My 10-Minute Morning Mobility Routine

I am asked two questions a lot.  Like, a lot.  

  1. Do you have a simple and quick 10 minute morning mobility routine?
  2. What does your morning look like? 

The answer to both is actually the same. But before I dive into the goods, let me quickly explain my thinking and how my morning “practice” has evolved.

Sun Salutation Wasn’t A Gimmick

People have always strived to build a better mousetrap as soon as there were proverbial mice. We humans are clever.  It has always been so. There are references to the ancient sequence of movements that have become the modern Yoga “Surya Namaskar” or “salutation to the sun” as far back as the 13th century.  

In Mark Singleton’s “The Yoga Body”, he argues that the modern version of the ancient morning movement ritual known as Sun Salutation is a bit like “medical gymnastics.” I love this idea, it’s like a minimal-effective dose of a “movement vitamin.” But don’t worry, while I have done my fair share of downward dog in the morning, this early a.m. yoga movement practice didn’t do it for me when it ultimately came down to getting myself prepped for the day. But, let us honor the fact that people have been thinking about this for a minute.

Looking for a better way to get up out of bed, instead of getting on the internet and checking out who hit me, get up!

-Macklemore and Ryan Lewis 

One reason I practice a quick morning mobility spin up was not because I had some lofty notion of transcendent mind-body integration. Rather, I found out that, sometimes, I just couldn’t get myself appropriately opened up and ready to go at the base of the mountain, or the beach, or the changing room, or in the line of a Spartan Race (like when Spartan founder Joe De Sena suddenly announced we were running in the clothes we were wearing and a full two hours before our official start time.)

I came to realize that if I spent just 10 minutes moving in a time and environment that I could control before it really mattered, I ended up feeling better when it did matter.  Like the time I spent two hours sitting in the worst position of all time ever strapped to elite soldier while waiting to jump out of an airplane.  Then, I got to perform a “dynamic landing.”   Obviously luck played a factor in coming out of that experience unharmed, but at least the landing wasn’t the first time that day I let my brain and body know that I might end up exposing some of my joints and tissues to a significant range of motion.  

Reality? Meet Actuality…

Another one of the reasons I’m a big advocate of front loading my day with intentional behaviors is because, as soon as Juliet and I leave the door, it is game on. Our goal is honestly not to set the tone for the day or makes us more grateful or present.  Like so many other people struggling to manage the details of work/family/kids/friends/life, we often have to surrender our best-laid plans to the reality of our full lives. We do, however, feel like we have some modicum of control over our lives right up until we have to leave the house.  On days when the schedule collapses in on us into catastrophic mayhem, we still feel like we’ve engaged in some movement/physical practice. This means, tomorrow when the window opens for us to actually move, we will be more easily ready to quickly spin up and go. I also add in 10-15 min of soft tissue mobilization before I go to sleep on these compressed and overly complicated days and you end up with behavior book ends (spin up before I leave the house and rolling out when before I close my eyes) that add up to some solid input to the body.

So Here Is Your 10 Minute Morning Mobility Routine: 

For the next seven days choose one or the other each day:

1. Breathing Practice Spin-Up 


2. The Lower Body Spin-Up

Do them both. Alternate. Choose the one that is more difficult and makes you uncomfortable.  

It won’t matter.  What matters is that you leave the house, ready.


p.s. We also have tons of awesome content to help you get ready to workout or do a sport and fix your nagging pain and injuries at The Ready State.

24 thoughts on “My 10-Minute Morning Mobility Routine

  1. Avatar
    Mike Stern says:

    Hope all is well. …so stoked you shared both vids. I’m a Deskbound owner and refer to it ALL the time. …some of your best shares yet! Thank you so much. Take care! Sincerely,
    Mike from Hermosa Beach

  2. Avatar
    Ross Foulkes says:

    Is it ok if I post a link to this on the Trainerroad forum (podcast thread)?
    I’ve been using the TRS mobility app since you appeared on the podcast with Jonathan. My results have been pretty good so far.

    Thanks for sharing the quick routines. My mash ups of the mobility app are remarkably similar so it’s good to know I’m on the right track.

  3. Avatar
    Jill says:

    Thanks for the 2 routines. They looked great, can’t wait to try them. I love that I can see some great “yoga moves” in your routine.

  4. Avatar
    [email protected] says:

    I owe the majority of my comprehension/understanding of human anatomy in a far more useful pov/first person aspect to you and your projects, books, videos, teammates (esp. Paoli) etc. I can share the ideals and concepts with my clients with ease, as the “aha” moments flowed in nearly every posted video of yours and/or Carl’s basically rendering a BS into a 4yr terminology course. This is the brownest nose I’ve ever had so I’ll get to my “question point”…
    By involving the foot while flossing at the end, neural tension becomes a real factor by creating sensations of muscle tightness that can lead to focus on a spot that may not need it. The best sign of neural tension that I’ve noticed is the “tightness” is always at the same level every time entering into the foot flexion with full extension at knee.
    Thank you, the perspective you offered improved my physical then overall well-being from the first couch stretch and sit test. Three years of *diagnosed* runnerjumper/syndrome knee poofed in two weeks. Constant pain kept me from playing, but thanks to you I play and play better. Thank you. I swear I’ll start paying you one of these days, but til then know you’re improving every life that comes into the gym.

  5. Avatar
    Francis Lardy says:

    Excellent! Thank you.
    The “shoulder spin up” you mention at end of the hip opener video?! Can we have that too, pls?!

    • Avatar
      Richard says:

      I agree! A shoulder or upper body spin-up is something I’ve been missing for a long time. Even when I had a Ready State subscription, I couldn’t find anything like that.

  6. Avatar
    Fred DeHaven says:

    Thanks so much! A great plan for starting the day. Been doing the breathing for a while,hips for me have been hit and miss. Now I have a clear plan. Bless you.

  7. Avatar
    thomas wasilewski says:

    Good stuff there! I will be 60 next month. Strength and endurance is still there. I am an ultra marathoner, cross-fitter and BJJ student. I can still hang with “kids” half my age in those events, however my flexibility is fading rapidly.

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  9. Avatar
    Joshua says:

    Finally! A lower body activation that works for me! I genuinely look forward to the next several weeks of repetition here because I know that despite the pain, there is a solution in motion. Thanks Kelly!

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  11. Avatar
    Heidi Magnus says:

    A friend of mine asked why they go directly to FOF when they practice the “Spin-up Breath”. My guess is that the practice is great for priming your SNS – just as you describe, but it might trigger people (like my friend) who have some trauma issues. People who spend too much time in their SNS might benefit from a calming breath (with longer exhales than inhales – like the 4-7-8 breath) as their morning breath. BTW – I love your hip exercises in part because you are creating a safe space in the body for the nerves to relax – feels awesome!

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