10-Minute Morning Stretch Routine (Foam Roll + Stretch)

Start your day with this energizing, 10-Minute Morning Stretch Routine! Why? To increase mobility, reduce low back pain, open tight hips, speed up muscle recovery and keep you injury-free!

Our theme of the year? MOBILITY + RECOVERY. 

You’ve been seeing more full body stretching and foam rolling routines from me — and that’s intentional!

If you do my workouts, you are training like an athlete. That means you need to be recovering like an athlete too.

Which is why I’ve started doing this 10-Minute Morning Stretch Routine daily. And I can feel the difference.

These 7 stretches are designed to gently wake up your body and work out any muscle knots or tight spots that might have settled in overnight.

Quad Stretch as part of morning stretch routine on Foam Roller

What are the benefits of starting your day with a morning stretch routine? 

Whether you’re new to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you can benefit from a regular stretching routine.

Here are just a few tangible benefits you’ll see from adding 5 to 10 minutes of dynamic and static stretches to your morning routine:

  1. Increased Range of Motion — The ability to get deeper into your squats and load more weight; and press weight overhead pain-free.
  2. Reduced Muscle Soreness — Alleviating “muscle knots” from tough workouts (and sitting at a desk all day), and speed up recovery time between workouts.
  3. Improved Posture — A regular stretching lengthens your muscles which helps you avoid common low back pain and improves your overall posture.
  4. Reduced Risk of Injury — Starting your day with a morning stretch routine prepares your body for every day activities, like walking up stairs and carrying groceries.
  5. Reduced Joint Pain — When your muscles are tight, you decrease the range of motion within your joints, which can lead to joint pain during and after your workouts.

Neck Stretches | Part of morning mobility routine

What’s the difference between mobility and flexibility?

Flexibility isn’t necessarily a predictor of mobility. That said, flexibility and mobility are both important when it comes to allowing your body to operate at it’s optimum capacity.

Basically it comes down to this:

  • Flexibility is focused on muscles.
  • Mobility is focused on joints.

Flexibility is the ability of a muscle to temporarily stretch when needed.

Whereas, mobility is the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion.

How to Foam Roller | Foam Roller Stretches for Morning Mobility

Follow along with the guided video at the top of this post, or see GIFs of the seven morning stretches below and work at your own pace.

In this video I’ll demonstrate active foam rolling, or moving over common ‘trigger points’, following these three steps: 

  1. Position your body over the foam roller targeting the ‘trigger point’ or muscle you want to roll with your foam roller. Keep three points of contact between you and the floor (the foam roller counts as one point of contact).
  2. Apply pressure with your bodyweight to the foam roller and roll back and forth over the trigger point area three to five times. 
  3. The amount of time you spend rolling each muscle group will vary based on your specific trigger points, as well as if you’re rolling pre-workout or post-workout (see below).

When it comes to how long to hold each stretch: 

  1. Foam Rolling Before a Workout: hold each foam roller exercise for around 30 seconds. This will increase blood flow to that muscle group which is idea for warming up for a workout.
  2. Foam Rolling After a Workout: hold each foam roller exercise for around 60-90 seconds (or longer if you’d like). This will send a signal to your Golgi Tendon Organs which forces your muscles to go into a deep relaxing state.

7 Morning Stretches in a 10 minute morning stretch routine

10-Minute Morning Stretch Routine

The best way to start the day — with these seven morning stretches!

Whether you sit at a desk all day or you’re a fitness enthusiast, you can benefit from this 10-Minute Morning Stretch Routine.

This full body mobility routine releases tight muscles, reduce soreness, increases flexibility and mobility and ultimately KEEPS YOU MOVING!

Add these morning stretches to your routine daily (or at a minimum 2-3 times a week).

Equipment:

A foam roller and optional lacrosse ball or tennis ball.

Don’t have a foam roller? This is the basic foam roller I have from Amazon ($16).

I’ll also use a lacrosse ball for 1-2 stretches, but you can sub a tennis ball or any hard ball will work.

Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Stretch Routine video at the top of this post. I’ll provide form cues and stretching benefits.

Alternatively, work through these seven morning stretches below at your own pace.

Note: hold tender points or trigger points for 30 seconds. Every body is different, and everyone will have different trigger points that are “stickier” or tighter than others. This stretch routine is meant to be an outline for you to customize to your bodies needs. 

7 Morning Stretches To Start Your Day

  1. Foam Roller Upper Back Roll
  2. Hip/Groin Roll + Quad Roll + Glute and Piriformis Roll (first on right leg, then on left leg)
  3. Child’s Pose with Arm Extension or Thoracic Spine Extension on Foam Roller
  4. Couch Stretch
  5. Half Kneeling Hip Opener (first on right leg, then on left leg)
  6. Neck and Trap Stretch (first on right side, then on left side)
  7. Lacrosse Ball Upper Back and Shoulder Mobility

1. Foam Roller Upper Back Roll

Stretches: Upper back and shoulders.

A lot of people tend to carry their stress in the upper back and shoulder area and this is a great way to work out knots, kinks or tightness in your upper back and shoulders.

upper back roll with foam roller

How to do an Upper Back Roll on a Foam Roller:

  1. Sit on the floor with the foam roller placed on the upper back (around the bottom of your sports bra), resting hands across your chest or behind your head.
  2. With knees bent, both heels flat on the floor and glutes slightly lifted off the mat, move the roller up your back towards your shoulders.
  3. Then exhale, contracting your abs as you lift your neck and shoulders slightly up to roll the foam roller back down to the mid-back. Think of doing a ‘half-crunch’ as the roller goes down the back.
  4. Then return to the starting position and repeat.

