25 morning stretch routines to release sore shoulders, spines and hips

Morgan Fargo
·8-min read
Photo credit: skaman306 - Getty Images
Photo credit: skaman306 - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

If you've been meaning to do morning stretches but keep "forgetting" and then sitting hunched over a desk or kitchen table all day, listen up. Taking a few minutes in the morning to wake up sleepy muscles and loosen tight shoulders and hips can be the difference between feeling super sore and energised.

"Stretching is beneficial at any time of the day, but particularly in the morning to awaken the senses, get the blood flowing and kick start your mind, ready for the day ahead. In the morning, our natural inclination is to stretch, most people do it without thinking," says Rachele Gilman, Director of Stretch inc., specialists in assisted stretching.

"When we sleep, bodies are relatively still, meaning our muscles haven't moved for a significant amount of time. The intuitive full-body stretch is your brain letting your body know it's time to move. The movement starts to realign your body," she explains.

We rounded up 25-morning stretch routines to give you some failsafe options or to inspire inspiration. Whatever you need to get up and get moving first thing.

What are the best stretches to do in the morning?

Firstly, the best stretches to do in the morning are the ones you actually do. It's all well and good to plan the perfect routine and then never do it – it doesn't make it any better.

Secondly, there are some stretches that are better to do than others in the morning. Dynamic stretches – where you breathe and move during each stretch – are usually the better choice for muscles that aren't warmed up yet.

Static stretches – where you hold each pose for a certain period of time – should only really be done when your muscles are warmed up from activity or general use during the day.

"Stretching right out of bed in the morning is not a good idea, but once you are up and moving for a bit then stretching is a great way start to your day. Static stretching, which is lengthening a muscle and holding it in a lengthened position, is not advised first thing out of bed and the reason for this is the lack of blood flow to the muscles," explains Dr Amy Hoover physiotherapist at P.volve.

"Once you are up and moving around for 10 minutes or so, then you can do more of a dynamic stretch. A dynamic stretch is a lengthening of the muscle with movement, which helps to stretch but also get the blood flowing to the muscles to help improve length and elasticity."

Is it good to stretch in the morning?

Yes, and there are a number of reasons why. Stretching in the morning can:

  • Release tension

  • Improve posture

  • Reduce stress

  • Improve circulation and blood flow

  • Help to reduce feelings of drowsiness

  • Help to prevent sports injuries during exercise

25-morning stretch routines to wake up your spine, hips, glutes and shoulders

From full-body to anti-desk stretches, we've rounded up a number of routines to get you feeling loose and limber before your coffee has even kicked in. Remember though, go at your own pace as your muscles won't be warm first thing in the morning.

"It's important to stretch slowly and gently because your muscles aren't warmed up yet so try not to go in full pelt as this can lead to overstretching or cause an injury," reminds award-winning Osteopath, Anisha Joshi,

1. Shona Vertue's morning mobility stretch routine

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  • Trainer: Shona Vertue

  • Focus: Spine

Join Aussie PT Shona for a 3-move mobility sequence to wake up your spine first thing.

2. Alice Liveing's Morning Movement stretch

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  • Trainer: Alice Liveing

  • Focus: Full body

Alice Liveing's morning movement routine is all about releasing tension across your whole body. Focus on your breath and spend a few extra seconds on each exercise if you feel you need it.

3. Wake Up Well yoga stretch sequence

  • Trainer: Cat Meffan

  • Focus: Full body

Inspired by her yoga classes, Cat Meffan's short stretchy flow is designed to wake you up happy.

4. 5-minute morning stretches

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  • Trainer: Liv

  • Focus: Full body

Need something quick and easy to save to your phone? Look no further than yoga teacher Liv's one-pager. The nine exercises are designed to open up your shoulders, hips and spine.

5. Seated morning stretches to do at your desk

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  • Trainer: Minnie Samengo-Turner

  • Focus: Upper back and shoulders

Join instructor Minnie Samengo-Turner for a seated stretch routine that requires nothing more than a chair and promises to release tension in your upper back, shoulders and neck.

6. Chair mobility morning stretch sequence

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  • Trainer: Shona Vertue

  • Focus: Full body

Another seated winner, Shona Vertue's full-body mobility morning stretch sequence is brilliant if you like to train in the early AM. Improve your range of motion (and athletic performance) with the easy to follow routine.

7. Mid-morning stretches

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  • Trainer: Alice Liveing

  • Focus: Hips, shoulders and spine

So you didn't get up first thing and stretch, it's not the end of the world. Take some time out of your mid-morning for these relaxing stretches with Alice Liveing.

