Improve your hip mobility and release tension in your back with this trainer's favorite stretch

The World’s Greatest Stretch is the ideal move for limbering up your body

A woman performs a modified version of the World's Greatest Stretch in a light, airy living room filled with leafy plants
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you only have a few minutes to work on your mobility, you should do the World’s Greatest Stretch—I’m a certified trainer and always recommend this move to clients.

It engages and stretches out loads of muscles in your core, hips, and lower body. Plus it opens up your chest and allows you to get a satisfying rotation in the thoracic spine (upper-middle back). On top of this, it challenges your balance and stability, helping you feel more aware of your body before you jump into a workout.

I also love it because it simply feels good. It’s a satisfying stretch after a day hunched over a desk (more on that below). Here’s how to do it.

How to do the World's Greatest Stretch

  • Start in a high plank position, making sure your shoulders are stacked over your wrists.
  • Bring your right foot up next to your right hand so that you are in a low lunge position.
  • Lift your right hand off the floor, bend your elbow and rotate your body to the left, threading your right arm through the gap between your left arm and leg.
  • Then rotate in the opposite direction, bringing your right arm up towards the ceiling, and letting your gaze follow your hand. Repeat on both sides five times.
  • If you need an easier variation, try dropping your back knee onto the ground.

Why this move is so good for the hips and spine

This move is great for increasing hip and thoracic spine mobility. Your hips and spine can suffer if you sit too much; muscles around the hips can become tighter and weaker, which limits your range of motion, and your spinal mobility can decrease too.

Doing this stretch regularly helps reverse that damage. The upper-body twist will mobilize your thoracic spine, which should feel satisfying after a day at the desk, and the move will also work your hips through external and internal rotation. T

Try doing it every few hours during the day and you should feel more limber when you finish your 9-5. You could also pair it with these hip-strengthening exercises.

Maddy Biddulph

Maddy Biddulph is a freelance journalist specializing in fitness, health and wellbeing content. With 26 years in consumer media, she has worked as a writer and editor for some of the bestselling newspapers, magazines and websites in the US and UK. 

She is also a qualified L3 personal trainer and weight loss advisor, and helps women over 40 navigate menopause by improving their physical and mental strength. At Maddy Biddulph Personal Training, she runs one-to-one and small group training for menopausal women who want to get fit to ease symptoms and feel like themselves again.