Stretching Apps and Stretching Programs help us keep our muscles supple and flexible and prepare us for the workout at hand. Stretching can prevent a lot of injury as well as maintaining or even regaining mobility. The importance of a good stretch before and after your workout, as well as on off days, can’t be stressed enough. Without stretching out the introduction for too long, here’s what we’ll do: we’ll explain the importance and benefits of stretching and how Stretching Apps can help you with that. Since we’ve used many Stretching Apps and Stretching Programs ourselves, we’ll also list the best Stretching Apps on a case-by-case basis and situational merit since not everyone will stretch with the same goals in mind.
What is Stretching and What are Stretching Apps?
Regular stretching improves your flexibility and the blood flow to your deeper muscle tissue. We humans are built to be walkers and marathon joggers. Humanity evolved on the treeless steppes of Africa, after all, and if we wanted anything to eat or drink it meant days of walking and jogging. We don’t do that anymore, not even the most active among us. That is why a good stretch is important, even if you’re not very physically active. We’d argue even that regular stretching is more important if you lead a sedentary life such as an office job.
For Calisthenics and all other sports, stretching takes on a very specific meaning too. Stretching before your workout or game prepares your muscles for physical activity. It helps prevent cramping and injury and a lack of stretching is one of the leading causes of injury. It can also help activate your full range of motion (ROM), allowing you not only to perform better but it will also increase the effectiveness of your exercises.
A Stretching App is an app on your mobile phone which guides you through a set of stretching exercises. It is a simple way to incorporate stretching into your daily routines; whether that be as standalone exercises or as a warmup for Calisthenics or any other sport. You download the Stretching App on your phone and you follow its Stretching Program.
Stretching App vs Stretching Program
The Stretching App is the software running on your phone, giving you the information, pictures and videos, et cetera, to do your stretching exercises. These stretching exercises and the pattern and order they follow are the Stretching Program. The two words have different meanings then, but every Stretching App contains a Stretching Program. You could follow a Stretching Program in some other form, like gleaning it from Calisthenics Books. For this article, we might differentiate between the app and the program at some points but when it comes to products, we’ll review Stretching Apps and one of the criteria by which we rate those apps is their Stretching Program.
Stretching vs Flexibility
Flexibility is a noun, whereas stretching is a verb. You practice stretching to attain flexibility. The best flexibility programs are synonymous with Stretching Programs and Stretching Apps. To become more flexible, it is not enough to only train for strength or stamina. Your muscle will grow in the ways they are used, which can and will lead to rigid muscle growth. To attain and maintain flexibility and a high range of motion, stretching is vital.
Mobility vs Flexibility
Flexibility through stretching is only how flexible and supple your muscles are. Mobility goes a step behyond this and combines suppleness with strength. As a standalone exercise, we favor Mobility vs flexibility since it also builds muscle and, more importantly, joint strength. This makes Mobility Apps usually the superior choice for not only increased range of motion (ROM) but also maintaining a sufficient level of strength throughout the entire ROM. Stretching Apps and programs as well as Flexibility programs do have a place alongside other physical activities likes dynamic sports, weightlifting and off course, Calisthenics.
You stretch before your exercise, practice or game. A Mobility Program instead can be conducted in conjunction with these activities on off days, for instance in-between workout days. All Mobility Programs should also include regular stretching intended as a warmup before your actual workout or activity too.
What Are the Benefits of Stretching?
To run down the list of the benefits of stretching again, in a nutshell we get that stretching:
- Increases muscle flexibility and range of motion
- Maintains current muscle flexibility and range of motion
- Can regain lost muscle flexibility and range of motion
- Improves blood flow to (deep) muscle tissue
- Improves your posture
- Helps prevent thrombosis
- Helps prevent injury from exercise or sport
What to Look For in you Stretching App
For all our app and program reviews, we always list the criteria by which we judge them. For individual Calisthenics Programs for instance, this was a Program Overview, the Form & Function and the app, Effectiveness of the Exercises and its Progressions. However, different people may use their Stretching App for different aims, so Effectiveness of the Exercises and Progression are entirely dependent on what you seek to achieve. That is why we’ve modified their meaning for this review a little, and we’ve also indicated a “Best for” category for our Stretching Apps. Naturally, since this is an overview review of multiple apps, we’ll be more succinct with our conclusions too.
These are the criteria by which we judge our Stretching Apps, and by which you can select the right app for you as well:
What Do You Want the Stretching App For?
