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National Academy of Sports Medicine answeredFirst, it is important to know what to stretch and how to stretch. There are common muscles that are often tight in most people and athletes. These muscles include the calf musculature and the hips, and these areas are usually a good place to start. However, it is important to gain information about individual restrictions so that the plan of stretching coincides with muscles needing the most attention. Any imbalances, tight, or restricted structures can limit ability and athletic potential. Learning the correct way to stretch and how to progress the stretching routine is also very important for movement success. To stretch tight calves, stand facing a wall with the hands on the wall in front of the shoulders. Extend one leg back, keeping the knee and foot straight with the back heel pressed firmly into the ground. With the abs in, bend the arms and lean into the wall. The back leg gluteal and quadriceps should remain tight, and the heel should remain pressed onto the floor without the foot flattening. Hold for 20-30 seconds. To stretch the hips, stand with one leg bent and slightly forward. Internally rotate the back leg. This will look slightly pigeon toed at the foot. Tighten the abdominals and gluteals, and tuck your pelvis so that the pubic bone on the front rotates up. Slowly move the body forward until mild tension is felt at the front of the hip of the back leg. To progress this stretch, raise the arm on the same side of hip being stretched, and reach it up and over to the other side while keeping the pelvis position and gluteal tight. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Change legs, and repeat.