Stretching and Flexibility

Table of Contents:

Physiology of Stretching
Types of Stretching
How to Stretch
References on Stretching
Working Toward the Splits
Normal Ranges of Joint Motion
(The above chapter titles refer to linked webpages in this context.)


Physiology of Stretching: (next chapter)

This document is a modest attempt to compile a wealth of information in order to answer some frequently asked questions about stretching and flexibility. It is organized into chapters covering the following topics:

1. Physiology of Stretching
2. Flexibility
3. Types of Stretching
4. How to Stretch

Although each chapter may refer to sections in other chapters, it is not required that you read every chapter in the order presented.
It is important, however, that you read the disclaimer before reading any other sections of this document.

See section Disclaimer.

If you wish to skip around, numerous cross references are supplied in each section to help you find the concepts you may have missed.



I (Michael Billings) do not claim to be any kind of expert on stretching, anatomy, physiology, or any other biological science. I am merely attempting to compile information that I have read in books, the internet, or that has been presented to me by knowledgeable sources.

The techniques, ideas, and suggestions in this document are not intended as a substitute for proper medical advice! Consult your physician or health care professional before performing any new exercise or exercise technique, particularly if you are pregnant or nursing, or if you are elderly, or if you have any chronic or recurring conditions. Any application of the techniques, ideas, and suggestions in this document is at the reader's sole discretion and risk.

The author and publisher of this document and their employees make no warranty of any kind in regard to the content of this document, including, but not limited to, any implied warranties of merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose. The and publisher of this document and their employees are not liable or responsible to any person or entity for any errors contained in this document, or for any special, incidental, or consequential damage caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by the information contained in this document.

In other words: "I'm not a doctor, nor a sport physiologist!" I can not be held liable for any damages or injuries that you might suffer from somehow relying upon information in this document, no matter how awful. Not even if the information in question is incorrect or inaccurate. If you have any doubt (and even if you don't) you should always check with your doctor before trying any new exercise or exercise technique.


Other portions of this document rely heavily upon the information in the following books:

Sport Stretch, by Michael J. Alter  (referred to as M. Alter in the rest of this document)

Stretching Scientifically, by Tom Kurz (referred to as Kurz in the rest of this document)

SynerStretch For Total Body Flexibility, from Health For Life (referred to as SynerStretch in the rest of this document)

The Health For Life Training Advisor, also from Health For Life (referred to as HFLTA in the rest of this document)

Mobility Training for the Martial Arts, by Tony Gummerson (referred to as Gummerson in the rest of this document)

Further information on these books and others, is available near the end of this document.
See section References on Stretching.

About this Page

I am not any kind of medical or fitness professional I do have over 25 years of martial arts training and weight training. My primary "qualifications" for presenting this document are that I took considerable time and effort to read several books on the topic, and to combine the information that I read with the numerous teachers who have shared their experience with me over the years. This document is for all audiences and not specifically for any particular sport or art. I have also tried to leave out any of my own personal opinions or feelings and just state the facts as related by the real experts. If you have specific questions or comments about the content of one or more parts of the stretching document, please email them to me at However, please do not email me asking for any stretching advice!

I am an administrative law judge and professional martial artist. I simply am not qualified to dispense medical or fitness advice. You need to seek out a licensed/certified medical or fitness professional for that sort of thing. The information I have compiled here comes from various expert sources, and I certainly learned a lot when I researched the subject, but I'm not an expert myself.

Go to the next chapter.