This is a crucial question in your app selection. Not all Stretching Programs are optimal for all ends. If you’re looking to stretch before a workout, the stretching will be less intense than, for instance, doing Yoga. Think ahead of what you’re going to use the app for. Broadly speaking, we can determine five core reasons for using a Stretching App:
- As a warmup before Calisthenics exercise or similar fitness workouts
- As a warmup before dynamic sports like track, football or soccer
- As a standalone exercise to increase or maintain flexibility
- As a standalone exercise to increase mobility and strength
- As a standalone exercise in-between (Calisthenics) exercise days
Easy Navigation & Bug-Free Experience
Look at the app itself and how it navigates. Are the sections where you need to be easily accessible? Is the information clear? How is the quality of the videos and pictures? This is a somewhat subjective field, but at the same time most people will agree on what is an easy-to-use app and what is a slog to wrestle through. We like it easy to use and bug-free, so that we can get right to our stretches without having to fight the software.
A Stretching Program with Effective and Responsible Exercises
Last but not least at all, the Stretching Program itself needs to be effective for what you’re aiming to accomplish. This means different things for different apps, of course. But we can still determine if the exercises are effective, if the routine is effective and sound and whether the moves are selected with care.
The 8 Best Stretching Apps and Programs
Following the criteria above, we’ve selected the 8 best Stretching Apps. You’ll notice we’ve omitted price from the preselection. This is because people will have differing budgets. We’ve included great options for any budget so that everyone can reap the benefits of regular stretching.
#1 Cali Move Mobility 2.0
- Best for: best for all ends.
- Platforms: All
- Read Full Cali Move Mobility Program Review
- Discount: CWW10 for 10% off
The Cali Move Mobility Program is with some stretch the best Stretching Program you could be using. It is not merely a Stretching Program, however. From its core, it focuses on building both flexibility and joint strength. All in preparation of doing Calisthenics or any other activity where you need full range of motion power. Cali Move does a good job combining and separating both the need for warming up before a workout and delivering standalone exercises. It’s technically not a Stretching App, since you have to login to a website and it requires a browser. However, the website is so adaptive and fast that you’ll barely notice the difference between it and an app installed on your phone. The sleek design and concise information, together with crisp imagery and videos are typical of all Cali Move programs. We work with Cali Move quite intensively, and we can inform you that they are working on their own app. In the future, all their programs will also be available in app form.
The program itself is highly effective both at gaining flexibility and strength as well as maintaining a very high level of suppleness and agility. We see Cali Move Mobility 2.0 as the perfect partner exercise to doing Calisthenics both as a warmup and for in-between days routines. It is also perfect to accompany dynamic sports. We are convinced even that you can get similar if not superior results with the Cali Move Mobility Program to any other Stretching App or program for any end.
#2 VahVa Fitness Movement 20XX
- Best for: standalone exercise to increase mobility and strength
- Platforms: All
- Read Full VahVa Fitness Movement 20XX Review
If you’re looking to combine strength exercise with flexibility, agility and mobility, then VahVa Fitness Movement 20XX is your ideal partner. VahVa Fitness combines elements of strength exercise with mobility exercise in a holistic manner, while taking inspiration from animalistic movements. The result is a very effective, standalone exercise routine that builds mobility and strength. Of all Stretching Apps and mobility programs, VahVa is likely the most focused on strength. By learning dynamic skills and combining them, you perform what they call “animal flows”. These fluid movements are feats of strength, agility and endurance.
VahVa Movement 20XX has its own warmups and stretching, and many of the exercises will take that a step further. Simply following the Movement 20XX program is beneficial for your flexibility, inherent to the exercises themselves. You do need to be somewhat fit already. This isn’t the best choice if you’re obese or movement impaired right now.
#3 Alo Moves
- Best for: increasing muscle flexibility and range of motion, improving posture
- Platforms: iOS
Gearing more toward mindfulness and better living through exercise, Alo Moves is a very sleek and user-friendly app on iOS. The app offers a host of different training goals, from shedding weight to becoming supple and flexible. It takes you by the hand with a selection of instructors who guide you from beginner Yoga, Pilates, fitness or Calisthenics until you’ve reached your desired state body. The app works by hosting many different courses in these different fields with follow-along video presentations. The mind is a subject matter in this Stretching App as much as the body, which we agree is a good starting position when it comes to Calisthenics.
We also like that you can categorize the courses by difficulty and intensity. However, the discipline to keep up progression largely comes down to your own scheduling of new courses.
#4 Pliability (previously RomWod)
- Best for: standalone exercise to increase mobility and strength, warm up for dynamic sports
- Platforms: All
Formerly known as ROMWOD, Pliability now includes a general fitness approach to stretching and exercise. It still retains a largely CrossFit inspired set of workouts with a lot of mobility exercise and Yoga at its core. The app is known for its excellent camera work with shifting camera angles, giving you a very detailed look at how the technique is performed down to exact hand placement. Like with Calisthenics, core strength is vital to CrossFit, so Pliability puts ample focus on that too through stretching and static exercises. The app contains a library of over 1500 movement routines and generally looks great and very professional.
