Stretching & Mobility

Be More Flexible

The sit-and-reach stretch isn't dead. In fact, here's why you should include it on your postworkout program.


The sit-and-reach test isn’t dead, people; it’s still a legitimate measure of hamstring and lower-back flexibility, and a stretch that should be included regularly in your program (preferably postworkout). That said, to get the most out of this classic calisthenic, here’s an easy tip: Point your toes. Researchers at Bloomsberg University in Pennsylvania compared stretching with pointed and flexed feet using EMG technology. They found that when feet were pointed (toes facing forward, not toward the ceiling), the semimembranosus (the most medial of the hamstring muscles), erector spinae (the muscles that extend the vertebrae) and gastrocnemius (the main calf muscle you see) were activated to a greater degree than when the feet were flexed. A pretty simple fix, and one we all wish we had known about back in grammar-school PE class.