Follow along with this 10-minute FULL BODY STRETCH ROUTINE at home. The perfect way to cool down after a home workout, or add this full body stretching routine to your next active recovery day. Designed to release low back pain, tight hips and tense muscles, these 15 stretching exercises are for beginners and advanced athletes.
STRETCHING. COOL DOWN. RANGE OF MOTION (ROM). MUSCLE RECOVERY. ACTIVE RECOVERY.
Debatably the most important part of a well-rounded fitness routine, and yet, it seems to be the first thing to get skipped when we’re short on time (I’m so guilty of this).
If you regularly do my home workouts, you are an ATHLETE. Which means you need a dynamic stretching routine to recovery like an athlete.
Benefits of a Full Body Stretching Routine
Increase active range of motion (ROM)
Prevent and heal back pain
Improve circulation and relaxation
Decrease sore muscles
Improve athletic performance
Strengthening and stretching specific muscle groups, promotes proper alignment, reduces musculoskeletal pain and improves your overall athletic performance.
Rest and recovery are vital to seeing the results you want from your daily workouts! Enter this 10-minute full body stretching routine.
When To Stretch?
The two most common types of daily stretching include:
Dynamic Stretches. Actively moving a joint or muscle through its full range of motion. This type of stretching is done BEFORE exercise or before a workout as it helps get your muscles warmed up and ready for exercise.
Static Stretches. Stretches that you hold for 15-30 seconds or longer without moving. This type of stretching is typically done AFTER exercise or at the end of your workout as it helps loosen up tight muscles after exercise.
Stretches Before Exercise
It’s important to prepare your body for activity by warming up your muscles, joints and ligaments.
Some great examples of dynamic stretching routines to prepare your body for movement include:
Stretching after your workout may help reduce muscles soreness.
It’s a good idea to stretch all parts of your body, BUT place an emphasis on the muscles you used during your workout. Some great examples of of more static stretching routines after your workout include:
DAILY. With 2-3 longer full body stretching sessions a week.
If you’re looking to gain flexibility and increase mobility, a daily stretching routine is one of the best things you can do.
I always recommend a minimum 5-minute cool down at the end of your workouts to bring down your heart rate and release muscle tension.
Harvard Health says that healthy adults should aim for 2-3 longer stretching sessions a week, so that’s my personal goal when it comes to longer stretching sessions.
Why Can Stretching Feel Uncomfortable?
If you favor strength training major muscle groups and HIIT workouts, the “stretch” is a workout in itself because it’s different from what your body is used to.
Whereas, workouts like yoga and barre include stretching within the workout.
It’s so important to ACTIVELY keep your body from tensing up as you hold each stretch.
Focus on taking deep breaths, and breathing into each stretching exercise. Think about “releasing” the tension and stiffness in each muscle group.
Note: Stretching may feel uncomfortable (especially if you’re anything like me and maybe don’t do it as often as you should 😉), but it shouldn’t feel painful. If you feel a stretch causing pain, pull back from the stretch and lessen the range of motion to modify each pose until you gain more flexibility and mobility.
10-Minute Full Body Stretch Routine
This daily stretching routine is for anyone looking to:
Increase Range of Motion
Join me for this 10-minute full-body stretch routine designed to release tight hips, hamstrings, hip flexors, groin, lower back and chest muscles.
Stretch Routine Equipment:
No equipment, just your bodyweight and yoga mat(affiliate).
I’ll coach you through the entire stretch routine, providing form cues and modifications.
We’ll flow through the routine, holding each upper body stretch and lower body stretch for 30 seconds or more.
15 Full Body Stretching Exercises:
Plank Walk Out + Low Runner’s Lunge (Hip Stretch)
Cat Cow Stretch
Down Dog + Reach Backs
Down Dog Hip Openers
Crescent Lunge to Warrior 1
Humble Warrior + Chest Expansion
Pyramid Pose (Hamstring Stretch)
Down Dog to Table Top
Puppy Dog Stretch + Frog Stretch
Outer Glute Stretch + Spinal Twist
Lying Plow Stretch (Low Back Stretch)
Reverse Table Top
6 Full Body Stretches To Do Daily
1. Plank Walk Out + Low Runner’s Lunge (Hip Flexor Stretch)
Targets: Hamstrings, low back, shoulders, hips, hip flexors, glutes and core.
Note, you can hold the low lunge or hip flexor stretch for as long as 60 seconds per side.
How to do a Plank Walk Out + Low Runner’s Lunge:
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart; arms straight overhead.
Hinge forward, pressing your hips directly back, soles of your feet remain flat on the mat if possible. Reach your fingertips to the mat and slowly walk out to a high plank position with your hands on the floor.
Find a high plank, palms flat on the mat, shoulders stacked over wrists, core engaged, creating a straight line from your head to your heels.
Exhale as you step your right foot outside of your right hand, planting it on the mat.
Grounding through your left hand, open up towards right, reaching your right elbow and right arm up towards the ceiling. Gaze follows fingertips.
