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How To Stretch: Common Stretching Mistakes -- And How To Fix Them

Despite being one of the most important aspects of working out, stretching is one of the least explained parts of an exercise regime.

Sure, there's yoga, which focuses almost exclusively on the practice, and there's that cool-down your spinning teacher races through at the end, but how can the solo exerciser best learn to ensure muscle recovery and less pain the next day?

In this week's How To, "posturologist" Paul Gagne demonstrates to's wellness and fitness expert Annick Robinson just which stretches will work best for your legs after a workout — and which you've been doing wrong every since seventh grade gym class.

The first move to go? That classic pose of bending over one straight leg and bending the other in order to stretch out your hamstring, which Gagne says is not one muscle, but instead, three separate muscles that must each be stretched on their own.

Besides helping with flexibility, stretching really can add more to your workout. As you stretch, it helps increase blood circulation within the body, unknotting tissue in areas of pain, says And according to Shape magazine, it can also counteract all those nasty hours of sitting we hear so much about by keeping your glutes active.

SEE: The biggest mistakes people make when stretching:

8 Stretching Mistakes
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