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In this article, we take a look as some of the best stretching routines for building flexibility and improving joint mobility.
We know that mobility and flexibility are important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to moving freely and performing to our potential.
Below you’ll find some of the most effective stretching routines and exercises to help free things up.
I’ve thrown a few of my own routines in there, but there’s plenty of variety. You’ll find a nice mixture of dynamic mobility exercises and joint articulation workouts, and a few basic static flexibility vids thrown in too.
Most are full body stretching routines, but some that are more focussed on specific problem areas – like the shoulders, jaw and hips.
The cool thing is that other than maybe a few resistance bands and a foam roller, all you need is your own bodyweight, an open space, and an open mind.
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The Hero Warmup is one of the first full body stretching routines I put out, and it’s still one I go back to to this day. You’ll find a nice mixture of gentle dynamic stretches, moving from head to toe and covering just about every major joint movement.
The Queen of YouTube yoga! Adriene’s channel is one I come back to again and again.
Following along with her classes is always a delightful experience. Her cues are seamless and always on point, and her delivery is second to none.
A huge inspiration as a coach, and a gift to the world of movement & yoga!
The brainchild of Dr. Eric Goodman, Foundation Training involves numerous decompression techniques, which essentially involves lengthening the spine and focussing on proper breathing mechanics.
Their signature move the Founder is one of the best I’ve come across in terms of addressing a myriad of postural issues – core instability, lower back pain and rounded shoulders to name a few. I actually include a variation of it in The HERO Warm Up above for this very reason.
Their short beginners routine above is a great introduction to the main concepts of the program. And if you want to get stuck in with more detail, I highly recommend the book: True to Form – How to Use Foundation Training for Sustained Pain Relief and Everyday Fitness.
Another stretching routine from the Hero Movement library.
This is one of my favourites for freeing up the thoracic – an area that most of us struggle with.
We get a nice bit of rotation, extension and flexion through the mid-back – always leaves e feeling less restricted.
Emmet is another one of my go-to sources for anything movement and mobility-related. It may look a little strange on the surface, but his joint rotation routine feels so damn good. Cool flute music too.
I also highly recommend checking out Emmet’s Blackboard for some of the theory behind various stretching modalities.
I belive Antranik is a mod over at r/bodyweight fitness. If you’re looking to get in shape using minimal equipment and you haven’t checked out that subreddit, I highly recommend you do.
Antranik’s Yoga for Posture Routine is a great one to add into your training schedule a few times a week if you’re looking to become a more flexible, well-rounded athlete.
Since I first put out this post back in 2015, the Bodyweight Warrior has become the go-to channel for all things mobility.
His loaded mobility routine is awesome, and he does a great job of explaining each exercise and giving variations for programming.
As well as a load of good stuff on mobility, Tom’s channel is jam-packed full of content related to bodyweight training, nutrition and recovery. Definitely worth checking out.
GMB are another one of my go-to sources for movement and mobility info, and a massive source of inspiration with regards to how they structure their content.
I could have picked any number of their videos to include in this post, but I thought I’d share one of their take on locomotion. The animal movements are such a great way to test your mobility, prep your body for more advanced movements (squats, handstands etc), and as Ryan explains in the vid – just to have fun with.
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Ido’s banded shoulder mobility routine is a classic. Great for prepping the upper body for working on the rings or handbalancing.
A beginner-friendly flow where we open up through the shoulder, thoracic, hips and more. No equipment required. Nice and simple.
I first stumbled upon Scott’s work when he made an appearance on the Rewild Yourself health and fitness podcast.
The long time martial artist and fitness coach presents some pretty out of the box ideas when it comes to movement and mobility.
The above video is just a sampler of Scott’s work. If you want to follow along with a free full-length stretching routine, I recommend checking out his Recuper8 program. It was originally designed for service men and women but is applicable to anyone looking to get more mobile.
Dr. Spina is the founder of Functional Range Conditioning, a movement system aimed at helping you develop a combination of mobility, joint strength and total body control.
The video above is a great floor routine for opening up your hips and improving active range of motion. One of the main takeaways from FRC is developing strength in those end ranges, as opposed to just being able to get into those positions, which is something I’m fully behind.
Eric is someone I was introduced to by one of my tutors at the FFT Academy, where I completed my Personal Trainer qualification.
I’ve yet to delve deeply into his work, but what I’ve seen so far has been really useful. Working through his Must Try Mobility Drills will leave you feeling ready for pretty much anything. Lifting, hiking, wrestling… Go for it.