Given its nature and origins, it shouldn’t surprise you that Pliability is a great app to increase your mobility but also as an excellent warmup or even supplemental to dynamic sports like your basketball, track running, soccer, and so on.
- Best for: increasing or maintaining flexibility
- Platforms: iOS and Android
The StretchIt App goes all in on flexibility, with a tailored course for your specific goals, needs and abilities. The sleekly designed app offers a host of exercises ranging from Yoga, fitness and Calisthenics to increase your range of motion and overall suppleness. You work up toward preset goals, which you set yourself, and are asked to take a picture before and after meeting these goals. After you’ve determined your current level with a test and taking that initial picture, StretchIt sets up a customized training course for you. You can also choose the length of time of each workout session, from 5 minutes to 45 minutes.
This Stretching App is designed by and large for women. Men can surely participate and gain a lot of flexibility too, but some of the higher end exercises are not made with the male pelvis and bone structure in mind. It is a great companion to Calisthenics for women.
#6 Stretch & Flexibility at Home
This simple and free to use app gives you a number of great options for your day-to-day stretching. The app has set routines as a warmup and cooldowns for dynamic sports like jogging or track, as well as specifically for bodyweight exercise. Another cool feature is the standalone exercises to increase general flexibility and help relieve pain. The app looks good and functions well, especially after a recent update to their software has performance increased a lot and bugs been quelled.
There is no progression or testing and the guidance is done through drawn pictures only, no video. For a free app, this is to be expected.
#7 YogaSoft Start Stretching
- Best for: standalone exercise to increase flexibility
- Platforms: iOS
Similar to the Stretch & Flexibility at Home app above, the Start Stretching App is great for everyday general stretching routines. It has warmups and cooldowns for sports and running, as well good stretching exercises for pain and stress relief. The app is simple to navigate and looks clean, like all Apple products. It connects to your Apple Health app to monitor and track your progress and stretching history. Similarly, you can determine the stretch durations and record how long you held static positions.
The free version comes with some basic stretches. For this app’s full potential and integration into your Apple monitoring suite, you will need the paid version.
#8 Stretching & Flexibility: Bend
- Best for: standalone exercise to increase flexibility and correct posture
- Platforms: Android & iOS
This Stretching App gives you several set courses you can choose from and which you can repeat daily. It’s simplicity and good free features make Stretching & Flexibility: Bend a very popular choice on the Apple iStore page. The app runs smoothly and is simple to navigate. The exercises are simple and don’t advance into anything too complicated or advanced.
The approach is very straightforward. You choose what kind of exercise you want, for what purpose or for which muscle group, and you run through a set of stretching exercises. The program isn’t very sophisticated but does sync with your Apple Health App. It also keeps its own statistics on your progress. The exercises are shown as drawn pictures only, with a clearly visible timer. What is nifty is that you easily adjust the length of each exercise.
Conclusions About the Best Stretching Apps and Stretching Programs
We’ll go out on a stretch to say that many of today’s problems revolving around the sedentary lifestyle and obesity can be cured with a good Stretching App. It’s certainly a good beginning and that’s usually half the work, or to quote philosopher-king Marcus Aurelius (who we derive the saying from):
Begin and Thou shalt have done half the work. Begin again and Thou shalt have finished ─ Marcus Aurelius Antoninus
Stretching Apps help us attain or regain our flexibility and increase our range of motion. Without that, all other exercise, including Calisthenics becomes impossible. Only once you have faculty over your body, so that you can move it, do other sports make any sense. Stretching also prevents injury both as a warmup to exercise and as a cooldown after any physical exertion. By doing regular stretching you promote blood flow, also to deeper lying muscle tissue and you promote better posture.
The best Stretching App for you depends a little on what you want to do with it. During our review, one program sprung out as exceptional in all categories. That would be Cali Move Mobility 2.0. This full mobility and Stretching Program is most encompassing of all the apps and programs we tried. Not only is it all-encompassing it is also best in all these categories. It’s not a matter of choosing either or with Cali Move, you get the whole package of excellence.
For a bit more nuance toward strength as a standalone exercise, there is always VahVa Fitness Movement 20XX, which doesn’t pair as well with a regular Calisthenics routine or other bodyweight or weighted exercise routine as Cali Move Mobility 2.0 does. On the flip side, if you’re just purely looking for flexibility (granted with some but very little emphasis on functional strength), then Alo Moves is a wonderful experience too.
The conclusion then:
We recommend Cali Move Mobility 2.0 for all practitioners of either Calisthenics or sports or who are looking for a solid standalone stretching exercise. As an added and very significant bonus, Cali Move’s Stretching App also integrates seamlessly with Cali Move’s Complete Calisthenics Program.
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