What you need to know about stretching

Stretching incorrectly or overstretching can do more harm than good. Overdoing to the point of causing tears, hyper-mobility, instability and even permanent damage to the tendons, ligaments and muscle fiber.

Injuries from overstretching: When the muscles are warm, you may feel as if you are more flexible than you really are and go beyond your limits, putting stress on the tendons and ligaments. The more you continue to stretch your ligament in joint-heavy poses, the higher the risk of a tear or stretching them to the point of producing joint instability. Overstretched ligaments do not revert back to normal.


  • Do not stretch as a warm-up, prior to strength training or any other sport for example. Stretching loosens the tendons and ligaments and should be done after exercising when the muscles are warmed up
  • Don’t aim for the pain; if you are in pain, you are doing too much. Stretch to the point of feeling some tension and then hold the stretch for approximately 30 seconds
  • Avoid bouncing, keep a smooth tension throughout the entire stretch to avoid injuring the muscle
  • Incorporating some light and gentle movements to your stretches can increase sport specific range of motion. For example, if you were stretching for a karate class some Tai Chi or Qigong stretches may be a good idea
  • Use caution and adjust your stretches accordingly when stretching over injuries, in order not exacerbate and make the condition worse

Yoga can provide beneficial stretches when done with caution and avoiding competitive performance. Beginners should avoid strenuous poses and stay within the safety guidelines mentioned above.