Top 10 Active Stretches for a Holistic Warm-up or Mobility Circuit

Top 10 Active Stretches for a Holistic Warm-up or Mobility Circuit

Author: Kelly Fitzgerald (@kelly.crossfitz)

Improving all around fitness can’t be done just through lifting and conditioning. Hitting big lifts or channeling your inner gymnast also requires mobility – the ability to move your muscles and joints into good positions without restriction. If you can’t get into a good position to receive a lift or execute a movement, you won’t be able to properly or effectively recruit and activate the muscles you’re trying to target… not to mention, you’re increasing your risk for injury. Mobility exercises combine flexibility and strength to increase range of motion, stabilization, and control of muscles and the joints they surround. Working mobility exercises into your daily warm-ups and routine will help you reach those good positions, achieve better movement, improve skills, and hit bigger lifts!

If mobility isn’t already a part of your current daily routine, don’t fret! One awesome way to hop on the mobility train is to start incorporating active mobility exercises into your everyday warm-ups before you train. Here are our top 10 stretches for a holistic warm-up (or for just a great circuit to work into your day-to-day): 

Inchworm (perform for 1 minute)

Keeping your legs straight, walk your hands out until you are in a push-up position, perform the push-up, walk your hands back up, and stand.

Major Targets: Shoulders, Core, Lumbar Spine, Thoracic Spine, Hamstrings

Downward Dog to Cobra (perform for 1 minute)

In an A-frame/Pike position, bring your chest through your arms toward your legs. Then, send your hips forward and down toward the ground. Slowly move back and forth between these two positions.

Major Targets: Shoulders, Core, Spine, Hip Flexors, Hamstrings, Calves

Scorpion Rotation (Perform for 1 minute)

Lay on your stomach with your arms straight out. Bring your foot as close to the opposite hand as possible. Return to flat and switch legs. Continue alternating with slow and controlled movement.

 Major Targets: Shoulders, Hips, Spine

Squat Reach (Perform for 1 minute)

In a deep squat, place one hand on the ground, then rotate and reach up with the other. Following your reaching hand with both your eyes and head. Return to the middle and switch hands. Continue alternating with slow and controlled movement.

Major Targets: Hips, Groin, Thoracic Spine, Pecs

Glute Bridge Reach (Perform for 1 minute)

In a glute bridge position, reach overhead with one arm to the opposite side. Return to center, switch arms. Continue alternating with slow and controlled movement.

Major Targets: Glutes, Lats, Spine, Shoulders, Core

Kang Squat (Perform for 1 minute)

Start standing with hands interlocked behind your head (or with a PVC in a back rack position). Keeping your legs straight, hinge at the hip until near-parallel with the ground. Drop your bottom into a deep squat. Progress backward through the motion to return to the hinge position and finally to standing. Continue with slow and controlled movement.

Major Targets: Hamstrings, Hips, Glutes, Erectors, Lumbar Spine

Alternating 90/90 (Perform for 1 minute)

Orient both legs into 90-degree angles, one in front of you and one to the side. Roll side to side, alternating which leg is in front and which is to the side. Continue alternating with slow and controlled movement.

Major Targets: Adductors, Glutes, Hip Flexors, Core

Hip Flexor to Hamstring (Perform for 1 minute on each side)

Starting in a forward lunge, send your hips slightly forward to allow yourself deeper into the lunge. Keeping your front foot in place, set your hips back to sit on the heel of your rear foot. Alternate between the two positions using slow, controlled movement.

Major Targets: Hamstrings, Calves, Ankles, Hips, Groin, Hip Flexors

Wall Squat (Perform for 1 minute)

Facing the wall, put your arms in an overhead position and place your feel close to the wall (this may take some adjusting to figure out how close you can get without your knees touching when you squat). Perform air squats in this position using slow and controlled movement.

Major Targets: Traps, Lumbar Spine, Hips

World’s Greatest Stretch (Perform for 1 minute on each side)

In a deep lunge, bring your inside elbow (closest to the knee you have up) down to the ground. Then, open up toward your knee and reach for the ceiling. Alternate between these two positions using slow and controlled movements. 

Major Targets: Literally all the things…


As a bonus… use a foam roller! It’s a quick way to get your tissues moving, relieve some muscle soreness, and improve your range of motion. Here are some of my favorite areas to hit before hopping into a workout:

  • Glutes
  • Quads
  • IT Bands
  • Groin
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves
  • Lower Back
  • Upper Back
  • Upper Back with Arms in an Overhead Position
  • *Spend 1 minute in each area on both sides!*

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