A Quick, 5-Minute Mobility Workout Routine to Energize Your Morning

Photo: W+G Creative
Instead the jolt of a blaring alarm waking you up, wouldn’t it be much better to ease into things with a quick mobility session that wakes up your body and mind with a sense of calm? In five minutes, a mobility workout routine can take your morning from a rushed blur and turn it into a ritual of self-care.

This short workout—part of our brand-new Mobility Movement of the Month Club—sets the tone for a day filled with energy and focus. Whether you're gearing up for back-to-back meetings or preparing for a weekend at home with your kids, these simple, effective mobility exercises are designed to help you wake up ready to slay.

Experts In This Article

For March 2024, we’ve tapped Alicia Rios, CSCS, personal trainer and programming manager for Bold, an at-home, digital fitness platform, to be our Movement of the Month trainer. She’s dedicated her career to creating personalized exercise programs for people who want to maintain strength, mobility, and independence as they age.

Below, Rios demonstrates each of the six moves, which you can then combine into a feel-good flow. If you’re following along with this month, you’ll do one move each day, Monday through Saturday. Then on Sunday, you’ll combine all the moves together into the full 5-minute mobility workout routine.

If you're doing the full routine, each move for 50 seconds (25 seconds on each leg, where necessary) before moving on to the next one, for a total of 5 minutes. If you’re feeling especially tight or if you have more time, feel free to do each move for as long as feels good.

1. Quadruped Rock Back

Quadruped rock backs are excellent for increasing mobility in the hips and spine, as well as for warming up your body before a more intense workout.

  1. Start on your hands and knees on a comfortable surface. Ensure your knees are below your hips, and your wrists are under your shoulders. Keep your spine neutral.
  2. Engage your core by drawing your belly button toward your spine.
  3. Slowly push your hips back toward your heels, keeping your hands firmly planted on the ground. Go as far back as you can without letting your lower back round.
  4. Hold the back position for a moment to feel a stretch through your hips, thighs, and lower back. Keep your arms straight to help you stretch through the shoulders as well.
  5. Return to the starting position by moving your hips forward, aligning them over your knees.
  6. Repeat 6 to 8 times.

2. Cat-Cow

Cat-cow—which you may have done in yoga class—is an excellent way to warm up the body and bring flexibility to the spine, promoting better posture and reducing tension in the back and neck.

  1. Start in a tabletop position, on your hands and knees with your back straight.
  2. For cow pose, inhale as you lift your sit bones and chest toward the ceiling, allowing your belly to sink toward the floor. Lift your head to look forward or slightly upward, being careful not to strain your neck.
  3. To transition to cat, exhale as you round your spine upward, drawing your belly to your spine and bringing your chin to your chest. Imagine pulling the middle of your back toward the ceiling, creating the shape of a scared cat.
  4. Continue to alternate between cow pose on your inhales and cat pose on your exhales for 5 to 8 times.

3. Thread the Needle

The thread the needle stretch improves mobility and flexibility through your back and shoulders.

  1. Begin on your hands and knees.
  2. Lift your left hand off the ground and reach it under your body toward the right, allowing your shoulder and the side of your head to lower to the floor. Your right arm should stay straight, supporting your weight as you twist.
  3. As you "thread" your left arm under your right, aim to stretch as far as comfortable. You should feel a stretch through your left shoulder and the thoracic (middle) region of your spine.
  4. Maintain this position, breathing deeply and allowing your muscles to relax into the stretch.
  5. Pull your left arm out, returning to the quadruped position.
  6. Reset your posture before repeating on the other side for 5 to 8 reps total.

4. Ankle Rock

This mobility move helps you achieve a better range of motion through your ankles, leading to stronger ankles and better balance.

  1. From all fours, step your right foot out, knees bent to 90 degrees, so that you’re in a lunge with your right foot and left knee and foot on the ground.
  2. Place your hands on either side of your right foot, or support yourself with both hands on your right knee.
  3. Rock forward so that your right knee extends over your right foot, keeping your spine in a neutral position.
  4. Release the stretch and rock back to the starting position, so that your right knee is directly over your right foot.
  5. Continue rocking back and forth.
  6. Switch legs and perform ankle rocks on the left side.

5. Supine Lumbar Rotation

This mobility move helps with any twisting movement you do throughout the day, as well as helping gently stretch out your lower back pain and relieving tension in the area.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet close together and on the ground. Spread your arms out to the sides in a T shape.
  2. Drop both knees to your left side, only going as far as you can without pain. Keep your shoulders pinned to the floor.
  3. Rotate your knees so that they’re back to the start and pointing up toward the ceiling.
  4. Now, drop both knees to your right side, only going as far as you can without pain.
  5. Continue rotating side to side.

6. Toe Touch Squat

The toe touch squat activates your hips and improves hip strength and flexibility.

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider, arms hanging at your sides. Engage your core.
  2. Hinge at your hips and bend forward, reaching your hands toward your toes. Keep your legs as straight as possible without locking your knees. If you can't touch your toes, reach as far as you comfortably can.
  3. Next, bend your knees and lower your hips down into a deep squat. Try to keep your heels on the ground.
  4. Push your hips back and straighten your legs to stand, keeping your hands on your toes.
  5. Repeat 5 to 8 times.
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