4 STRETCHES YOU SHOULD DO EVERY MORNING!
Admit it. You probably don’t stretch as much as you should right? Don’t worry. I don’t either.
There are two reasons why most people don’t stretch enough:
- They don’t know which stretches to do.
- They don’t have a lot of time in their morning routine to do them.
I’ll help you fix both of those things, and what I am going to show you will help you feel totally different tomorrow morning. I promise you.
The best part is… these morning stretching exercises will only take you a couple of minutes!
You may not realize this, but while we sleep we are inadvertently reinforcing the muscle tension and tightness that we’ve developed from the day before.
Especially if we worked out that day, we tend to heal and shorten overnight. Then we wake up with tight muscles, which leaves us in an unfavorable position for our next workout.
I’ll show you an easy way to fix this with a morning routine that hardly takes up any time at all!
Before we start with the stretching routine, let’s take a look at the ways a few common sleeping positions can get us into trouble!
ANY SLEEPING POSITION CAN CAUSE MUSCLE TIGHTNESS
Waking up feeling stiff is extremely common, especially if you worked out the day before.
Different muscle problems can be reinforced with different sleeping positions, so it’s important to be aware of how the way you sleep might be affecting your muscles.
The truth is…
It doesn’t matter which position you sleep in. No one is immune!
Side sleepers, do you sleep in fetal position with your knees pulled up? If your legs are squeezed together, you’re going to get some hip flexor and adductor tightness.
If you’re a stomach sleeper and your arms are up underneath your head, you’re getting internal rotation of both shoulders. And if your feet are pointed downward, that will cause a tightening of the calves in the lower legs.
Some people say sleeping on your back is the most ergonomic position, but there are some issues with this too. Your ankles get pulled down by the sheets which can cause that calf tightening. If your head is propped up, your thoracic spine might be getting stretched out too much.
The good thing is that the 4 morning stretches I’m about to show you will take care of all of these issues in just a couple of quick minutes of your daily routine!
STRETCH EXERCISE 1: RDL HIP HINGE
This first morning stretch exercise is actually not a static stretch but rather a dynamic stretching movement.
We’re going to do an RDL movement that gives us two main benefits: to practice the hip hinge and stretches your hamstrings.
You’ll only need to do 5 reps of this one because we don’t want to overstretch the hamstrings, but the hams can be a chronically tight area in many people from sitting all day.
Practicing the hip hinge movement is important as well, because typically when we bend down, we bend from the knees. What we want is to learn how to bend from the hips.
To perform this stretch, starting position is to shift your hips into anterior pelvic tilt by tilting and gently pulling your pelvis forward and arching your lower back. Then slide your hands down your thighs to the knees and come back up.
RDL HIP HINGE
If you do this correctly, you should get one of the best hamstring stretches you’ve ever felt.
STRETCH EXERCISE #2: DEEP SQUAT GROIN STRETCH
The second move is an effective morning stretch which will help loosen up the hips and the groin.
If you happen to be a side sleeper and pull your legs up into your chest or sleep with your knees pressed together, you probably suffer from tight hip flexors and hip adductors (groin muscles).
It’s important to try to re-establish flexibility in these muscles because asymmetrical pulling on the pelvis can cause postural issues, low back pain and decreased spinal range of motion.
This movement will also stretch out some upper body muscles: the biceps, forearms and finger flexors. Believe it or not, our biceps can get tight while we’re sleeping if they’re kept in a bent elbow position for hours on end.
Starting position is dropping down into a deep squat position with feet flat and your hands in contact with the floor between your legs a bit less than shoulderwidth apart, palms facing backward. Then drive your elbows into your inner thighs to drive your knees apart and deepen the groin stretch while at the same time straightening your arms to get that biceps and forearm stretch.
DEEP SQUAT GROIN STRETCH
Try to keep your chest up to get thoracic extension and keep your heels down to get a calf stretch too. Stay here for about 30 seconds.
STRETCH EXERCISE #3: OVERHEAD LEANING LUNGE STRETCH
Next we’re going to really get at those hip flexors and stretch them out.
If you do this right, you’ll be extending through the thoracic spine to regain any lost mobility from sleeping with a rounded upper back supported by the pillow.
First, grab a wooden dowel or a broomstick. Start position is with your left foot forward and your right foot back in a lunge position, with right calf resting on the ground and left foot flat in front with left knee bent. Plant the wooden dowel into the ground in front of you outside of your left leg. Drop the opposite leg behind you until you feel a deep stretch on the upper front side of your thigh. From here, reach up to the top of the stick with both hands and with a slight spinal twist, lean towards the left shoulder to enhance the stretch.
OVERHEAD LEANING LUNGE STRETCH
You’re getting into that tight lat and that back hip flexor, and you’re getting thoracic extension through the back. Try to stay long and tall, and make sure you do this stretch on both sides for about 30 seconds.
STRETCH EXERCISE #4: STANDING SHOULDER STRETCH
I’ve saved my favorite stretch for last, and this one will help you externally rotate your shoulders and loosen up the posterior deltoids.
When laying on your side or on your stomach, your shoulders are often positioned into internal rotation. The problem here is that you aren’t just staying like this for a just few minutes, but for 6-8 hours!
Start standing in a staggered position with your left foot forward bending your knees only slightly. Throw the dowel over your left shoulder and let it bisect the bicep of your left arm. Then you reach across, and you sink in, letting the dowel hook on your leg as you see me doing here.
My arm is at about 90 degrees, and as I move my thigh forward I get external rotation of the arm. Then I take my opposite arm and reach across and hook my pinkies of each hand together like this.
Then I rotate to get the back side and posterior delt and extension through the thoracic spine. It just feels horrible, but amazing at the same time!
STANDING SHOULDER STRETCH
So many components are present in this stretch. I’ve got external rotation, I’ve got thoracic extension, and I’ve loosened up my hip flexors. Make sure to do 30 seconds per side on this exercise.
You should start your day by stretching every morning, but it doesn’t have to take a ton of time. Not only does it help with waking up the body, it will make a huge difference in your workouts too! Implement these stretches in 2-3 minutes, and I promise you’re going to feel better for the rest of the day. It’s important to realize that you are doing good things for your body when you train in the gym, but they can lead to tightness if you don’t address it when you wake up in the morning.
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- Most people don’t stretch enough, either because they don’t know which stretches to do or they don’t have much time.
- All of the most common sleeping positions can cause imbalances and tightness in both the upper and lower body, but thankfully just a few minutes of specific morning stretches each day can remedy this.
- The RDL Hip Hinge gives you the benefit of practicing the hip hinge and stretching out the hamstrings.
- The Deep Squat Groin Stretch loosens not only tight hip flexors and but biceps, forearms and finger flexors.