Static stretching is done when the body is at rest, rather than after the muscles have had an opportunity to warm up through use. Static stretches have been used historically among athletes preparing for athletic activities, though they can be done by anyone, usually without any specialized equipment. A person can perform static stretches by positioning muscles into stretched positions and holding them there for 30 seconds to two minutes, allowing the muscles to stretch more and more over time without becoming injured. The benefits of static stretches include the ability to train the muscles to stretch farther over time and prepare them for intense physical activity.
The legs and arms are the most commonly stretched parts of the body, and several static stretches can be done to focus on the different muscles in each area of the body. Many people start a routine of static stretches by leaning forward at the waist and touching their toes. This should be done with the knees slightly bent. It is important to keep from over-stretching: if the person cannot reach his or her toes, he or she should not force the stretch beyond normal means until the body becomes used to the motion. Bobbing up and down is also inadvisable; the stretch should be done slowly and consistently.
Sitting static stretches can be done while sitting on the ground and extending the legs in different ways. A person can sit on the ground with his or her legs extended in a V, and he can then reach toward the toes to stretch the hamstring and other muscles of the leg. Folding one leg over the other straight leg and twisting the upper body against the folded leg is a good way to stretch the muscles of the back as well as the hips and hamstrings.
Other static stretches are done by placing the arms or legs against a fixed object such as the corner of a wall or a post. The wall or post will provide resistance as the person pushes against it or pulls from it. One common stretch using such an exercise is to place the forearm against the post. The person can then step forward against the resistance of the post to stretch the muscles in the arm, shoulder, and chest. Placing the toes of one foot against the wall while tilted upwards and then stepping toward the wall will stretch the calves and other muscles in the lower legs.