This 20-Minute Morning Mobility Routine Helps You Start Your Day Right

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Wake up your joints gently with easy range-of-motion exercises.
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Some exercise enthusiasts can't wait to jump into a high-intensity interval workout first thing in the morning. But for those who are highly dependent on the snooze button, that sounds like a nightmare.

If you're not an early bird or your muscles need a little more TLC before you jump into your day, mobility exercises are a great way to go. These low-impact movements will loosen stiff joints and warm up the body with no added sweat.

Skip the HIIT and make this 20-minute mobility routine from Jereme Schumacher, DPT, physical therapist with Bespoke Treatments, a part of your morning ritual.

Tip

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

Move 1: Lunge to Overhead Reach

Move 1: Lunge to Overhead Reach
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Jereme Schumacher
Reps 8
Type Flexibility
Region Full Body
  1. Start standing tall with feet hip-width apart.
  2. With your right leg, take a step forward about two to three feet.
  3. Bend your right knee to a 90-degree angle. Simultaneously, lower your left knee toward the ground.
  4. Raise your left arm overhead and lean toward the right, feeling a stretch across your left side and hip flexor.
  5. Bring your arm back down to your side.
  6. Push into your right leg to return to the starting position.
  7. Repeat on the opposite side.

Move 2: World's Greatest Stretch

Move 2: World's Greatest Stretch
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Jereme Schumacher
Reps 8
Type Flexibility
Region Full Body
  1. Start in a low lunge with your left leg bent at 90 degrees, right knee on the ground.
  2. Place both hands on the ground shoulder-width apart on the inside of your left leg.
  3. Keeping your left palm on the ground, raise your right arm up toward the ceiling, opening up toward your right knee.
  4. Then, place your right palm back to the ground and raise your left arm, opening to your left side.
  5. Perform all the reps on your left side before switching to your right.

Tip

As you raise your arm toward the ceiling, follow your hand with your eyes, Schumacher says. This will help improve your thoracic (upper back) mobility.

Move 3: Bow and Arrow Stretch

Move 3: Bow and Arrow Stretch
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Jereme Schumacher
Reps 8
Type Flexibility
Region Upper Body
  1. Start kneeling with your left knee bent at 90 degrees, right knee on the ground.
  2. Hold your arms straight out in front of you at shoulder height.
  3. Keeping your left arm in place, slide your right hand across your upper body (as if you were using a bow and arrow) until your right fingers are facing the back of the room.
  4. Reverse the motion until you're back to the starting position.
  5. Then, repeat with the left hand, keeping the right in place.
  6. Alternate hands until you complete all the reps. Then switch legs.

Move 4: Tripod Shoulder Internal and External Rotations

Move 4: Tripod Shoulder Internal and External Rotations
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Jereme Schumacher
Reps 10
Type Flexibility
Region Upper Body
  1. Start kneeling with your butt resting on your heels. Place your left palm on the ground for balance.
  2. Keeping your butt on your heels, lean forward slightly with a flat back.
  3. Raise your right arm straight in front of you in the air, thumb facing up.
  4. Then, continue raising your right arm as high as possible with comfort.
  5. Slowly rotate your thumb down so that your palm faces out.
  6. Then, rotate your thumb back up toward the ceiling, palm facing in.
  7. After you complete all the rotations on your right arm, repeat with the left.

Move 5: IT Band Drives

Move 5: IT Band Drives
Image Credit: LIVESTRONG.com/Jereme Schumacher
Reps 10
Type Flexibility
Region Full Body
  1. Start standing with feet hip-width apart, arms at your side.
  2. Cross your left leg in front of the right.
  3. Simultaneously, reach your right arm up toward the ceiling and across your head, leaning toward your right side.
  4. Reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  5. Once you complete all your reps, switch sides (cross your legs the opposite way and reach to the other side).
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