As a former competitor and now rowing coach, Mike Whittaker knows how important it is to get your body on board before you tear into your day.
“Warming up and warming down properly are really vital in every sport,” Mike believes, “and we need to take the same thinking into our everyday activity too.”

“Stretching is really some of the easiest but most important exercise we can do for ourselves. We can do a stretch routine anywhere, it doesn’t take long, it’s completely free to do and it will really set you up to take the day.”

Here’s Mike’s seven top stretches that can start your day or get you ready to play:

  1. Calf Stretch
    Stand shoulder-length apart, with your hands on a wall. Keep your heels on the ground and knees straight while you lean into the wall.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “This stretch helps relieves foot, hip, knee and shin pain, and can strengthen/guard your Achilles tendon.” 
  2. Quadriceps Stretch
    Stand feet together and keeping your hips straight, bend your right knee back and take the front of your right foot in your right hand. Keep your knees even as you bend your right knee back. Continue to keep your body straight as you hold this stretch, feeling it on the top of the quadriceps.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “Stretching the quads can help calm knee and back pain as well as improving circulation and even help reduce stress. You can also do this lying face down.” 
  3. Shoulder Stretch
    Stand shoulder-width apart, raise your right arm to shoulder height, and move it across the front of your body. With your left arm pull the right arm as close to the chest as possible and hold. Switch arms and repeat.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “All rowers know your shoulder is one of the most delicate joints in the body, and this shoulder stretch helps improve flexibility and mobility.” 
  4. Triceps Stretch
    With feet shoulder-width apart, raise your right arm over your head. Bend your elbow so that your right hand is reaching for your left shoulder. Use your left hand to pull back on your right elbow. Hold and switch arms.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “Your triceps help support your shoulder and biceps. Maintaining mobility and flexibility is critical for athletic longevity.” 
  5. Runner’s Stretch
    Sit down with one foot tucked in while the other is facing straight forward. Lean forward with your arm extended trying to grab your foot. If you cannot grab your foot, lean forward until you feel your hamstring stretching.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “Lots of runners get hip and knee pain, and this stretch is a great way to try and alleviate this problem.” 
  6. Butterfly Stretch
    Sitting down, align your heels and feet so that they’re touching, and then gently push down on your thighs with your elbows until you feel your groin area being stretched out.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “This stretch helps you open up your hips and thighs to improve your flexibility.” 
  7. Standing Side
    Stretch Standing straight, grab one hand over your head with the other and gently lean to each side while pulling on your hand slightly to engage your muscles between the ribs.
    Try: 3-5 sets x 30 seconds.
    “The standing side stretch works your core, lower back, and spine, and can even assist with stimulating your digestive tract”