- Begin in high plank (pushup position). Drive your knee forward and bring your right foot to the outside of your right hand. Keeping your hands on the floor and your rear leg straight, lift your chest to extend your thoracic spine. Sink your pelvis down to create a comfortable stretch: You should feel it in your groin, hamstring, and inner thigh of your front leg, and the hip flexor and quad of your back leg. If you lack the flexibility to do this without discomfort, elevate your hands by bracing them on yoga blocks.
- Return your right leg to start position (high plank) and repeat on the left leg. Perform 5 to 10 reps on each leg.
This popular yoga move helps maintain flexibility in your glutes by stretching the extensors and external rotators of the hip, say Baptiste. And loose hips are happy hips—they help take stress off the knees and lower back, making everyday movements effortless.
- Begin in high plank (pushup position). Drive your right knee to your elbows and swing your right ankle toward your left wrist. Set the outside of your right foot down behind your left wrist and rest your right shin and knee on the floor. The closer you can get your ankle to your wrist, the deeper your stretch will be.
- Keep both hips parallel to the ground to help maintain a neutral spine position. Using your hands for balance, sink your pelvis down and lift your chest to enhance the stretch. Hold for 3 to 5 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. Perform 5 to 10 reps on each side.
4. Hindu Pushup
True to traditional pushups, this move strengthens the entire upper body—specifically the chest, triceps, and shoulders, says Baptiste. But unlike the basic pushup, this variation helps you maintain spinal mobility while stretching the shoulders and abdominals.
- Start in high plank (pushup position) with your feet spread wider than shoulder width. Walk your hands toward your feet and lift your hips until you are in downward dog position (your body should resemble an inverted V ).
- Keep your legs straight, and bend your elbows toward lower your shoulders to the floor. Before your head makes contact, lift your chin toward the ceiling, arch your back, and allow your hips to sink forward while straightening your arms. You should end up in cobra pose.
- Keep your arms straight and lift your butt to return to downward dog position. That’s 1 rep. Perform 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps.
5. Static Rear Foot Elevated Split Squat
This strengthening stretch is amazing for your quads and hip flexors, says Baptiste.
- Kneel about 2 feet from a bench, with your back to the bench. Place your right foot flat on the floor, toes facing forward. Using your hands for balance, raise your left leg and rest the top of your left foot on the bench behind you.
- Activate your right leg, driving through the right heel to stand.
- Slowly sink back toward start position, stopping when your knee is just a few inches from the floor. Squeeze your glutes and hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds. That’s 1 rep. Complete 3 reps on each side.
Trainer tip: If you have knee problems, you can perform this move with both feet on the ground. (See how here!) Hold the stretch for 15 seconds, then switch legs. Perform 3 reps with each leg.