Return your right hand to the mat, then step back to high plank.
Walk your hands back to meet your feet and stand tall.
Then, repeat the plank walk out. This time, after finding a high plank, step your left foot outside your left hand. Open up towards the left, reaching your left elbow and left arm up towards the ceiling.
2. Cat Cow Stretch
Targets: Spine and low back.
The simple cat cow pose improves blood circulation between the vertebrae of your spine. Great for relieving back pain and stress.
How to do a Cat Cow Stretch:
Start in a table top position (quadruped) on all fours. Shoulders are stacked over wrists and hips are stacked over knees.
Find a neutral spine — think of the spine as a straight line connecting the shoulders to the hips. Keep the neck long by looking down and out.
As you inhale, find an arch pose by curling your toes under and tilting your pelvis back so that your tailbone sticks up. Drop the belly down as you draw your navel in.
Take your gaze gently up toward the ceiling. This is cow pose.
On your exhale, round out for cat pose. Release the tops of your feet to the floor and tuck your tailbone.
Draw your navel toward your spine and drop your head, gazing toward your navel.
Repeat this sequence of arching and rounding out for 30-60 seconds.
3. Crescent Lunge to Warrior One with Chest Expansion
Targets: Hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, torso and erector spinae muscles.
A great stretch for cyclist, runners or those who sit most of the day. Also great for improving balance and core strength.
How to do a Crescent Lunge to Warrior One with Chest Expansion:
Start in a low lunge position, right foot forward, left foot back. Drop your back left knee towards the mat.
Your right knee is directly over your right ankle and your front right thigh is parallel to the ground.
Inhale and bring your arms above your head, keeping the arms and elbows in line with your ears.
To deepen into the lunge for this hip flexor stretch, press firmly into your feet as you allow your hips to shift forward.
Then, turn your back (left) foot out to find Warrior One. Back foot is now parallel (heel to arch alignment). Bring your arms out to a T position.
Option to wrap your hands behind your back for a chest expansion.
Hold for 30 to 60 seconds before switching sides.
4. Pyramid Pose (Hamstring Stretch)
Targets: Posterior chain (backside of the body) — hamstrings, low back, spine and hips.
How to do a Pyramid Pose:
Start in a staggered stance, right foot forward, left foot back. Hips are square to the front.
Bend forward to hinge at the hips and frame your front foot with your hands. Think less about how far you can reach down and more about how much you can push your hips back.
Press through your front right heel. You should feel a stretch along the back of your right and left leg, specifically stretching your front right leg hamstring. Note, only stretch until there is mild to moderate tension on the back of the leg (hamstrings). Flexibility will improve over time in this hamstring stretch.
Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Switch your staggered stance, alternating to bring your back leg (left leg) forward and and repeat to stretch the left hamstring.
The puppy pose is great for calming the body, relieving stress and anxiety. As well as releasing tension in you upper arms, shoulders, and neck. It’s similar to child’s pose but your hips stay high.
How to do a Puppy Dog Stretch:
Start in a table top position (quadruped) on all fours. Shoulders are stacked over wrists and hips are stacked over knees (knees bent at 90 degrees).
Then, walk your hands away from your body.
Extend your hands as far out in front of your body as possible while keeping your hips high.
Think about creating length from fingertips to tailbone.
Hold this position for 60 seconds, lengthening from fingertips to tailbone with each exhale.
6. Reverse Table Top
Targets: Chest, shoulders, back, neck, arms, knees and hips.
Reverse tabletop pose also called crab pose, opens the chest and stimulates the respiratory and endocrine systems.
How to do a Reverse Table Top:
Begin seated on your mat, legs bent at 90 degrees, feet on the mat. Rest your hands behind you shoulder-width distance apart; fingertips facing your butt.
Press your heels into the floor, using your hamstrings and glutes to lift your hips off the ground. Your body should form a straight line from torso to knees, shoulders stacked directly over your wrists and knees stacked directly over your ankles.
Hold this position for 30-60 seconds.
Then, slowly lower your hips down to return to the starting position.
Why is stretching important?
Range of Motion
We all know that exercise is GOOD for our bodies. But by its nature, exercises and intense workouts put our muscles, connective tissues, joints and ligaments under stress and strain.
Stretching keeps the muscles flexible and healthy, which helps prevent injury!
Without stretching, the muscles can shorten and become tight (due to compression happening during workouts or everyday activities like sitting in an office chair for extended periods of time).
Tight muscles make it difficult to get a full range of motion in your joints, which is necessary to safely and effectively perform many exercises. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage. (Harvard Health)
Range of Motion
Plus, a full range of motion can translate to more effective workouts. Take a squat, for example. If you have a greater range of motion in your hips and knees, you can sink deeper into a squat and better engage the glutes as you power up!
We have a guided 5-Minute Warm Up on the blog that serves to gently stretch the muscles BEFORE a workout, and today’s post is the perfect way to stretch muscles after a workout.