30-day flexibility challenge for beginners: move easier with our simple plan

Based on classic yoga moves, our 30-day flexibility challenge will give your body a sprightly new lease of life

An older woman demonstrates her flexibility by grabbing her foot from behind
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Welcome to our 30-day flexibility challenge, designed to give your body a new lease of life.

Age, stress and a working life spent hunched over a computer can cause poor posture and stiffness - which can not only result in aches and pains, but also add years to your appearance. 

But with our 30-day program you can start to undo that damage, improving your flexibility and posture in just a couple of minutes a day. All you need to get started is a mat (take a look at our pick of the best yoga mats if you don't own one already) and a commitment to improve.

Luckily, yoga makes it easy to improve flexibility. ‘It takes your joints through their full range of motion and extends, flexes and rotates your spine,’ says yoga and Pilates trainer Caroline Sandry, who has devised this flexibility challenge.

Her 30-day plan consists of seven key yoga moves that are also great flexibility stretches. Sandry says: ‘These classic moves help open your chest and shoulders – for great posture – as well as loosening hips and relieving tense muscles.’ 

Your only rule? ‘Listen to your body and push the stretch as far you can, but always void any discomfort or strain,’ advises Sandry.

Testing your flexibility

If you want to test how well your flexibility improves over the 30 days, perform these two moves before and after the challenge.

  • Hamstrings: Sit up with your legs out straight in front of you and notice how far your hands reach on your legs.
  • Shoulders: Place your right palm behind your head and down between your shoulder blades. Then reach your left hand up behind your waist towards your right hand and notice the space between both hands.

30-day flexibility challenge: the seven key moves

Sandry has included seven moves to help improve your flexibility gradually. Use a stopwatch app to count the seconds, or set the timer on your phone.

Spinal Twist 1

Woman demonstrating how to do a spinal twist yoga move

(Image credit: Future)

This move mobilizes the spine and shoulders, and tones the triceps and inner thighs.

  • Sit up tall with your legs in front of you.
  • Bend your right knee and place your right foot outside the left knee. 
  • Place your right hand behind you, inhale, lift your chest, then exhale and turn your upper body to the right. 
  • Hold your right knee with your left hand. 
  • Repeat on the other side.

Spinal Twist 2

Woman demonstrating how to do a spinal twist yoga move

(Image credit: Future)
  • As above, but bring your left elbow to the outer side of right knee. 
  • Switch sides and your bring right elbow to the outer side of your left knee.

Spinal Twist 3

Woman demonstrating how to do a spinal twist yoga move

(Image credit: Future)
  • As above, but this time bend your left knee, placing the foot outside your right buttock. 
  • Hold your right ankle with your left hand.
  • Switch sides and repeat (bend right knee, placing foot outside left buttock and right hand holds left ankle).

Seated Forward Bend

Woman demonstrating how to do a seated forward bend yoga move

(Image credit: Future)

This move lengthens the back of legs, so is ideal for runners.

  • Sit tall with your legs in front of you. 
  • Inhale and stretch your arms up, lengthening the spine and lifting your chest. 
  • Exhale then bend forward from the hips with a straight back and rest your hands on your legs. 
  • Repeat and hold, breathing deeply.

Downward Dog 1

Woman demonstrating how to do a downward dog yoga move

(Image credit: Future)
  • Start on all fours with the knees and feet hip-width apart and hands slightly in front of  the shoulders. 
  • Inhale and press your palms down. 
  • Exhale and lift the hips up and back, pressing the chest gently back towards the knees. 
  • Hold and breathe deeply, keeping your knees slightly bent. 
  • Exhale as you lower back on all fours then go into a child’s pose (bottom back to the heels, head on the floor, arms beside you).

Downward Dog 2

  • As above, place hands on the floor and lift your hips up.
  • Gently press your right heel towards the floor and start to straighten the leg. 
  • Switch sides continually in a gentle, rhythmic movement, breathing steadily. 
  • Exhale as you lower back on to all fours and go into child’s pose.

Downward Dog 3

This final move stretches the back of your body, and strengthens the quads, upper back and arms.

