The term ‘stretching’ is all about elongating your muscles after exercise. It is a gentle way to stretch a muscle group in order to maintain or increase suppleness. Certain muscle groups tend to shorten as a result of training, increasing susceptibility to injury. Reduced flexibility is one of the causes of tendon and muscle damage. A lack of suppleness can also hinder movement. But stretching brings the length back to our muscles. Stretching can be used for 3 reasons: muscle relaxation, injury prevention or in the context of rehabilitation.
Within the warm-up and cool-down, stretching exercises are not used as suppleness training as such. In other words, the stretches are not specifically designed to increase suppleness. The exercises, however, do ensure that the tension in the muscles reduces, resulting in better circulation, more supple muscles and better coordinated movement.
As a general guideline, you should maintain the exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 20 seconds and then repeat twice more on each side. Alternatively, your can stretch your other arm/leg during the rest period; this means working alternate sides without a rest period in between.