It seems like "do stretching" is more commonly used than "do stretches." Is that right? Which one sound better? I want to know which one is used normally. Plus, are both of these grammatically correct? Or, perhaps do these have some differnces in meaning?

What I want to express is that when I go to the gym, I do some stretches(or stretching[uncountable noun]) for warm-up.

What I have written down is "I start with 5 minutes of walking for warm up, and do some stretching from head to toe then, I begin my strength training."

If there are more parts that sound awkward in the sentence, i would be very grateful to know.

  • 1
    I don't indulge in calisthenic warm ups myself, but my impression is most of those that do would use the straightforward plural noun [some] stretches, rather than the gerund [some] stretching. Having said that, both are syntactically fine, and could reasonably be used by native speakers. For the final example I'd probably say ...and do some head-to-toe stretches, but as implied above, it's not the kind of thing I'd be likely to want to express anyway. Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 15:35
  • Note that your example sentence doesn't actually say "do stretching". It says "do five minutes of stretching". That's a different structure!
    – stangdon
    Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 16:25
  • @FumbleFingers Thank you very much for your comment. So, I will go with ... do some head-to-toe stretches. What I really wanted to know was that which of these would more likely to be used by native speakers, as you said. I guess my question is pretty much be solved. Thank you!
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 10:04
  • And, @stangdon I thought that because I used 'and," this conjuction would connect those verbs "start" and "do," then "begin." If that's not right, I will go with .... do some head-to-toe stretches for 15 minutes, then I begin .... Would the sentence be okay, then? Thank you very much for letting me know, though! :)
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 10:13

2 Answers 2


Do with a gerund (like stretching), though grammatical, is not very idiomatic. However, with a quantifier it is completely idiomatic.

So do stretching sounds odd ;but do some stretching (or a bit of stretching or a lot of stretching) is fine.

Now I think of it, the same is true for the nominal stretches: do some stretches (or do a few stretches) is much more natural than do stretches.

I think the difference between do some stretches and do some stretching is that the latter sounds less organised, and possibly less intentional. But the difference in meaning is not great.

  • I'd never have thought of that until you pointed it out, but you're quite right that including a "quantifier" often converts a "quirky" (but grammatical) form into something completely natural. Maybe particularly with gerunds, but I have to say I suspect your main reason for extending the principle to stretches is just that that particular usage isn't so familiar in the first place. What exercises do you do? Not many - I mostly just do press-ups. In that context, you'd only include a few if that was really true/relevant (as opposed to doing a whole hour of one exercise, say). Commented Jan 26, 2018 at 17:04
  • Thank you very much for your answer. It helped me a lot. I will remember that 'Do' with a gerund is not very idiomatic, but with a quantifier! Also, 'do some stretching' sounds less organised. Thank you!
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 12:01
  • @FumbleFingers Well, honestly, I don't really understand what you suspect. Do you mean, this 'Do' + quantifier + activities does not always sound better, but just with some typical activities(ex. stretches but not press ups). Is that what you are talking about? Am I following you so far?
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 12:18
  • @R.Choi: What I suspect is that when Colin says the same is true for the nominal stretches (i.e. - that "unqualified" I do stretches every morning can be made more "natural" by including a modifier such as some), he may be influenced by the fact that a stretch = a calisthenic exercise is far from being the first sense most of us would associate with the noun. But that's a very fine distinction. I think the primary point here is that when asked What are you doing later? the response Dunno - maybe I'll do cooking / reading / sunbathing sounds "odd" without some. Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 15:43
  • I think I sort of understand now. Thank you very much for your kind explanation!
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 9:22

How to express oneself regarding stretches:

I do my stretching before I exercise. I usually do two quad stretches per leg and two bicep stretches per arm and a back stretch using a yoga position on the floor or up against the wall.

I find that doing stretches helps me avoid muscle injury issues. Plus, stretching is just plain good for you. When do you do your stretching? Only before exercising or afterwards as well? What stretches do you do?

Any "exotic" ones like getting on a table and stretching the psoas muscle? Like dancers often do?

do [one's] stretching versus do stretches. One is the activity and a verb: do stretching and the other is just the noun.

When do you do your stretching? [engage in the activity of stretching] Which stretches do you do? [the particular exercise]

  • Thank you very much for your example sentences. I can clearly see how those gerund and noun are different. I guess I should go with "... do some static head-to-toe stretches for 15 minutes, then..." Thank you! By the way, what do you mean by "plain good?" What does that mean?
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 11:55
  • @R.Choi Thank you for your comment. just plain [adjective] is idiomatic: This tea is just plain good=The tea cannot be described any other way than being good. That movie was just plain bad.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 27, 2018 at 13:49
  • I think you are good at writing example sentences! Thank you for your kind answer! :)
    – R. Choi
    Commented Jan 29, 2018 at 9:28

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