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Morning Stretches & Exercises

by Gail Sessoms

About Gail Sessoms

Gail Sessoms, a grant writer and nonprofit consultant, writes about nonprofit, small business and personal finance issues. She volunteers as a court-appointed child advocate, has a background in social services and writes about issues important to families. Sessoms holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal studies.


Morning stretches help to warm up your muscles and improve your range of motion. Stretching can increase flexibility, improve circulation and contribute to your sense of well-being. Exercising regularly improves your overall health and reduces your risk for unhealthy weight gain and chronic medical conditions. Modify stretches and exercises to meet your needs and to match your age and fitness level.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing relaxes you and helps prepare you for exercise. Sit in a chair and place both hands on your stomach. Inhale deeply and fill your diaphragm with air. Exhale and feel the movement of your stomach. Perform the exercise three to five times to start and progress to eight to 12 repetitions. Breathe normally and evenly during the exercise.

Side Stretch

Begin this stretch by standing with both arms at your sides. Raise your left arm and place your hand behind your head with your elbow pointed straight out and away from your body. Bend at your waist to the right and allow your right arm to remain straight as your hand moves down to your lower leg. Hold the position for about two seconds and release to return to your starting position. Repeat the bend three to five times to improve flexibility and then switch sides to perform the bend on your left side.

Shoulder Rolls

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands hanging at your sides. Keep your abdominals pulled in and your back straight as your roll your shoulders forward five times. Keeping good posture, reverse the motion and roll your shoulders back for five repetitions.

Piriformis Stretch

This stretch works your piriformis muscle, which runs from the top of your thighbone to your tailbone. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent. Place the ankle of your right leg over your left knee. Grab the thigh of your left leg and pull the knee toward your chest. You should feel the stretch in your buttocks on your right side. Hold the stretch for three seconds or until you feel your muscle relax a little. Repeat the pull and and hold the stretch for an additional 15 seconds. Switch legs and repeat the stretch on your left leg.

Seated Knee Raises

Begin the seated knee raises, also called seated marching, by sitting in a chair. Lift and lower your right knee. Lift and lower your left knee. Repeat this set five to 10 times, alternating your legs as if you are marching. This warm-up exercise improves your range of motion and your hip stability. It may also improve your endurance, according to the Maine Medical Center.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.