Bob Greene’s Stretching Routine

If you skip stretching before your workout, why? Is it because you don’t have the time? Is it because you don’t think it’s all that important or valuable to your routine? Is it because you’re not exactly sure what to do?

First, let me say it is worth it. As we age, we lose flexibility and become much more prone to injury. A consistent stretching program will maintain and even improve your current level of flexibility. Time shouldn’t be an issue: You can get a good stretch in less than five minutes.

And if you’re not sure what to do, take a look at my stretching routine, which was featured in my book 20 Years Younger (I essentially follow level 3 of the fitness routine). Five times a week, I do the following moves:

Hamstring stretch

• Quadriceps stretch

• Upper calf stretch

• Lower calf stretch

• Middle and lower back stretch
Sit on a chair with your knees apart. Hold your arms out in front of you and stretch them forward while you gradually bend your torso forward, allowing your back to round out. Your arms may be between your knees and your hands should be touching the floor if possible. You should feel a gentle tension in your upper and/or middle back.

Hold each stretch for five seconds then relax for five seconds; repeat two more times. Remember to breathe through each stretch. And don’t forget: It’s best to stretch after you’ve done a warm up, like jogging in place or jumping rope.

The other two days of the week, I use a stretching apparatus—Precor’s 240i Stretch Trainer. They have a wonderful illustrated stretching routine right on the apparatus. If you can afford your own or you have access to one at your gym or fitness center, I highly recommend it. It has added a deep stretch quality to my routine.

What does your stretching routine look like?

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About Bob Greene

Bob is an exercise physiologist and certified personal trainer specializing in fitness, metabolism and weight loss and the driving force behind The Best Life. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Arizona and is a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. For 30 years, he has worked with clients and consulted on the design and management of fitness, spa, and sports medicine programs.

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  • NetFitnessNerd

    I have been using the Precor Stretch Trainer for a few years, starting when I came across it at L.A. Fitness in Fort Worth, TX.

    After 40 minutes of leg routines including a parallel squat pyramid, I start a two set cycle of back stretching on the 240i and then follow with the leg stretches described on the placard. Total time is about 15 minutes. I conclude with hanging stretches from a pull-up bar.

    My lower back used to always stiffen after a hard back and glute workout, likely due to years at a desk. It is much better now.