Strength training is fantastic for your health, but you wouldn't think that the morning after a heavy session. Instead of rolling out the red carpet to celebrate your exercise efforts, your body rewards you with a hefty dose of DOMS—otherwise known as delayed-onset muscle soreness.
After a particularly brutal leg workout left me feeling worse for wear, I decided to see if a few morning stretches would help limber me up. The routine I plumped for was a six-move stretching session from fitness trainer Alice Liveing—creator of the Give Me Strength training app.
Watch Alice Liveing's morning stretching routine
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How to do Alice Liveing's morning stretching routine
There are six exercises in this routine; cat-cows, abductor rockers with rotation, world's greatest stretch, squat with forward fold, YTWs and heel rockers. You can watch Liveing's video for demonstrations of each exercise.
How you structure these moves is up to you—I chose to work through each of the exercises for one minute each, switching legs after 30 seconds during the abductor rockers to ensure both sides of my body were getting equal attention.
My verdict on Alice Liveing's morning stretching routine
This routine gave me a really satisfying full-body stretch and it didn't require any equipment.
The rotational exercises and YTWs both opened up and built strength in my shoulders—a body part which, between regular CrossFit training and hunching over a laptop for eight hours, takes a bit of a battering.
The abductor rockers activated under-used stabilizing muscles around my hips, while my knees and spine were also worked through a full range of motion.
The result? My body felt slightly stronger, more flexible and refreshed after doing it. There were still the remnants of my post-squat DOMS, but I still felt impressively refreshed after just six minutes of work.
That brings me on to my next point. Liveing's routine was also short enough that I was able to slip it into my usual morning plans without upsetting the apple cart, making me more likely to do it again.
After all, a six-minute routine you're able to do is going to be far more effective than an hour-long stretch you can't find time for.
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Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.
Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.
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