Stretching isn’t supposed to hurt.
Over the years I’ve seen any number of bodybuilders grimacing in pain as they stretch out before, during and after workouts. While stretching isn’t always easy, especially if you’re doing it right, it should never cause you intense pain.
The reasons for stretching are many: increased flexibility, improved range of motion, increased blood flow into muscles and even relief of the stress associated with tight muscles. However, you must observe caution when stretching. Although it doesn’t carry the same risks as weight-bearing exercise there are risks nonetheless.
I recommend stretching after a brief warmup. Stretching cold muscles puts them at risk for injury. Think of your muscles as organic rubber bands. If you put a rubber band in the freezer for an hour and then try to stretch it, it won’t go far before it snaps. Likewise, you’ll have an easier and safer time of it stretching warm muscles.
Also, avoid ballistic or bounce stretches for the same reason. Bouncing into a stretch puts you at risk of muscle and tendon tears, which will have the opposite effect of stretching.