Rise and Shine: 8 Stretches You Should Do Each Morning

By , Suzanne Bowen, Creator of BarreAmped
One of the best ways to start your day in a healthy way is to take a moment to ground your thoughts by stretching and intentionally breathing.  It's amazing what you can accomplish in less than seven minutes to set your day on the right path.  
When you stretch deeply, you should always be warm.  So performing this series after a morning workout or after a hot shower is optimal. If you do it right out of bed, make sure you stretch more gently.  

Here are eight stretches to add to your morning routine to feel strong, flexible and grounded. These exercises cover all your major muscle groups and can be followed any time of day, including after your workouts.
Upper Back Release
Targets the upper back and back of shoulders.
Standing with feet hip-distance apart, clasp hands and round upper back keeping arms straight and active.

Think about the shoulder blades spreading wide across your back.

Hold stretch for 2-3 deep breaths.

Chest Release
Targets the chest, front of shoulders and biceps.
Holding a wall, door frame or window ledge with left arm, step forward with left leg and turn entire body to the right especially at the hips.  

Hold stretch for 4-6 deep breaths increasing stretch with the pivot at the hips.  Repeat on the other side.

Side Stretch
Targets the IT band (outer thigh), obliques and shoulders.
Standing with right hand on bed or wall, cross left leg in front of right leg, feet pointing forward.

Shift into the left hip and reach left arm up and over head, creating a long line from the left ankle to the left fingertips.  

Hold and take 2-3 deep inhales and exhales.  Repeat on right.

Seated Spinal Twist
Targets the spine, neck and shoulders.
Sitting on a chair or edge of bed with legs together, lengthen spine rotate from the waist, placing one hand behind you and the other hand on your outer thigh for support.

For a deeper stretch for the neck, turn your gaze to look over your shoulder as well.

Hold 2-3 deep breaths.  Repeat other side.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
Targets hamstrings.

Supporting yourself for balance as needed, bring right leg up onto a step or bench, increasing height as flexibility increases.  Keep legs hips distance and parallel and keep back leg straight (if possible) and front foot flexed.  

If you need to increase stretch, hinge at the hips (not the waist or back), keeping the spine completely straight.  Don't round the spine.

Take 4-6 deep breaths. Repeat other side.  
Standing Quad Stretch
Targets quadriceps.
Holding a chair, wall or bed for support, stand with feet hip-distance apart. Soften left knee and reach for your right foot or ankle, bending the right knee to point straight down to the floor.

Keep pelvis neutral and spine tall with the crown of your  head reaching to the ceiling.  

Hold for 4-6 deep breaths.  Repeat other side.

Outer Hip Stretch
Targets hips and outer thighs.

Lift left leg, knee bent, onto bed. Square off hips and make sure front knee is outside of front shoulder.

Keeping tailbone untucked and spine straight, hinge forward at the hips, placing hands on the bed for support.

Hold for 4-6 deep breaths then change sides.

Standing Forward Bend
Targets hamstrings and lower back.
Standing with feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips.  Allow your upper body to hang over your legs and clasp elbows.  

(Note: Do not "hang" from elbows if you have any lower back issues. Instead, place hands on floor or legs for support.)

Hold for 2-3 deep breaths while you gently shake your head no and even more gently nod your head yes.   To come up, pull in abs and gently round up one vertebra at a time.

What is your favorite way to start the day on a healthy note? Do you have a regular stretching routine?

About the Author
Suzanne Bowen encourages excellence, not perfection. Her mission is to inspire people to be the best versions of themselves that they can be. Classically trained at the prestigious Lotte Berk Method in NYC, Suzanne Bowen is the creator of Suzanne Bowen Fitness, an efficient mind-body technique that combines cutting-edge cardio, intelligent strengthening and dynamic stretching. Students flock to Suzanne because of her encouraging, no nonsense, straightforward teaching approach that provides targeted and overall results while guiding people to be the best they can be. From her training in modern and classical dance, Pilates, yoga and deep stretching, Suzanne has also developed the highly successful BarreAmped program that is licensed to over 50 studios worldwide and continues to grow under her tutelage. "BarreAmped" and "BarreAmped Boot Camp," are her newest DVDs and epitomize the best of her Barre targeted workouts.