I smashed my mouth up pretty badly as a little boy during a run-in with a tree, and ever since then have had a nagging case of clicky jaw syndrome – aka TMJ.
This little routine from world-renowned flexibility coach Kit Laughlin really helps. It’s also great for anyone with a forward head carriage and tight upper traps (which is most of us).
As well as the jaw sequence, Kit has a load of great videos over on his channel all about getting super strong and flexible.
Do Yoga With Me is a great resource for free stretching routines, and this is a lovely flow from instructor Fiji McAlpine (who may have the coolest name I’ve ever heard).
It’s a great introduction to yoga, and is actually one of the stretching routines I was performing on a regular basis when I first started the long old process of rebuilding my foundations.
The last routine from me that I’ll link to. This one is a simple hip opening sequence – great for a quick tune up, or for prepping your joints for a lower-body focussed training session.
Alan is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to picking up heavy stuff, putting it back down again, and much more.
His full-body warm up is great for anyone looking to get stronger and perform better. Mobility means more range of motion, which means more potential to generate force.
He also has an epic beard.
Kellen is a fellow coach over on the Playbook platform.
I’ve been following him (not in person, just online) since he hosted the MovNat Instagram challenge a while back.
Above is his simple joint by joint mobility workout, which in many ways is similar to the HERO Warm Up Stretching Routine.
No resource guide on mobility and joint prep would be complete without something from the Supple Leopard himself, Kelly Starrett.
If you’re anyone with a body that wants to move and perform better, Mobility WOD (now The Ready State) is one of those must-subscribe-to YouTube channels.
I could have listed any of the hundreds of videos Kelly has posted over the years, but the above shoulder mob is a good starting point.
Jill is one of the best in the business when it comes to myofascial release, and combining it with the dynamic and static flexibility that comes with yoga.
The above vid on releasing the upper traps is one of many golden gems in the Yoga Tune Up series that you should check out. Great for anyone who suffers from any sort of neck pain or shoulder discomfort.
When I first saw Tim’s surname I thought it was “Sensei”, which would have been amazing. Senesi is still great, but anyways…
If you stop by Tim’s channel you’ll find a ton of great yoga workouts. Above is a longer class that opens up the whole body. The meditation at the end is nice too.
So there we have it – 21 stretching routines for you to experiment with.
Let me know how you get on, and if you have any questions.
Have a healthy, heroic day, and I’ll catch you soon!
Bonus Stretching & Mobility Resources:
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I workout regularly — lifting weights and doing some cardio. But I have been wanting to make mobility and flexibility more of a priority. So I recently signed up for ROMWOD. I used to go to a deep stretch yoga class once a week and really enjoyed the physical and psychological benefits. This is similar, but a little easier because I can do it in my own home. Have you heard of it? Curious about your thoughts.
Hi Harini! Yep I’ve heard through a friend a little bit about ROMWOD – nothing but good things!
Don’t know enough to comment on it properly but it does seem like a good concept and it’s something I’ll definitely look into!
Have you noticed improvements since you started?
Hey Luke. I found your blog after you left a comment on one of my posts. I’ve only just had a proper chance to take a look or your content and there is some great stuff here. The mobility post caught my eye as that’s an area I’ve been working on a lot over the last 6 months or so. This is a great list of experts in there field, a few guys I’ve been reading up on myself and some new stuff to try out.
One recommendation not on the list is Coach Christopher Sommer and his courses on Gymnastic Bodies. It’s great for strength and mobility work – some of their content is paid for courses but you can find tons of stuff on YouTube, Instagram etc….. and Coach Sommer has been on Tim Ferriss’s Podcast a couple of times as well so a bit of searching online and you’ll find some good content.
Hey Lucas! Thanks man, much appreciated 🙂 Cool to hear that you;ve been getting into mobility stuff – how’s it going for you so far?
Yep I’m a big fan of Coach Sommer’s work an enjoyed both episodes he did on Tim’s show. I’m actually putting together another big mobility post that looks at joint specific mobility work, and will defintiely be including some of his stuff!
Nice compilation, I knew most of them so we seem to dig into similar sources 🙂 I like how all different practices, or different ways of practicing, express in a completely different way throught each person. Everybody on these videos is into mobility/flexibility, but their bodies look and speak in very diverse ways. Keep up the good job gathering valuable information!
Thanks for stopping by Niki – great minds thing alike haha 😉 It’s one of the reasons why I love exploring movement so much – there’s so much we can learn from so many different people and disciplines! It’s an endless journey 🙂