Wondering what to do between hard workouts? Try this low-intensity stretch circuit from fitness coach Nicki Petitt to improve flexibility and mobility while getting your body ready for the next tough training session…

Anyone who has pushed their body through exercise knows that it pays to take at least one day off tough exercise each week. It’s during this time that your muscles change, adapt and grow back stronger, so some downtime will support your body goals as well as reduce your injury risk.

Your mind will thank you for it, too, because working out taxes your brain as well as your body, requiring focus, discipline and mental toughness – things that you may not have the mental capacity for day in, day out.

But a rest day doesn’t have to mean putting your feet up on the couch and binge-watching Netflix (although, there’s plenty of time for hanging out on the sofa!) – low-intensity exercise such as walking, gentle cycling or a flowing mat-based session hold great value because they will promote recovery by boosting blood flow to your muscles and tissues, helping you to get stronger when you’re back in the gym.

Try this low-intensity stretch circuit from online fitness coach Nicki Petitt (@nickipetitt). Do each move for the set amount of time before moving on to the next move. Repeat the entire circuit twice.

Low-intensity stretch circuit

GREATEST STRETCH IN THE WORLD

Good for thoracic spine rotation.

Reps: 30 seconds each side

  • Step forward with your right leg into a lunge – your foot is flat on the floor and knee is bent at 90°.

stretch low intensity flexibility

  • Place both hands on the floor inside your right foot, feeling a stretch through your left hip flexor.

  • Lift your right hand off the floor, reach to the ceiling and press through your left palm. Follow your top hand with your eyes, ensuring your back is straight and your core is engaged.
  • Repeat on your left side

THREAD THE NEEDLE

Releases tension in the upper back, shoulders and neck.

Reps: 2 mins, alternating sides

  • Start in a tabletop position, with your hands below your shoulders, your knees below your hips and the tops of your feet flat on the floor.flexibility low intensity stretch workout circuit
  • Push your hips back – glutes to your heels – and then walk your hands forward into child’s pose (with your forehead to the floor).

  • Thread your left arm under your body to the right, pressing your left shoulder into the floor until you feel a stretch.

  • Pause for a second, then return to child’s pose and repeat with your right arm, threading it under your body to the left. Continue alternating sides

CAT COW

Improves spinal mobility and posture.

Reps: 1-2 mins

  • Start on all-fours, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips, fingertips pointing forwards.

  • Begin with cow pose: inhale as you drop your tummy towards the mat, lift your chin and chest toward the ceiling. Draw your shoulders away from your ears.

  • Now for cat pose: as you exhale, draw your tummy to your spine and round your back towards the ceiling. Gently take your chin to your chest.
  • Inhale and return to cow pose, then repeat for 1-2 minutes

WINDMILL

Works obliques and adductors for good spinal rotation.

Reps: 2 mins, alternating sides

  • Stand tall with your feet one and a half times hip-width apart, your left toes pointing forwards and right foot to the side.

low intensity stretch workout

  • Extend your arms to the side, level with your shoulders, then bend sideways to the right as far as comfort allows. Rest the back of your right hand on your right foot and extend your left arm towards the ceiling, with eyes looking forwards or up.

  • Hold the position for 20seconds, then repeat on otherside. Continue alternating

PIGEON STRETCH

Reduces glute, hip and groin stiffness.

Reps: 2 mins, alternating sides

  • Start in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders and your body in a straight line from your head to your heels.

low intensity workout stretch

  • Bend your left knee and draw it forwards, placing it on the floor below your chest with your right leg extending backwards.

  • Lift your arms and place them across your chest.
  • Lower or raise your torso and hips until you feel a deep stretch in your left glute and outer thigh.
  • Hold and repeat with your opposite leg.

KNEELING LUNGE STRETCH

Stretches the hip flexors and quads.

Reps: 20 seconds each side

  • Step forwards with your right foot and lunge so that your right thigh is parallel to the ground.

low intensity workout stretch

  • Rest your back knee on the floor and grasp your left foot with your left hand.

  • Squeeze your glutes, tucking your pelvis under and stretching through the hip flexors. Hold for 20 seconds and then switch to the other side. For balance, rest your hand on a chair or the wall.

Click here to see our exclusive abs workout from Carly Rowena!

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