6 Easy Dynamic Stretches to Start Your Morning (From Your Bed)

January 11, 2022

6 Easy Dynamic Stretches to Start Your Morning (From Your Bed)

 

One thing that people often struggle with is trying to find time to fit exercise into their daily routine.  Exercise in the morning is a great way to energize the body for the day ahead, in addition to helping wake up the muscles and start off the day in a way that feels productive.  

 

Here are some exercises that you can do from your bed before you get up in the morning:

 

Transverse Abdominis Activation 

Let's quickly discuss the muscles we are trying to engage.  The transverse abdominis is part of the core which is a group of muscles that work together to support the body when we do any movements.  These are the deepest of the abdominal muscles, under the rectus abdominis, the external obliques and the internal obliques. The fibres run horizontally over the abdominal cavity wrapping from the spine to the midline of the front of the body and extend from under the ribs down toward the top of the pelvis. These muscles work to protect the internal organs, support the spine and work in synergy with the pelvic floor muscles and the diaphragm.  

 

https://www.dreamstime.com/transversus-abdominis-muscle-d-medical-illustration-eps-image142342890

 

How to activate the muscle fibers:

 

  1. Lay on your back, feet flat on the bed, knees bent and your spine in neutral.  
  2. Gently place hands over the hip bones.  
  3. Relax the muscles then inhale and exhale while gently draw the stomach slowly inward and downward without moving the pelvis.
  1. You should be able to feel a slight hallowing just inside your hip bones.  
  2. If you feel bulging you are working too hard, reset and try to do a smaller movement
  1. Inhale, exhale and relax the muscles again.

 

If you are having trouble feeling the muscles firing there are a couple of different cues that may help.  These include:

 

  1. Imagine you are pulling the hip bones together toward the middle
  2. Imagine that you are zipping up a tight pair of jeans
  3. Imagine that you are shrink wrapping your organs
  4. Make an “sssss” sound as you exhale and engage the muscles

 

Try to hold for 10 seconds then relax, this exercise can be done in sitting and standing.  It is important to note that the aim of this exercise is not to consciously hold these muscles all of the time but to increase the endurance and awareness of them as tight muscles that are unable to release.

 

 

 

Frogger Glute Bridge

 

This exercise is used to target the gluteal muscles.  This version is performed with the knees slightly wider than hip width as it can be easier to wake up and fire the glutes.  Additionally, it can be easier to attain a wrapping sensation vs a clenching sensation of the muscle fibres.  

 

To perform this exercise:

 

  1. Place the feet together and have the knees hip width apart.
  2. Feel like you are wrapping the glutes to the midline.  
  3. Keeping your head and shoulders on the bed (no pillow) and push through the feet to lift the hips into the air creating a bridge
  1. Don’t lift so high as to arch the spine, try to keep the body in neutral from shoulders to spine.
  1. Lower the hips with control back to the bed, while maintaining glute activation

 

2-3 Sets, 12 -15 Repetitions

 

 

 

Leg Abduction

 

This exercise targets the outside of the hip, depending on if you are rolled forward, backward or are perfectly perpendicular to the mattress, this exercise can target different muscle groups.  If you are rolled back you will be working the hip flexors, if you are perpendicular to the mattress you are targeting the TFL, if you are rolled forward slightly you are targeting glute med.

 

To perform this exercise:

  1. Lay on your side, engage your core so that your spine is in a straight line from shoulders to pelvis.
  2. Have the leg closest to the mattress bent and the top leg straight with toes and knee facing straight ahead
  1. You can change what parts of the muscle you are targeting by rotating the toe towards the ceiling
  1. Lift the leg above hip level to a comfortable range without shifting or changing the alignment of the torso
  2. Lower the leg back into alignment with the hip with control

 

2-3 Sets; 12-15 Repetitions, each side

 

 

 

Leg Adduction

 

This exercise will target the adductors or the inner thigh muscles.  These are involved with glute engagement and pelvic stabilization.

 

To perform this exercise:

  1. Continue to lay on your side with your hip perpendicular to the bed.  Have the top hip and knee bent to clear the way for the bottom leg.  
  2. Engage the core muscles so that the spine is in a straight line from shoulder to hip.  
  3. Lift the bottom leg in a straight line toward the ceiling with the toe pointed toward the wall
  1. As with the leg abduction the muscles targeted can change based on if the leg has any rotation or not
  1. Lower the leg back to the bed with control.

 

2-3 Sets; 12-15 Repetitions, each side

 

 

 

Hamstring Leg Lifts

 

This exercise targets the hamstrings though there will also be glute and core engagement as well.

 

To perform this exercise:

  1. Lay on your stomach with your forehead supported on your arms.  Engage your core muscles and gently activate your glutes (think wrapping again vs clenching).  
  2. Bend one of your knees so the bottom of your foot is facing the ceiling while keeping the other leg in a straight line
  1. This exercise can also be performed keeping the leg straight throughout the movement, still perform it with one leg at a time
  1. While keeping your torso stable and your glutes engaged, lift your leg off of the bed in a straight line
  1. Try to keep your pelvis on the bed to prevent back arching which will limit hamstring activation
  1. Lower the leg back to the bed with control

 

2-3 Sets; 12-15 Repetitions, each side

 

 

Back Extension

 

This exercise is to target the smaller muscles of the back as well as have an assist from the larger muscles as well.

 

To perform this exercise:

  1. Lay on your stomach with your forehead supported by the bed or by your pillow, have the arms by your side.
  2. Engage your core and glute muscles
  3. Think of drawing your shoulders down your back while reaching your head away from your feet and lift your shoulders up off of the mattress while keeping your chin down, lead with your chest not your head/neck.  
  1. If you are feeling this in your lower back, relax back down and re-engage the core.  You may also be lifting up too high off of the bed.
  1. Lower the torso back to the bed with control, reset the core and glutes as needed to ensure proper alignment

 

2-3 Sets; 12-15 Repetitions