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VFAITHFUL1 9/13/2018
Bend and stretch, reach for the stars. Here comes Jupiter, there goes Mars. Report
CKOUDSI617 6/10/2018
All great "looseners" to help us start our day! Thank you! Report
KATHYJO56 5/19/2018
great stretches Report
BONNIE1552 5/17/2018
Feels good to stretch. Report
MNABOY 5/12/2018
Thanks for shariing Report
PLATINUM755 5/5/2018
Excellent share! Report
PAULA3420 5/2/2018
Stretching makes a BIG difference in thew ay I feel throughout the day. THANKS for the tips. Report
LINDAC75 4/19/2018
Great stretches! Report
Awesome...thanks. for sharing.... Report
514613 2/26/2018
Great workout. Thanks for the help and motivation. https://dentalwhiteningsolutions.co
m/ Report
RAZZOOZLE 2/17/2018
fabulous morning stretches Report
Great stretches. Report
GUCOROGO 12/26/2017
These stretches are really wonderful and I love them. www.reconditionoldbatterylife.com / Report
KHALIA2 12/25/2017
I love to stretch after exercising. It makes me feel so good, afterward. Thanks for these great tips! Report
Good stretches, can do 5 now. By next Christmas hope to do all. Report
RAZZOOZLE 12/20/2017
I like these stretches Report
HAWKTHREE 12/15/2017
Thanks for this routine Report
LIS193 12/12/2017
These are great! Report
JAMER123 11/11/2017
I use these and it really helps the back pain. Good plan. Report
NELLJONES 11/9/2017
I can do early workouts when I'm on vacation, but on an ordinary day it's tough. Report
RYCGIRL 11/5/2017
thanks Report
COURTENAYE 10/26/2017
Adore these. Report
IRONADONIS 10/12/2017
Thanks Report
FOLAQIXE 9/27/2017
Stretching exercise will help you relax after workouts.
MUWIRIWU 9/25/2017
Stretching exercise is very necessary for all who are doing workouts.
www.thethoughtelevators.com Report
I like this. I'm going to do it right now! Thanks for sharing. :) Report
Doing this today. Report
I need to do this everyday. Report
I love doing stretches. I stretch after every work out usually. I have fibromyalgia and connective tissue disease. Believe me, stretching is really helpful. Report
These are great. I can even manage most of this in my office when I get sick of being on the computer.
Thank you Report
thanks for sharing these Report
Thanks. Report
These 8 stretches are awesome and must for everyone. www.lisapregnancymiracle.com / Report
Thanks for letting me know about these stretches. www.removehemorrhoidsplan.com / Report
I love morning strecthes but dont always remember to do them!! Report
Wake up every day vowing to do one positive action to move you closer to your goal. Report
Doing exercise for weight loss everyday in morning. http://thediabetesloopholepdf.com / Report
Look for the best exercise you shall do in the morning. http://getexboyfriendguide.com / Report
Just printed these off and am off to do them now! I will have them by my bedside to do tomorrow morning first thing! (after my bladder call that is)
It would be nice to see adjusted poses for people with limited disabilities Report
Great stretches I feel ready for the day. Report
Umm, no! Standing quad stretch is a no-no - very bad for knees, hyper-extending! You will never find me doing them! Report
Great! I can do these beside my bed! Report
I do most of these at least 3 times a week. Going to try to make it daily. Report
I loved the stretches and I will do these 2 times a day the rest of my life if possible. Thank you Report
I have to stretch every morning before I get out of bed so that I can stand up straight. I'm going to save these stretches to my favorites for after exercising. I love the way stretches make you feel! Report
I love these stretches. Report
Excellent stretching routine. I will start this today. Report
wow this is easy I can do at home and work Report
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