Improve your flexibility with this five-move upper body workout

This short routine is ideal whether you're after a quick stretch or a pre-workout warm up

Woman holding a stretch at home
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Maintaining muscle strength as we age is essential, but it's also crucial to stay flexible and mobile. Stronger muscles help support you throughout the day, but improving mobility with this five-move routine will also help you stay active.

This is why many people invest in one of the best yoga mats and take up a regular yoga or Pilates practice. These low-impact activities help develop core strength, promote balance, and improve flexibility.

But you don't have to take a class to boost your mobility, thanks to this short tutorial from personal trainer Alice Liveing. After a quick go with these five low-impact stretches, you'll be more flexible and mobile.

You can add these moves into your daily routine to help improve your mobility. However, she designed this short routine for anyone hoping to pick up a set of adjustable dumbbells and take on an upper-body workout.

As Alice suggests, "why not try incorporating some of my favorite primer movements to get your shoulders and t-spine feeling groovy and ready to train?"

Watch Alice Liveing's five-move mobility routine

You'll use three-point t-spine rotations, prayer stretches, prone swimmers, side-lying windmills, and alternating toe taps for a quick upper body stretch that will prepare you for your training.

The benefits of pre-workout mobility routines are backed up by research published in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation, which found that pre-training stretching boosts your performance by "affording psychological stability, preparation, and confidence."

And don't worry if you've not come across these moves before, as Liveing has also posted video demonstrations for each stretch on her Instagram. You don't have to be warming up for a workout to feel the benefits either.

When one Instagram user asked the trainer, "does it help with back and shoulder pain if you [do a] physical job and do all the work by hands?" Alice replied, "yes, absolutely."

If you enjoyed this mobility routine, there are plenty of equipment-free stretching exercises you can add to your day. These are ideal for quick breaks from your desk or to improve your well-being and overall health.

It's also worth investing in one of the best foam rollers to help promote recovery and improve your mobility. After a muscle-building workout, you may feel sore and stiff, but a quick massage with a roller can loosen things up.

James Frew
James Frew

James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.


In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.