Daily Movement: Start the Day Off Right


Well, that photo might be a bit extreme! However…

Athletes are good at having a plan for their training.  Many will follow a coach’s prescription or plan their own training days ahead of time.  They will lay out their long days, their hill repeats, their lactate tolerance intervals.  Multisport athletes will try to balance their various sports, and many will work in 2-3 days of strength training as well.  But far fewer will address a daily movement routine.  Yet in my opinion, such a routine is a critical component of successful training and the crafting of a well-functioning, resilient body.

A “Daily Movement Routine” is simply a set of exercises that each work on a foundational movement pattern.  You’ll address your squat, your gluteal muscle firing, your shoulder mobility.  It is very basic, yet not always easy.  The exercises rarely involve weights of any kind.  They serve to ensure your body moves appropriately.  You already move a lot; make sure you are moving well.

For all of its importance, your movement routine does not need to be onerous.  You may be thinking, “I have no more time in the week to add training!”  I’m not asking you to.  This is not extra training, this is a change to what you currently do.  Your movement routine should consist of 10-15 minutes every morning, and you can feel free to cut 10 minutes off your training later that day if needed.  This is that important!

Here’s how it can work, or at least how I implement it.

1. Wake up

2. Have a glass of water (+/- lemon juice and/or apple cider vinegar)

3. Setup and begin to brew your coffee or tea, if that’s your thing.

4. While the coffee is brewing, take 10-15 quiet minutes to gently move your body through full ranges of motion while encouraging postural stability muscles to begin to do their job for the day.

5. When finished, grab that cup of coffee and spend some time reading.  Avoid your phone and email until you’ve had some time to yourself.  Once you open the email, it’s “game on” for the day.  You deserve some time before the daily onslaught starts.

Personally, I have 4 different routines that I rotate through.  Each has a purpose, and the variation keeps the mornings from getting stale.  There is one for a day in which I may swim or do an upper body workout in the gym.  Two that I use before a run or bike ride.  And one that is purely for recovery and relaxation.  As an example, here is what that recovery routine looks like for me.  (Click on the links for info on each movement.)

1. Founder (From “Foundation Training”)

2. Woodpecker (From “Foundation Training”)

3. Deep Squat

4. Couch Stretch

5. Pigeon Stretch

6. Side Lying Windmill

7. Five minutes of foam rolling

8. A few minutes on the Thoracic Peanut

9. And if I have extra time, I’ll spend 20-30 minutes in the NormaTec boots while I read.

I recommend working with a professional to determine some of the movements that your body needs to improve.  At Podium Sports Medicine, we use a Functional Movement Screen to do this.  After evaluating seven basic movement patterns, we can prescribe some “corrective exercises” to address the deficiencies uncovered by the test.  This is how I came up with many of the movements that I’ve added to my routine.  There are some “generic” prescriptions that will work for many athletes, but without that individualization you are only getting a fraction of the potential benefit.  Find out where your problems are lurking, and address them daily with a structured movement routine.  As a side benefit, you’ll feel fantastic for starting your day off this way!

Kevin Sprouse