Warm Up First
Do a light warm up prior to stretching to help prevent injuries and to maximize your stretch. Check out our 15 Minute Warm Up To Prevent Injuries for some ideas.Drink Plenty of Water
This should really be a no-brainer. You need water to be successful at any training you do, and that includes stretching. Skip out on the water, and you will pay very soon with all the cramping you will feel.
Take Your Time
When stretching, never bounce. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds, with 60 seconds being an optimal time for a stretch.Don't Go Nuts!
If you injure yourself with over-zealous stretching, you will never get real, consistent gains in your overall flexibility. When stretching, go far enough to feel the stretch and slight discomfort, but never so far that you feel pain. Go slowly and do not bounce. Remember to breathe and try not to tense up while holding the stretch.Rest Up and Remember To Eat
Just like with any muscular development, rest and proper nutrition is essential. You absolutely must give your body the fuel and time it needs to repair and strengthen the muscles.Stay consistent
It does you no good to stretch only when you get dared by your training buddies to kick a doorframe or ceiling fan. In order to improve your flexibility and keep it, without injuring yourself, is to stay consistent. You have to do at least some stretching every day. You can and should however, alternate your heavy stretching days and make sure you mix in some rest days in there. Example:
* Monday - Heavy stretching
* Tuesday - Rest day, only light stretching prior to other workout
* Wednesday - Heavy Stretching
* Thursday - Complete rest. The only stretching you should do is the big yawn you get when you get out of bed in the morning. Besides, don't you have other stuff to work on?
* Friday - Heavy Stretching
* Weekend - Take it easy, have some fun.