  • As above, place hands on the floor and lift your hips up. 
  • Gently straighten both legs as much as is comfortable and ease both heels down towards the floor.
  • Hold and continue breathing deeply and steadily. 
  • Exhale as you lower back on to all fours and go into child’s pose.

30-day flexibility challenge workout plan

Once you feel confident with the moves, it's time to put get flexible and put them into practice!

Below you'll find a day-by-day breakdown of our 30-day flexibility challenge, detailing which moves to do each day - and how long for.

Note that balance is key. Overdoing it with any one exercise will make you prone to pain, stiffness and injury, so mix up your workouts and be sure to take rest days as instructed (or when you need them).

Day 1

Downward dog 1 (2x 5 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (10 seconds each way)

Day 2

Forward bend (10 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (10 seconds each way)

Day 3

Downward dog 1 (2x 5 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (10 seconds each way)

Forward bend (10 seconds)

Day 4

Downward dog 1 (2x 5 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (10 seconds each way)

Day 5

Forward bend (15 seconds) 

Downward dog 1 (2x 5 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (10 seconds each way)

Day 6

Forward bend (20 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (15 seconds each way)

Day 7

Downward dog 1 (15 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (15 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (20 seconds)

Day 8

Downward dog 1 (20 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (15 seconds each way)

Day 9

Downward dog 1 (25 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (15 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (25 seconds)

Day 10

REST DAY

Day  11

Downward dog 2 (25 seconds) 

Spinal twist 1 (20 seconds each way)

Forward bend (30 seconds)

Day 12

Downward dog 2 (30 seconds) 

Forward bend (30 seconds)

Day 13

Downward dog 2 (30 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (20 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (35 seconds)

Day 14

Downward dog 2 (20 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (20 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (40 seconds)

Day 15

REST DAY

Day 16

Downward dog 2 (40 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (30 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (45 seconds)

Day 17

Downward dog 2 (40 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (30 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (45 seconds)

Day 18

Downward dog 2 (45 seconds) 

Forward bend (50 seconds)

Day 19

Downward dog 2 (50 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (30 seconds each way)

Forward bend (50 seconds)

Day 20

REST DAY

Day 21

Downward dog 2 (60 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (30 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (60 seconds)

Day 22

Downward dog 2 (60 seconds)

Forward bend (60 seconds)

Day 23

Downward dog 2 (60 seconds) 

Spinal twist 2 (30 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (60 seconds)

Day 24

Spinal twist 2 (30 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (75 seconds)

Day 25

Downward dog 3 (60 seconds)

Spinal twist 3 (25 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (75 seconds)

Day 26

Downward dog 3 (75 seconds)

Spinal twist 3 (45 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (80 seconds)

Day 27

Downward dog 3 (75 seconds) 

Spinal twist 3 (45 seconds each way)

Forward bend (90 seconds)

Day 28

Downward dog 3 (75 seconds) 

Spinal twist 3 (45 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (100 seconds)

Day 29

Downward dog 3 (90 seconds) 

Spinal twist 3 (45 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (120 seconds)

Day 30

Downward dog 3 (90 seconds) 

Spinal twist 3 (45 seconds each way) 

Forward bend (120 seconds)

Congratulations you've completed our 30-day flexibility challenge! How has yours improved? Show us by tagging @wearefitandwell in a picture on Instagram.

Natalia Lubomirski
Natalia Lubomirski

Natalia is a health and fitness journalist who has written for the likes of Woman & Home and Marie Claire, and likes to practice what she preaches when it comes to staying fit and well. She loves the outdoors and would happily swap the treadmill for the trail at any opportunity. As such, in her free time you'll likely find her up a mountain somewhere. She has hiked eight of the major mountain ranges across four continents, including the Appalachians, the Smokies, the Sierra Nevadas (where she hiked to the top of Half Dome during her honeymoon) and the Atlas Mountains, as well hitting the summits of Snowdon and Pen-Y-Fan (Brecon Beacons), Table Mountain in South Africa and the Blue Mountains in Australia. She was also a fencer for 13 years, wielding an epée for Team GB during her teenage years. Having recently welcomed a baby, Natalia is currently getting back into her fitness routine, and has her sights set on completing a triathlon, something she and her husband started out on before their bundle of joy arrived.