Some days, you don’t have time for anything more than the bare minimum.
You’re busy. Life is challenging.
But a bit of light stretching in the morning can help keep your body feeling good all day.
This minimal morning mobility routine will give you just what you need without taking up time and energy that could be put to better use.
Loosen All Your Major Joints
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4-Minute Minimal Morning Mobility Routine
The Bare Minimum Morning Stretches
If you only have 30 seconds before you have to run out the door, the A-Frame to Squat is your new best friend.
The A-frame will stretch our your shoulders and thoracic spine, all the way down your hamstrings to your calves. And no, it’s not the same as the downward dog… The squat opens up the hips, and moving between the two positions will work both the hips and shoulders though a nice range of motion.
The quadruped thoracic circles add more spinal movement as well as core activation. In the mornings, I find this one helps relax any neck / shoulder tension.
The lunges extend the hip flexors, which tend to be chronically tight for those of us who spend too much time sitting down all day. That push against the rear foot is also kinda stealth great for stretching out your soles and strengthening your toes.
If you’re shot on time, you can stop there and feel confident that you’ve done something good for yourself.
Bonus Mobility Exercises
If you’ve got additional time, there’s all kinds of things you could add…
The trick is not to go crazy and try to squeeze in too much.
A few things to consider:
- Hanging from a bar
- Working on your feet, ankles, or wrists
- Working on your breathing
It almost doesn’t matter what you choose, and I actually recommend changing these up every couple of weeks, both to keep the routine feeling fresh and to explore different movements for greater body awareness.
Morning Mobility Routine Questions
💪 Can I do more?
Sure, you can always do more.
In a perfect world, we’d all be independently wealthy and outrageously attractive, with all the time in the world to optimize our AM routines. Cold shower, sun exposure, breathing exercises, meditation, gratitude journaling, and of course… butter coffee. 🙄
This is a minimal routine we put together specifically for people who don’t want more.
If you want a longer routine, we also made a full-body joint mobility video you can do when you have more time, and there’s also specific resources for any body area you think needs more focus.
😢 What if I can’t do one of the movements?
Do something else!
There are over 7 billion people on this planet, and not a single exercise that’s appropriate for all of them.
If you’re unable to do one of the movements because of a mobility restriction, that’s something you can address. If it’s an injury or other medical condition, you may simply need to ask your doctor or a physical therapist about alternatives.
The one thing you absolutely should not do is convince yourself that you can’t improve.
Since we started GMB back in 2010, I’ve heard from people with every challenge you can imagine – debilitating neurological conditions, severe obesity, advanced age (over 100), catastrophic injuries – who have managed to gain greater degrees of physical autonomy and capability. I’m willing to bet you can too.
Just don’t expect that four minutes every morning is going to get you as strong as somebody like Ryan or turn you into a ninja.
Do what you can, and keep moving.
😟 What if I miss a day?
No worries – try again tomorrow.
Consistency is important, but perfection is not required, even if it were possible.
Changing our habits is hard, but with practice, you can learn to follow a consistent routine. Just go easy on yourself in the beginning and keep at it.
Every morning is a new chance.
🧘 Why not just do yoga?
Yoga is fine. I practiced it for a couple of years. Ryan and Jarlo both practiced it intensively and taught yoga back in the dark mists of the time before GMB.
But we don’t really do it anymore. Here’s how we look at the difference between yoga and GMB programs.
Yoga is OK. If you like it, do it!
If that’s not your thang, that’s all right, and there are loads of wonderful alternatives, including ours.
How to Take Your Morning Routine Even Further
If you were to simply roll out of bed and spend four minutes doing the bare minimum routine above, you’d be on-track to feel stronger and more relaxed heading into the day.
But if you wanna take things a bit further, Ryan and I pooled our insights from over 32,493 mornings to share:
- Ryan’s personal AM routine template – the two factors that really make a difference
- Keeping your routine resilient when things are hectic or life throws you a curveball
- Finding the right fit for you instead of copying what someone else tells you to do
…all delivered straight to your ear canal in classic GMB style 🙂
Rant Level: 🤷♂️ mild // Practicality: 🧰 high
And since great mornings start the night before…
Unlock Your Body’s Full Range of Motion
Feeling tight and stiff isn’t just inconvenient; it can hold you back from important activities or lead to chronic pain.
Using this morning mobility routine as often as you can will have a huge impact on helping you feel freer in your body and more capable of doing whatever you want and need to.
When you want to make significant improvement to your full-body mobility, our best-selling GMB Mobility training program will help you do that.
Free Up Your Whole Body and Move Better Than Ever
Over 101,371 clients from 102 countries have used GMB programs to feel stronger and more capable in their bodies. You should join them 🙂