Team and more! I have contributed over 30+ articles to the Huffington Post and many other publications. 

My intention is to eliminate all the confusion and misinformation around stretching and flexibility. Just showing stretches for flexibility without necessary details of how to implement them will not take you where you want to go.

Disclaimer: Speak to a professional for all your health needs and seek their counsel. Children need to be under adult supervision at all times. We disclaim all liability for any physical harm resulting from the information on this website. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. Stacey Nemour, Flexibility Makeover and/or associated affiliates will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustained because of this training series. By continuing to the program, you acknowledge that you have read this disclaimer and agreed.

How to Stretch to Increase Flexibility Correctly:

Below are game changing details of how to use the best stretches for flexibility. What makes my flexibility training system yield the measurable results I am known for is because the magic is in every single little detail.

*You can search the internet for the best stretches but, if they are not done in the correct sequence then the body may not be prepared for what you are asking it to do. There is a specific order that helps the body open faster and without pain. See How to get a Flexible Body at Home

*There is a certain way to breathe that is a game changer in being able to stretch further, deeper and can add much more power to your performance in dance, martial artists, and all sports.
*Using walls, the  Stacey Stretch Strap® and yoga blocks for support makes stretching and increasing range of motion a much more worth while

Do the Best Stretches for Flexibility in this Sequence:

The reason my system works is because the magic is in all my details, sequence, and highest use of breathwork. To maximize the results of these 5 stretches please follow all the details in my descriptions carefully:

1. Calf Stretch

To clear locked tight feet, calves, Achilles, hamstrings, and low back. To get into the hamstrings & lower back you need to stretch the foot back by flexing it. 

Hold the wall or something steady then put one foot on the block to hold it in place while placing the other foot on block to stretch foot back until heel is completely on the floor pulling the toes back away from block. (If you don’t have a block, use a low step) Lean into it until you feel the stretch activated and then go to the other side. Repeat as many times as needed. 
Calf, Achilles Stretch using Yoga Blocks
2. Chest Opener:

All you need is a doorway to open your chest, shoulders and improve posture. Relax shoulders down then bend arms in line with the shoulders and make sure that all fingers are together inside doorway including the thumb. Inhale deep through your nose and exhale out of the mouth as you allow the weight of your body to fall forward until you feel your heart and chest open. 
Stretch to open heart ,chest & shoulders

Photo credit: Angela Yap Healthy Living Mountain News

 3. Quad stretch:

Hold the wall or chair to balance. Then make sure your knee is in line with the knee of the supporting leg and not in front of knee. Then grab foot with hand and bring it towards bottom, while tucking hips under.

If it feels completely locked up drop it right back down to floor and immediately repeat until the quad starts to release and allow the foot to come up higher.

Use a stretch strap if it’s too difficult to grab with your hand.If you are having a difficult time, use the Stacey Stretch Strap to help pull leg up.
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Alternative using strap from "Flexibility @ Any Age" course

4. Hip, Back & Groin Opener:

Start by sitting on a chair then cross one leg over (keep the foot flexed to protect the knee) There are 3 stages to this stretch for beginner, intermediate & advanced

1. Sit up straight lace fingers together and push down on the top of the leg right under hip bone you will feel your low back getting elongated and hip open. (Never ever push directly on knee)

2. Do pray hands (make sure both elbows are not pushing on the knee) place elbows as far from knees as possible (to protect knees) take in a deep inhale through your nose and as you exhale through the mouth go forward leading with the chest.

3. For more advanced get chest down flat and then pull yourself in deeper by grabbing towards bottom of the chair
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5. Hip, Back & Hamstring Stretch:

Put your foot up on  chair, bench, or step stool. Make sure both feet are pointing straight ahead, and hips are square (meaning even both hip bones aligned evenly pointing straight ahead) Inhale through the nose as you exhale out of the mouth reach one hand toward floor and the other hand can be used by grabbing below the chair to pull yourself further down.
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Breathe is Energy:

I cannot stress enough the importance of breathing. In times of stress, fear, and anxiety our breathing becomes shallow. The issue is that often after the painful event has passed, we still can carry our mind, body, and breath pattern as if it is still happening.

This can keep us in flight or fight mode which depletes you on every level. The best way to get on track is to slow down and deepen your breathing when you inhale through your nose, feel your lower belly push out as it fills with air (oxygen) and allow a long exhale out of your mouth.

Now add the power of the mind by setting a clear intention to feel and see yourself exactly the way you wish to be calm, peaceful, joyful, feeling all your needs are met with deep love and appreciation that the old pain and wounds have come up to healed and now give yourself permission to release them. Let it all go.

 As you breathe deeply, you increase your energy levels and allow fresh oxygen and nutrients to be distributed to your cells. This helps the brain and organs function at an optimal level.
Are you asking what does this have to do with stretching? Everything! Because the same concept applies to breathing with intention to allow yourself to let go to enable the body to follow. What is held in the mind dictates instructions to the body. When you began a stretch first inhale deeply through the nose and take your breath to the bottom of spine hold it there for a few beats and mentally tell your low back to let go then exhale out of the mouth and extend it until it takes you to your next stretch destination.
Do not ever force or bounce- If you feel you have gone as far as you can stay in the stretch and start breathing and sinking on the exhale process or if it feels painful come right out of the stretch and repeat

Not sure which program to choose for your exact needs

How do I know if I am doing the stretch correctly?

It should feel like a deep moving massage as locked areas start to let go which enables you sink further into each stretch. When done properly you will experience a nice release happen where you previously felt locked up.

Just stretching on your own is not the best way to increase flexibility. Even if you stretch daily, you may be wondering why you feel stuck. There are countless outdated generic stretching routines out there and random people on YouTube showing stretches that will not bring you the solutions you are seeking. Very few utterly understand the art and science to legitimately increase flexibility.

Rhythmic gymnast flexibility training oversplits

Results during my private flexibility session via Skype with Rhythmic gymnast Anna

How long do I hold each stretch?

The body knows so it is best to tune into how each stretch feels and let that be your guide. Breakthroughs happen on the repeat-If the body is crazy tight in an area, switch sides and keep coming back. If stretch feels painful do not hold it long repeat that stretch by coming all the way out of it and going back in multiple times. 
Each time you repeat a stretch the body should allow you to sink deeper into it. Do not try to force it by violently bouncing or someone pushing you. This is an outdated method that is dangerous and counterproductive.

Get the full program to transform your flexibility!
What's your level? Flexibility Master Class Series

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"End Lack of Flexibility" Flexibility Makeover Course actress Michelle Greene

Setting up your own flexibility training sanctuary:

* All you need is an area with some clear wall space to support the body and keep the back out of it all.

* A Matt that protects back and knees from getting bruised

*At Least 2 Yoga Blocks

*1-2 Stacey Stretch Straps

*Stacey Posture Strap – if posture needs support

* A chair or step stool to help with balance

*Water bottle- hydration is necessary!
 Posture Corrector Stacey Posture Strap. How to Improve Posture
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