Life is short. We are all busy. If you have a few hours a day to train and stretch and get massages, that is awesome! For the rest of us, we are lucky to get 5 minutes a day to improve our bodies.
And whether we’re spending hours a day on our bodies and movement or struggling to get more than five minutes, I believe most humans have a lot of the same orthopedic problems.
If you’re living a busy life but still want to make mobility a priority, here is my ultimate “If I only had 5 minutes everyday!” mobility routine. It’s a routine I perform regularly, especially when traveling or working long, long hours — and it can be done just about anywhere.
Seriously, all it takes is 5 MINUTES to maintain and even improve your mobility. Here it is in four simple movements.
1. Spend 1 minute at the bottom of a squat, PLUS 30 seconds with arms switching reach to the sky
To me, Kelly Starrett changed the way much of the fitness world looks at “stretching,” and that started with a 10 minute challenge to sit in the bottom of a squat. This is an ultimate expression of opening up our ankle, knee, hip and spine joints; this two-minute variation adds the rotations helps capture our often neglected rotational mobility.
2. 1 minute and 30 seconds thoracic roller under your rib cage (thoracic opener)
I already aim to do this one daily, and I feel much tighter if I miss a day. The rib cage is constantly getting pushed into our modern texting/deskbound posture, which limits our breathing, neck, and shoulder function. For those with very tight shoulders, I would suggest 5 minutes of this one to get the most out of your body — this is powerful medicine to undo all the damage we do to ourselves daily. But 90 seconds is certainly better than not performing it.
3. 1 minute of scorpions
This movement is one you may have seen in other mobility protocols, and it’s certainly powerful. The scorpion stretch addresses our hips being too tight in the front, and it adds in a rotational component our spines are almost never exposed to. I call this one a million dollar stretch because of the magnitude just a little bit gets us. The only problem with this stretch? You have to get on the floor, so make sure it is clean!
4. 1 minute of rolling lacrosse balls under the foot (just :30 per foot)
Imagine if you wore gloves all the time, but ones that were super stiff and didn’t allow much wiggle room for your fingers. Your fingers would probably need a good stretch out at the end of the day, and the restriction would also impact you all the way up through your elbow, shoulder, and neck.
I have a bit of news: this is happening every time you wear shoes all day! Those tissues at the bottom of the feet hold a lot of tightness that carries all the way up as far as your back. This mobility and soft tissue release in even a short amount of time has huge power to loosen a lot of your lower body tissues.