2. Hip Flexor/Groin Roll + Quad Roll (first on right leg, then on left leg)

Stretches: The lower anterior chain (front side of the body) — hips, hip flexors, groin, and quads.

This is personally where I spend the most time foam rolling. I have really tight hips and hip flexors, so I’ll spend a few breaths slowly shifting back and forth on the foam roller to open the hips.

Train Tip: Do you have knee pain? Foam roll your hips and quads. 

There are four quadriceps muscles and they all attach to the knee cap. Foam rolling the quads can improve the mobility of the knee (and decrease knee pain) and improve hip mobility.

Quad Roll with foam roller for knee pain

How to do a Quadriceps Roll on a Foam Roller:

  1. Lie face down with your right leg on top of the foam roller so it’s against your upper thigh.
  2. Shift as much weight onto the foam roll as tolerable.
  3. While trying to relax the muscles of the thigh, roll over the area between your hip and knee.
  4. Repeat on the left leg.

3. Child’s Pose with Arm Extension or Thoracic Spine Extension on Foam Roller

Stretches: The posterior chain (backside of the body) — low back, upper back, and thoracic spine (from tailbone to neck).

You should feel a stretch along your spine as you lengthen from tailbone to fingertips. This stretch is also great for opening the hips.

Child's Pose morning stretch

How to do Thoracic Spine Extension on a Foam Roller:

  1. Start in child’s pose position; big toes to touch, hips open pushing hips back towards your heels. With the hands on the foam roller, thumbs up towards the ceiling.
  2. Roll the arms forward, extending your arms as far away from your hips as possible and allowing your head to fall between your arms. Maintaining a neutral lower back.
  3. Hold the extension for 5-10 seconds, continuing to reach your fingertips away from your body.
  4. Then roll hands back towards the body and repeat extension roll out.

4. Couch Stretch

Commonly called the couch stretch because you rest your back foot on a couch. I’m improvising using my foam roller here. 

Stretches: Hips, targeting your hip flexors, which are the muscles in the front of your hip, and quads. You use these muscles when you pull your knees to your chest.

A great stretch if you sit at a desk all day and have tight hip flexors.

couch stretch for tight hip flexors

How to do the Couch Stretch: 

  1. Bend your right knee and place your right shin up close to the bottom of your couch; right foot on top of the couch cushion, shoelaces down. I’m using a foam roller as my couch in the example above.
  2. Keep your right thigh in line with your body. Shoulders over hips + right knee.
  3. Keep your hips square facing forward and a nice long spine from head to tailbone.
  4. Hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds. Repeat on left leg.

5. Half Kneeling Hip Opener

Stretches: inner thighs (adductors), hips, glutes, shoulders and chest.

Note, you can straighten your leg for an additional hamstring stretch.

kneeling hip opener stretch

How to do Half Kneeling Hip Openers: 

  1. Start kneeling, both knees on the ground, shoulders stacked over hips and knees.
  2. Step your right foot forward into a half kneeling position (kneeling on left knee).
  3. Guide your right leg towards the right side of your body, to a 45 degree angle or if possible to a 90 degree angle so your right hips is in line with your right knee.
  4. Guide your right hand down your right leg, striving for fingertips to meet right ankle or ground (palm out). Simultaneously, extend your left hand straight overhead.
  5. Hold this position, or rock up and down for 30-60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on left side of the body.

6. Neck and Trap Stretch 

Stretches: all the muscles in your neck supporting your head and upper spine — targeting the neck and upper trapezius muscles.

If you get tight, hunched shoulders when you’re stressed or at the end of the work day, this stretch is for you.

neck and trap stretch

How to do Neck and Trap Stretch: 

  1. Start standing or kneeling with feet/knees shoulder width apart underneath you.
  2. Gently place your right hand on the top left part of your head to guide your right ear towards your right shoulder; opening up the left side of your neck.
  3. Option to hold here or increase the stretch by wrapping your left arm behind you. Reaching left hand towards the middle of your back (palm facing out away from the body).
  4. Hold this stretch for 30-60 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side of the body.

7. Lacrosse Ball Upper Back and Shoulder Mobility

Note, you can also use a tennis ball or any small, hard ball for this. 

Stretches: scapular muscles — upper back and shoulder muscles and shoulder blades.

Using a lacrosse ball for self-myofascial release (aka, self-massage), can help break up the connective tissue surrounding your muscles that can get rigid from prolonged sitting, poor posture, or exercising.

Lacrosse Ball Upper Back and Shoulder Mobility

How to use a Lacrosse Ball for Upper Back and Shoulder Mobility: 

  1. Start seated or stand with your back against a wall.
  2. Place a lacrosse ball between the wall and your upper back. Position the ball on one side of your spine. Note, the lacrosse ball should never roll directly onto your spine.
  3. Slowly begin to shift the ball around your upper back until you find a tender spot. When you find a tender spot, hold for 30-60 seconds to release the tight or knotted muscles.

More Stretching + Mobility Routines:

Pin this Morning Stretch Routine

Daily Morning Stretch Routine

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2 comments
  1. Hi Lindsay! I recently discovered your website and at home workout videos. I absolutely love following along with your full length workout videos! I appreciate that they are 45 minutes or less! The fact that you are from MN and love yourself some Jesus is icing on the cake 😉 (something we both have in common). Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for all that you do to bring physical and spiritual fitness into our homes! Keep up the good work!

    Becky

    • Becky! Thank you for your kind words! I’m so glad you found my workout videos and are putting them to good use! Always fun to connect with other MN, Christian Women! Keep up the great work and thanks for following along! -Lindsey