7 Morning Stretches to Add to Your Routine

yoga Stretch

Getting up in the morning isn’t always an easy task. Staying active can be even harder. At a time when winter is setting in, many people are staying indoors because of the bad weather, with others opting to self-isolate due to the pandemic.

You might find that some days you wake up feeling lethargic, with aching muscles and as though you need a proper massage – these are usually signs that your body needs more movement.

Why Stretch in the Morning?

Stretching can help to combat aching muscles and set you up for the day ahead. In fact, some studies have shown that stretching, along with light cardio, can help your body to relax and improve your flexibility. By keeping your body loose, you can alleviate back pain and help manage of other long-term health conditions.

By adding these 7 morning stretches to your morning routine, you will not just help to stretch your entire body and muscle groups, but you’ll also set yourself up for the day ahead.

1.)  Cobra Stretch

The Cobra Stretch is a fantastic stretch that targets the hip flexors (the muscles along the front of your thigh and pelvis), abdominal muscles and cervical flexors (at the front of the neck).

It’s a particularly useful stretch for those that sit at a desk all day as it helps to counteract the rounded shapes many of us make with our bodies when hunched over a computer screen. It’s a relatively easy stretch to do and is taught at all levels of Yoga.

How to perform:

  • Lie on your stomach, separate your feet and legs to hip width and point your toes so the top of your feet are on the floor
  • Tuck your elbows in by your side and place your hands on the floor adjacent to your ribs
  • Inhale and gently bring your chest away from the floor – remember to relax your neck and shoulders
  • Your body should resemble a Cobra – you should hold this stretch for 15-20 seconds before lowering back down and repeating a few times

2.)  Child’s Pose

Child’s pose is another one of the 7 morning stretches to add to your routine as it helps to stretch out the lower body, and spine. For many people, these areas can feel a little tight in the morning. Through this stretch, you can instill a sense of calm within yourself. This can be done at any time of day when things feel overwhelming.

How to perform:

  • Kneel down, with your toes together and knees hip-width apart
  • Rest your palms on top of your thighs
  • Exhale and lower your torso out, extending your arms as you go with your palms facing down
  • Relax your shoulders and take deep breaths
  • Rest in this stretch for as long as you need before getting back up, shaking out the muscles and repeating

3.)  Knee to Chest Stretch

A knee to chest stretch is perfect for people suffering from lower back pain. Say goodbye to pain, and hello to a nice stretch! It not only helps to loosen up your lumbar spine muscles, but it also alleviates pressure on the spinal nerves.

How to perform:

  • Lay flat on your back
  • Lift one leg up and make a right angle with your knee
  • Pull one knee towards your chest and interlock your fingers to hold your leg stretch
  • Hold for 10-20 seconds – you should feel this working in your lower back and hips
  • Repeat on each leg a couple of times

4.)  Cat-Cow Stretch

The Cat-Cow stretch involves moving the spine from a rounded position to an arched one, and really focuses on breathwork to help improve circulation around the discs in your back. It’s a basic pose that has many benefits, especially if you suffer with back pain or spend a large portion of your day sat at a desk.

How to perform:

  • Start on all fours and place your wrists beneath your shoulders, with your knees beneath your hips
  • As you exhale, round your spine (like a cat that’s been startled), keeping your wrists and knees where they are
  • As you inhale, come back to the central position on your hands and knees
  • Repeat as many times as needed and hold for around 10-20 seconds

5.)  Neck Stretch

If you suffer with neck pain, you’re not alone. Neck pain is one of the most common complaints among Americans. Stretching in the morning can help to improve many of the complaints associated with neck pain including headaches.

How to perform:

  • Stand or sit, and ensure your shoulders are relaxed
  • Gently move your right ear towards your right shoulder, using your arm to help you if you’re struggling
  • Stretch until it’s comfortable for you and hold for 10 seconds
  • Repeat on the other side

6.)  Standing Hamstring Stretch

Hamstring stretches have several benefits, including strengthened lower back, increased hip flexibility, and improved posture. Not a bad way to kick off your morning. Warming up your hamstrings is especially important if you frequently stand during your work day. It’s easy for legs to stiffen up, causing injuries to occur. Keep your legs loose through this effective morning stretch.

 How to perform:

  • Stand upright and slowly bend one knee, as if you are about to sit down
  • Place the opposite leg outright, with the toes pointing to the ceiling
  • Slightly tilt your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your stretched out leg
  • Hold for 20 seconds and then repeat on the other side

7.)  Standing Quad Stretch

Stretching the quad (or thigh) muscles helps to improve flexibility in the upper leg and hips and has been proven to stimulate blood flow. Most people do a quad stretch prior to exercising, but it’s also a very effective morning stretch to add to your routine.

How to perform:

  • Stand on one leg, if you are struggling with balance try holding on to a chair or table for support
  • Bend one knee and bring your heel towards your bottom, holding your ankle with your hand
  • Stand up tall and squeeze your abdominal muscles, ensuring your shoulders are relaxed and your knees are as close together as possible – you should feel a slight pull in the front of your thigh
  • Hold the stretch for as long as you can, ideally around 30 seconds and then proceed on the other leg

How to Safely Stretching

If you’re new to stretching or exercise, it’s important that you listen to your body. Don’t feel compelled to perform these 7 stretches perfectly at first – practice makes perfect. By regularly doing them as part of your morning routine you will soon see your flexibility increase.

For anyone that has an existing injury, or mobility issues, you should always consult a healthcare professional first so they can recommend a morning stretching routine that suits you and your needs. 

Follow our top tips below for stretching safely every morning:

  • Warm Up Your Body – as tempting as it can be to get into a stretch first thing in the morning, you should warm up your body first. It can be something as simple as marching on the spot for 5 minutes or dancing whilst you’re brushing your teeth.
  • If You Feel Pain, STOP – that’s right, you shouldn’t be stretching so much that it’s uncomfortable. Stretch until you feel a slight bit of tension, hold for a few seconds, and then reset and go again. Your flexibility will improve with each stretch you do. 
  • Practice Good Form – watch tutorials and pay close attention to their form. If you’re stretching incorrectly, you will do your muscles more damage in the long-run and can potentially even cause yourself an injury. When you feel your form starting to slip, get out of the stretch, shake it out and try to go again. 
  • Focus on the Stretch – it might sound like a simple one, but by really connecting your body with the stretch you will get the most out of it. If you are tighter on one side, consider working this a little more to balance it out. 
  • Breathe – many people forget to breathe properly when they’re stretching because they are concentrating so much on getting the movement right. While stretching, focus on your inhale and exhale rhythm with each movement. Do not hold your breath; your muscles and brain require oxygen when moving your body during stretches.
  • Stretch Regularly – you will reap the most benefits from stretching the more you do it. We have compiled a list of the better 7 morning stretches to add to your routine, but of course there are many more you can incorporate. 


Improving your flexibility and mobility can happen with consistent habits and routines. Many people put off doing so because they fall out of the routine. Try adding our 7 morning stretches to your daily routine for a week and see how much better you feel! You’ll be surprised how far your body can go when you start doing stretches consistently over time.

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