15-Minute Full-Body Flexibility

Article by Lucas Rockwood

If you have stiff hamstrings, locked up hips, and/or a rigid spine, and you’re looking for a fast, but effective solution for full body flexibility, this daily deep stretching routine should help.

This 15-minute sequence of poses is very simple and pragmatic. However, this is stretching with a capital S. It is NOT gentle, it’s NOT easy and it should NOT be done before exercise. This type of deep passive stretching is designed to change your body. It is a post-exercise practice, not a warm-up, so use it as a supplement to your other activities.

The Science of Stretching

For maximum benefits, each pose in this sequence targets a different area and follows the three key principles of the Science of Stretching:

  1. Wet Noodle
    Your muscles stretch best when fully relaxed, so try to relax them as much as possible, imagining them as wet noodles.
  2. Breathe to Relax
    Breathe in through your nose 1-2-3-4 and out through your mouth 8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1. This will help turn off your myotatic stretch reflex.
  3. Time Under Passive Tension
    Short stretches won’t yield any benefits. To affect change in your soft tissues, you need to spend 2-5 minutes, passively stretching, to illicit change in your body.

Your 15-Minute Full-Body Stretching Routine

Aim to work at a seven out of ten intensity during each of these poses. You should feel uncomfortable but still able to talk without straining. You’ll need: a wall/door (a hard surface to lean up against), a stool, yoga block, yoga/exercise mat, cushion, and a timer.

Download PDF pose chart

Wall Doll Pose (Hamstrings)

  • Stand a foot’s distance away from a wall, feet hip-width apart.
  • Bend your knees as much as you need to keep your back safe.
  • Fold forward and rest your forearms on a stool in front of you.
  • Relax the muscles at the back of your legs as much as possible.
  • Drop your head and hold for two minutes, breathing in through your nose to the count of four and out through your mouth to the count of eight.

Cliffhanger Pose (Shoulders)

  • On the floor, place your knees around one forearm’s distance away from the wall. Place them as wide apart as your mat, touching your big toes together behind you.
  • Place your hands up the wall in front of you, spread your fingers, and drop your head.
  • Try and keep your arms straight and, if you can, relax your head completely, sinking into your shoulders.
  • Hold for two minutes, inhaling through your nose for four and exhaling through your mouth for eight.

Blaster Pose (Hips)

  • On your hands and knees, place a cushion under your left knee.
  • Step your right foot outside and in front of your right hand, keeping your back knee on the cushion and pointing your back toe.
  • Place your stool in front of you and rest your forearms on top, drop your head.
  • Hold for two minutes, inhaling through your nose for four and exhaling through your mouth for eight.
  • Switch sides and repeat.

Block Noodle Pose (Thoracic Spine)

  • Place a block on the floor with a cushion on top.
  • Lie on top of the cushion on your back and wiggle until you can feel the block under your shoulder blades.
  • Extend your arms above your head, relax your head back.
  • If it feels better to hold something in your hands, grab another block or a book.
  • Relax here for two minutes breathing in through your nose for four and out through your mouth for eight.
  • If you feel any strain in your neck, place something under your head for support.

Lightning Bolt Pose (Quads and Ankles)

  • Sit on your knees and place blocks or pillows under your bum (as many as you need).
  • Sit up tall, place your hands on your knees and relax here.
  • Hold for two minutes, inhaling through your nose for four and exhaling through your mouth for eight.

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