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Top 10 Floor Exercises to Improve Flexibility as You Get Older

As we grow older, our mobility tends to decrease due to the loss of muscle mass. However, regularly participating in physical activities such as flexibility exercises can help offset these effects and either preserve or enhance our ability to move...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

For me, as a personal trainer committed to helping my clients overcome any discomfort they may experience, I have discovered that a holistic full-body floor workout strategy produces impressive outcomes, especially for individuals grappling with the difficulties of maintaining mobility as they age. Through my carefully developed approach, I ensure that each session is thorough and efficient, leaving participants feeling agile and relieved.

Our sessions kick off with specific exercises targeting the upper back and shoulders, gradually transitioning to movements that concentrate on the midsection, and eventually wrapping up with a well-rounded lower body regimen. This structured method guarantees that we tackle all problem areas, establishing a solid base for improved flexibility that bolsters general mobility and overall wellness.

While countless variations of these exercises exist, I’ve curated this selection based on their efficacy and simplicity. These are my tried-and-true exercises for a simple and successful mobility routine. By committing to these movements that strengthen muscles and joints key to maintaining strength as you age, you’ll be one step closer to building a more resilient you.

Prone I-Y-T’s: 5 reps (3 sets)

Prone Snow Angel

Prone I-Y-T exercises are highly effective for strengthening and mobilizing the thoracic spine, encompassing the upper back region. By performing these movements, you engage key muscles in the upper back, such as the rhomboids and trapezius, promoting greater stability and mobility in this area. Prone I-Y-T exercises help enhance shoulder strength, mobility, and overall joint health by targeting the muscles surrounding the shoulder blades and rotator cuff.

To perform Prone I-Y-T’s, lie face down, with your arms extended overhead and your palms facing down. Lift arms off the ground, forming an “I” shape, then lower. Repeat with arms out to sides, forming a “Y,” then a “T.” Focus on squeezing shoulder blades together and maintaining straight arms.

Perform three sets of 5 reps per position, cycling through the I-Y-T movement. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds between sets.

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Prone Snow Angels: 10-15 reps (2-3 sets)

Prone Snow Angel exercises

Prone snow angels, also known as “swimmers,” are an exceptional exercise for fortifying and mobilizing your upper back, especially targeting the shoulder blades and rotator cuff muscles. Engaging in this exercise not only enhances shoulder and scapular stability but also promotes greater mobility in the thoracic spine. By incorporating active muscle engagement and mobility, prone snow angels effectively build endurance in the upper back, shoulders, and arms, making them a valuable component of any comprehensive workout routine.

Start by lying face down and reaching your arms overhead. Lift your arms and chest off the ground slightly, then execute a controlled sweeping motion, mimicking the pattern of making a snow angel. Keep your head neutral and your arms off the ground. Return to the starting position with control and repeat the motion for the desired repetitions.

Complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps with 90 seconds of rest between sets.

Side Lying T-Spine Rotations: 10-15 reps each side (3 sets)

Side Lying T-Spine Rotations

Side-lying T-spine rotations offer exceptional benefits for mobilizing the upper back and shoulders, emphasizing increased rotational mobility and lat lengthening. This exercise specifically targets the thoracic spine, promoting greater flexibility and mobility in rotational movements. You effectively stretch and lengthen the latissimus dorsi muscles, which can often become tight from daily activities by engaging in controlled rotations while lying on your side.

Lie on your side with your knees bent and arms extended in front of you. Slowly rotate your top arm and shoulder towards the floor behind you while keeping your eyes on your hand. Pause briefly, feeling a stretch in your upper back and shoulders, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Focus on controlled movements and gradual increases in range of motion.

Perform three sets of 10 to 15 reps per side with 90 seconds of rest between sets.

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Thread the Needle: 30 to 60-second hold each side (3 sets)

Thread the Needle

Thread the needle introduces another multi-beneficial mobility exercise. The rotational aspect of this exercise improves t-spine mobility in your upper back and opens your lats while gently stretching your shoulders and triceps.

Start in a tabletop position on your hands and knees. Exhale as you reach your right arm under your left arm, lowering your shoulder and head to the floor while feeling the stretch in your right shoulder and upper back. Inhale as you return to the starting position, then repeat on the other side by threading your left arm under your right arm. Focus on breathing deeply and maintaining proper form throughout the stretch.

Complete three rounds per side with 30 to 60-second holds.

