yoga! 6,000 yrs old and still effective/practical for the modern age.
Try a beginner yoga dvd or class in your area. You can learn some yoga and do 10-20 or more routines on your own at home, in general or before or after other workouts.
I recommend beginner yoga dvd’s on this:
The key to increasing flexibility through yoga postures or strectching exercises is the amount of time you spend in each stretch. It takes roughly 30 seconds for the muscles to begin to release into a stretch. So, you need to hold those stretches for a minimum of 45 seconds, to start, building the holding time slowly. It’s okay to have a little discomfort, but you NEVER want to feel pain. Postural alignment is very important, because if you are in an incorrect position, you can create an imbalance in your body. A yoga teacher with good knowledge of alignment is a great help!
To me it sounds like your are asking, what are the most effective stretches.
In the world of exercise science four types of stretches are highlighted.
1. Static stretching
2. Dynamic stretching
3. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation
4. Slow movements that elicit a stretch.
All are effective means of stretching. It’s important to remember your goals and objectives in choosing which type of stretch you will utilize.
All the best!
Great answers. The research definitely suggests that are many different types of stretching exercises that can improve ROM about a given joint.
Joanne describes the 4 most commmonly used types. Yoga, Pilates, etc. employ one of more of these fout types.
One point the research clearly supports is that to improve ROM, stretch following a cardiovascular or strenght workout when the tempurature in the area of the targeted connective tissues will be slightly elevated.