8. Morning stretches to relieve upper body tension

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  • Trainer: Alice Liveing

  • Focus: Upper body

Or, if you're in the market for something more localised in its effect, go for Liveing's upper-body specific morning stretch routine.

9. Standing morning stretches

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  • Trainer: Amanda Bisk

  • Focus: Full body

After lying down all night, it can feel so good to stand up and stretch everything out. Amanda Bisk's six-move standing stretch routine will open up your whole body and help create a relaxed 'loose' feeling before you dive into the day.

10. Gentle morning stretches

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  • Trainer: Alice Liveing

  • Focus: Gentle full body

Take the ante down a notch with some gentle stretching care of Alice Liveing.

11. Morning stretch mobility

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  • Trainer: Darren Tomasso

  • Focus: Full body

PT Darren suggests doing six reps of each exercise and repeating the entire set through once or twice, depending on how you're feeling.

12. Feel good morning stretches

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  • Trainer: Amanda Bisk

  • Focus: Full body

We love anything with "feel good" in the title and Amanda Bisk's morning stretch routine is just that. Energise and invigorate your whole body with these stretches.

13. Morning stretches to release tight shoulders

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  • Trainer: Minnie Samengo-Turner

  • Focus: Shoulders

There's nothing worse than sore shoulders and Minnie's here to keep them at bay for a while longer. You'll move through four simple shoulder exercises in this sequence. Breathe deeply and evenly for max effect.

14. Easy beginner morning stretch routine

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  • Trainer: Kayla Itsines

  • Focus: Beginner full body

She's the queen of home workouts and Kayla Itsines has a stretching routine that works for beginners and more experienced exercisers alike. The whole thing should take you just over five and a half minutes so there are no excuses not to get it done.

15. Full body morning stretches

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  • Trainer: Kate Amber

  • Focus: Full body flexibility

Improve your flexibility with five morning stretches designed to wake up your body and increase your range of motion.

16. Spinal morning stretches to do before work

  • Trainer: Nahid de Belgeonne

  • Focus: Spine and back

Find some space in your morning to wae up your spine before sitting down all day. Nahid will talk you through the spinal freshen-up.

17. Seated morning stretches for sore shoulders

  • Trainer: Nahid de Belgeonne

  • Focus: Shoulders

Another one from yoga teacher Nahid, release sore shoulders with this quick seated morning stretch.

18. 5-minute morning stretch routine

  • Trainer: Joanna Soh

  • Focus: Full body

It's a speedy stretch session that requires nothing but a yoga mat and a little bit of time. Follow Soh's lead for a brilliant start to the day.

19. 10-minute Yoga morning stretch routine

  • Trainer: Kassandra Reinhardt

  • Focus: Full body

Yoga with Reinhardt is a bit of a YouTube sensation. From her beginner friendly flows to more complex classes, there really is something for everyone. She actually has a free 30-day morning stretch plan on her YouTube channel, too.

20. 10-minute energy-boosting morning stretches

  • Trainer: Cassey Ho (Blogilates)

  • Focus: Full body

Find energy and endorphins with Cassey Ho and her positivity-filled 10-minute morning stretch routine.

21. 15-minute gentle morning stretch routine

  • Trainer: Shona Vertue

  • Focus: Gentle full body

Follow along with Shona for her go-to morning stretches. Expect to feel looser, more limber and ready to get after your to-do list.

22. 15-minute full-body morning stretch routine

  • Trainer: Mady Morrison

  • Focus: Relaxing full body

A short, balanced class to fill up your flexibility, mobility and relaxation cups. Morrison suggests doing this routine daily to reap the full reward.

23. 24-minute energising morning stretch routine with blocks

  • Trainer: Arianna Elizabeth

  • Focus: Energising full body

You'll need two blocks for Elizabeth's energising Monday morning stretch routine. You'll use them for shoulder, hip and back releasing stretches which feel just as good as they sound.

24. 25-minute full-body stretch routine (morning or evening)


  • Trainer: Nicole McPherson

  • Focus: Full body

She's a YouTube Pilates sensation and Move with Nicole is back with a stretching routine to keep you strong and pain-free.

25. 30-minute morning yoga stretch for beginners

  • Trainer: Arundhati Baitmangalkar

  • Focus: Beginner friendly full body

Get your day started right with Arundhati's Yoga-inspired morning stretch routine. It's slightly longer but that'll just add to how good you feel after.

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