Cat/Cows: 10-15 reps (3 sets)

Cat Cow

Cat/cow movements are exceptional for mobilizing your back and spine, guiding you through thoracic extension and flexion. This dynamic exercise is a potent remedy for alleviating back pain while elevating upper back mobility and refining shoulder blade function.

Start by placing your hands under your shoulders and aligning your knees under your hips. Inhale deeply, then exhale as you arch your upper back, pulling your hips toward your abdomen and forming the cat pose. Inhale again, lifting your chest and head while lowering your abdomen and rib cage to the floor, transitioning into the cow pose.

Perform two to three sets of 10 to 15 reps. Aim to hold each position for 2 to 3 seconds.

Pigeon Stretch: 30 to 45-second hold each side (2-3 sets)

pigeon stretch

Integrating the pigeon stretch into your fitness routine is a gesture your hips and glutes will appreciate. This dynamic mobility exercise targets mobility in your glute region and enhances the flexibility of these muscle groups, ultimately improving overall movement and functionality.

Begin in a plank position and move into a pigeon pose by bringing your right knee forward and straightening your left leg behind you. Next, place your hands on the floor in front of you and gently lower your chest to your knee. Repeat on the other side.

Perform two to three sets of 30 to 45-second holds per side with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

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Supine Hamstring Stretch: 15 to 30-second hold each side (2-3 sets)

Supine Hamstring Stretch

The supine hamstring stretch is a safe, highly effective, and remarkably versatile mobility exercise. Its floor-based position ensures ease of execution while proving exceptionally potent in enhancing hamstring flexibility. Beyond its flexibility benefits, this stretch frequently aids in alleviating low back pain, addressing hip stiffness, and contributing to a lowered risk of injuries.

Begin by lying on your back with one leg lifted straight off the ground, keeping the other on the floor. Place your hands behind the lifted leg, or use a yoga strap, and gently pull the leg towards your chest until you feel a comfortable stretch in the hamstring. Repeat on the other side.

Complete two to three sets of 15 to 30-second holds. Complete 15 to 20 reps with a 2 to 3-second hold for a dynamic approach.

Half-Kneeling Adductor Dips: 30 to 45-second hold each side (2-3 sets)

Half-Kneeling Adductor Dips
Champion Physical Therapy and Performance/YouTube

The half-kneeling adductor mobility exercise plays a vital role in a well-rounded mobility regimen, specifically targeting the inner leg (adductors). Given the scarcity of stretches that address this area, neglecting it can result in lower body discomfort and tightness. Thus, integrating the half-kneeling adductor mobility exercise into your routine is essential for maintaining an active and mobile lifestyle.

Start in a half-kneeling position, with your right knee on the ground and your left foot forward. Move your left foot to the side, placing it perpendicular to your right leg out of your hips. Keep your torso tall and facing forward as you move into position, and gently shift your hips towards your left leg, feeling a stretch in the right inner thigh. Repeat on the other side.

Complete two to three sets of 30 to 45-second holds per set.

Samson Stretch: 30 to 45-second hold each side (3 sets)

Samson Stretch

The Samson stretch stands out as a versatile and effective technique for enhancing mobility in key muscle groups like the hip flexors, quads, and abdominals. Its dynamic nature not only lengthens these muscles but also encourages improved flexibility and range of motion, which are crucial for activities ranging from everyday movements to intense workouts. By targeting multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the Samson stretch efficiently addresses common areas of tightness and discomfort.

The Samson stretch involves stepping forward with one foot into a lunge position, extending the arms overhead, and dropping the back knee to the floor. Engage your core and press the hips forward to deepen the hip flexors and quadriceps stretch while actively reaching overhead.

Perform three rounds of 30 to 45-second holds with 60 seconds of rest between rounds.

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Alternating Shin Box: 5-10 reps each side (3 sets)

Alternating Shin Box

The alternating shin box is fundamental for developing hip mobility and promoting active movement. Adding this exercise to your routine improves flexibility in key muscle groups, including the glutes, piriformis, TFL, IT band, hip flexors, and lower back. It’s particularly effective for strengthening both internal and external hip rotation. Exploring different modifications can provide additional challenges and enhance your results as you progress.

Start seated with knees bent and feet flat. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, then rotate your hips to bring your left knee towards the ground behind you. Hold briefly, feeling the stretch. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side, crossing your left ankle over your right knee. Keep alternating sides, focusing on maintaining good posture and engaging your core throughout the movement.

Complete three sets of 5 to 10 reps per side with 60 seconds of rest between sets.

About the author

Tiara Clephin

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