So I decided to test drive a bunch of stretching apps to see if there were any that would actually make me want to stick with a consistent stretching routine. Turns out, there are four that I can really get behind and recommend.
Best overall: StretchIt
As a competitive athlete, StretchIt was my favorite stretching app because it takes the flexibility aspect of fitness and makes it goal-oriented. You choose your personal goals and then the app creates specific workouts and challenges for you based on those targets.
I think that one of my hang ups with getting myself to consistently stretch is that I often overlook the value of stretching and I don’t see a lot of progress with it. By having to identify certain aims, and then feeling like I have a personalized routine tailored to me, I felt more motivated to actually do the stretching routines in this app.
After each stretching class or workout, you can rate how the stretches felt and this information is used to help personalize the next suggested stretching workouts and challenges. (You can even upload progress pictures to the app to keep track of improvements in your flexibility.)
- Price: $19.99 per month or $160 per year after the free trial
- Average customer review: 4.8 stars
- Pros: personalized routines, user-friendly interface, allows you to track progress
- Cons: expensive
Best for beginners: Stretch & Flexibility at Home
If you just want to learn the basics of stretching, I’d recommend the Stretch & Flexibility at Home app. There is both voice and video guidance for all of the stretches, which makes it super helpful for learning how to stretch specific muscles. (Though to be honest, the audio instructions are a bit creepy because the voice is computer-generated.)
Another great feature of this stretching app is that there are specific routines based on your needs. For example, you can choose warm-up stretches, stretches to improve flexibility, stretches to help you relax before bed, or stretches for specific muscle groups that feel tight. This customization is a nice feature for anyone who just wants to get right down to the exact stretches they have the time and need for without a lot of filler. For instance, as a runner, I particularly liked that there are stretching workouts designed for cooling down after a run or loosening up tight muscles from running.
- Price: $4.99 per month after a free trial (a free version is also available)
- Average customer review: 4.8 stars
- Pros: Video and voice-guided stretches, focused routines, reasonable price
- Cons: The free version is pretty barebones, voiceovers are computer-generated
Best free stretching app: Start Stretching
Many fitness apps can be costly if you want the premium features, but there are some decent free stretching apps. My pick for the best free stretching app is Start Stretching.
While there are in-app purchases if you want upgrades, you can access pretty much any of the stretching content you need without paying a penny. Plus, if you don’t have much time or interest in stretching, almost all of the stretching exercises are quite short and you still feel like you are accomplishing something.
That said, if you are looking for advanced flexibility exercises, this might not be an appropriate stretching app for you. The library is limited and most of the stretches are fairly basic.
On the other hand, if you’re an absolute beginner who needs a little more instruction on how to stretch correctly, this might not be the best introduction since there are no videos, just illustrations. Perhaps once you learn some of the best stretches from other apps, you can cancel a premium subscription and then use this free stretching app to keep working towards your stretching goals.
- Price: Free with optional in-app purchases
- Average customer review: 4.9 stars
- Pros: Free, beginner-friendly stretches, short routines
- Cons: Limited library, no video or audio (only illustrations)
Best for stretching enthusiasts: Pliability
The Pliability stretching app (formerly called ROMWOD, which stood for range of motion workout of the day) is somewhat unique. It was created specifically for athletes to improve flexibility, and is particularly popular among CrossFit enthusiasts.
Most of the stretching workouts are fairly lengthy, which can be good or bad, depending on your interest in stretching and how much time you want to devote to stretching workouts.
For me personally, I liked the emphasis on mobility as well as flexibility, because I feel like mobility is equally, if not more important, than flexibility for my own needs as an athlete, as well as for everyday functional movement for most people.
You can focus on a specific body part or flexibility goal every day, and there are thorough videos that walk you through the stretches. That said, this is a stretching app for athletes and CrossFitters so it is a little bit more advanced and the video tutorials might be complicated for someone with a limited understanding of body parts and fitness in general.
For me, because most of the stretching workouts in this app are 15 to 20 minutes long, I felt a little intimidated or unmotivated to use the app since I don’t always have that much time to devote to stretching. (Though to be fair, that might just say something about my priorities.)
- Price: $13.99 per month
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 stars
- Pros: Combines mobility and flexibility, thorough videos
- Cons: Not beginner-friendly, long workouts, on the pricier side
Verdict: What is the best app for stretching and flexibility?
Call me “basic,” but my recommendation for the best stretching app is StretchIt. It has an easy-to-use interface, and you can sort stretching workouts based on the amount of time you have, body part, goal, etc. I really love the challenges, which make me more inclined to actually use the app and stretch. Isn’t that the point?
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- Caldwell, Jacob T et al. “Preexercise intermittent passive stretching and vascular function after treadmill exercise.” Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985) vol. 135,4 (2023): 786-794. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00427.2023