The following guidelines and precautions should be incorporated into a sound stretching routine program to improve flexibility :
1) Warm up using a slow jog or fast walk before stretching vigorously.
2) To improve flexibility, the muscle must be overloaded or stretched beyond its normal range but not to the point of pain.
3) Stretch only to the point where you feel tightness or resistance to stretch or perhaps some discomfort, but all types of stretching should not be painful.
4) Increases in range of motion will be specific to whatever joint is being stretched.
5) Exercise caution when stretching muscles that surround painful joints. Pain is an indication that something is wrong and should not be ignored.
6) Avoid overstretching the ligaments and Capsules that surround joints.
7) Exercise caution when stretching the low back and neck, spine stretches and exercises that compress their disks may cause damage.
8) The types of stretching from a seated position rather than a standing position takes stress off the low back and decreases the chances of back injury.
9) Stretch those muscles that are tight and inflexible, then strengthen and condition those muscles that are weak and loose, and always stretch slowly and with control.
10) Be sure to continue normal breathing during the types of stretching, and do not hold your breath.
11) Static and PNF stretching techniques are most often recommended for individuals who want to improve the flexibility of their range of motion, and Ballistic stretching techniques should be done only by those who are already flexible or are accustomed to the types of stretching and done only after static stretching.
12) Stretching should be done at least three times per week to improve flexibility. It is recommended that you stretch five or six times per week to see maximum results.