Muscles attach to tendons, which attach to bones. When you lack flexibility and mobility from sitting too much or being out of shape, it pulls on your bones… and can cause low back pain, neck pain (tech neck), and other nagging orthopedic problems. Restoring the length and mobility in your muscles and joints is essential. To get started can either learn my simple flexibility routine or download one of the YOGA apps I recommend.
I’m going to give you two options here. You can either start doing Yoga or learn a full-body stretching routine you do after each workout. Either way, we’re talking 15-20 mins a few times per week.
Upper Body & Lower Body Stretch
Finally!! You guys have been asking for this routine that I’ve taught to hundreds of clients throughout the year. I finally took the time and humbled myself to actually record a lower body and upper body stretching routine.
Please enjoy and keep in mind, your body may not easily move into all the positions at first, don’t force it!! Take your time and if anything hurts just skip it and find a trainer who can work with you individually.
For the upper body stretches I use a doorway. The goal is a place where you can get your elbow level with your shoulder and turn away from it. Many people have limited range of motion in their shoulders and have to take this slowly. THAT’S OK!!
Gradually your body will forgive your forward bending lifestyle and restore the proper alignment in the shoulder girdle.
*Remember, if anything is painful stop. You may need to see your therapist or doctor to make sure that there isn’t already structural damage in the shoulder.
Flexibility Routine – Yoga
Yoga has so many different styles (slow-moving postures, fast, heated, pilates/yoga combos) that I feel certain everyone can find a type of Yoga they enjoy. Most gyms have a variety of Yoga styles on their class schedules. Try a few different instructors and see which style you prefer.
If you prefer to practice Yoga at home, there are tons of free Youtube videos and dozens of apps. I’m a fan of practicing yoga at home, so I use the apps below. They’re cheap and worth every penny. They’re both about $9 a month and have a free trial.
- Yoga Studio – Great for beginners especially. Simple, clean interface, calming.
- Down Dog – They have super cool music, more engaging instructors. They have this app for beginners that are free, and some apps for other types of exercises also.
**Please note, I have no financial relationship with either of these companies. These are legitimately two amazing apps, different styles for sure, but both amazing.
Flexibility Routine – How Often?
I do about 10-15 mins of flexibility after my strength or cardio workouts. If you’re doing Yoga, shoot for 20-30 min classes a few times a week.
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a while to loosen up. It’s worth it and will save you a world of pain down the road. Flexibility workouts become more enjoyable over time.
Flexibility Routine – Equipment?
You can complete flexibility workouts with any equipment by learning a full-body strengthening routine. If you decide to do Yoga, a mat is helpful to add padding and prevent slipping.
- Yoga Mat – This is the one I use. The designs help with your alignment, i.e. making sure you have your feet and hands in the right place. Plus the purple one is pretty.
- Yoga blocks – If you’re new to Yoga, these little blocks will be a lifesaver to help you reach the floor in certain positions.
- Bendy Phone holder – It’s the little things in life. My sister gave me this handy, flexible phone holder. It comes in handy for my Yoga classes because it bends in any way I need it to depending on where I’m practicing.
You will get stronger doing Yoga but don’t get that confused with strength workouts. You can tone up doing Yoga but not build enough muscle to impact your metabolism. Read more about strength workouts.