Get Bendy with these 17 Best Flexibility Exercises

If you don’t give flexibility exercises much attention in your usual workout routine (I get it, you want to build muscle and break a sweat!), hear me out: Though it may not sound as exciting as a six-pack, flexibility is key to feeling mobile, agile, and strong in our bodies.

Time: 10-20 minutes

Equipment: none

Good for: full-body flexibility and mobility

Instructions: Choose five to 10 flexibility exercises to focus on. Complete each exercise, pose, or stretch for the indicated amount of time, then immediately move on to the next. Once you’ve finished all of the moves, repeat each a second time. For maximum bendy results, incorporate some variation of this routine every day.

Cat-Cow

Cat-Cow Exercise

How to: Start on all fours with hands directly under shoulders and knees under hips. Inhale and arch spine so belly sinks down while face and tailbone lift upwards. (This is cow pose.) Then, exhale and push into hands and knees to hollow belly, round spine, and tuck chin towards chest. (This is cat pose.) That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Airplane

How to: Start ying facedown with legs straight and arms at sides with palms facing down. Inhale, draw shoulders back and down, and lift chest, arms, and legs up as high as comfortable, keeping neck long. Hold for a few moments, then lower back down with control. That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Fallen Triangle

How to: Start in high plank with wrists beneath elbows, body straight, and core tight. Then, pull right knee toward chest and slide right foot outside of left hand, coming to balance on edge of foot. Draw left hand up toward ceiling and rotate torso to face extended leg. Hold for one breath, then reverse the movement to return to plank position. Repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Lizard Pose Flexibility Exercises

How to: Start in a low lunge with right foot outside right hand and left leg extended straight back. Keep spine long and core engaged, then slowly lower onto forearms. Hold for five to eight deep breaths, allowing hips to relax and open with each exhale. Push up through hands to return to low lunge. That’s one rep. Perform three.

Wide Fold

How to: Start standing with feet wider than shoulders and parallel. Hinge at hips to bring torso in front of thighs, allowing head to relax and shifting weight toward balls of feet to open up backs of legs. Hold for a few breaths, then return to standing. That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Low Lunge Twist

That’s one rep. Perform three to five. Tip: Keep back leg engaged and lift up out of hand on the floor.

Seated Forward Fold Flexibility Exercises

Hinge at hips to reach chest forward and fold over legs, grabbing shins, ankles, or feet with hands. Hold for a few breaths, then release. That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Figure Four

How to: Start lying on back, bend knees to 90 degrees, and lift feet into air. Then, hook right ankle over left thigh (just above knee) and interlace hands over left hamstring. Exhale and draw left knee toward chest, feeling left hip and glutes opening. Hold for a few breathes, then release and repeat on the other side. That’s one rep. Perform three.

Puppy Pose

That’s one rep. Perform three to five. Tip: Draw ribs and belly in to lengthen spine.

Interlaced Forward Fold

Hold for a few breaths, then release and return to standing. That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Wide Straddle Flexibility Exercises

Hold for a few breaths, then push through feet to return to standing and repeat on other side. That’s one rep. Perform three.

Tip: Focus on lengthening through both sides of torso while keeping hips stable and facing forward.

Shoulder Rolls Flexibility Exercises

How to: Start standing with feet just wider than hips. Roll both shoulders up toward ears, then down back. That’s one rep. Perform 10.

Head Rolls

That’s one rep. Perform 10, then switch directions and do 10 more.

Figure-8s

That’s one rep. Perform 10, then switch directions and do 10 more.

Tip: This stretch is great for achy wrists and tight forearms often caused by lots of texting and typing.

Forearm Stretch

Hold for five breaths, then switch sides and repeat. That’s one rep. Perform three.

Tip: This stretch is great for achy wrists and tight forearms often cause by lots of texting and typing.

Wide Squat With Twists Flexibility Exercises

That’s one rep. Perform three to five.

Pro tip: Don’t allow knees to fall inward during twists.

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