Last week we discussed the connection between mobility and sleep. Hopefully y'all have had sweet dreams and mobile limbs because of it, since obviously you diligently follow the MOD blog and do literally everything it says to do. Well done, gold stars given.
So this week I thought we'd focus on the other end of the spectrum: Waking up your butt! For those of us that have a hard time sleeping, go to bed too late, or stress through the night, waking up in the morning can turn into nothing short of a miracle. So whether you're exhausted or Monday mornings just ain't your thing, these exercises are inspired to mobilize you into a ball of freakin' sunshine, even if the sun hasn't woken up yet (I'm talking to you wacky 5:30am-ers). Just as stretching and rolling can induce relaxation and sleepiness, more dynamic and stimulating exercises can wake you up, perhaps even more than your bulletproof coffee (I know, bold statement but give it a shot).
You may have noticed in the last blog that many of the exercises were geared towards forward folding, laying down, and stretching the back and hips. Conversely, in the AM we are looking to stimulate the nervous system and increase core temperature, not sedate it. We want to focus on the neck, head, chest, and bending the spine backwards. The following movements are meant to be done with a little pep in your step, so don't just lay there and pretend your living room floor is now your bed. (Except for the first couple exercises, which you actually could totally still do from your bed making it possibly even more awesome.)
WINDING UP SPINAL TWIST
While laying on your back, draw your knees up to your chest and then drop them to the right with your arms stretched out to a "T". Keep your legs where they are and then bring your left arm to meet your right, so that you are lying on your side, and then stretch the left arm back out again, reaching to the left. Bring your head along for the ride too so that you are moving your gaze following the left hand. Keep stretching the left arm back and forth perhaps picking up a tiny bit of speed/whacking your cat and/or partner along the way (uh hello, they should probs get up too). Do about 10-15 stretches before switching sides.
Still lying on your back, draw your knees into your chest and then immediately stretch them out away from you to an (ideally-perfect-world-scenario) 90-degree angle — so straight up at the ceiling. Do that about five times then lower the angle to 45-degrees and repeat for another five times. Keep lowering the angle until you feel your back arching in which case you have gone too far so bring your feet back up. DO about 15-20 total. You should be getting legit awake at this point.
ARMS UP ARMS DOWN
Alright, you finally have to get out of the bed. Stand nice and tall and as you inhale reach your arms overhead while you bend backwards as much as is comfortable, no straining here. Then as you exhale arms come back up and overhead and reach towards the ground. Feel free to bend your knees when reaching for the ground as our lovely lil' hammies are usually pretty tight this early on. Repeat this 10-15 times with the last five being decently faster than the first ten. If you wanna mix it up a bit, clasp your hands behind your back and do the same thing but this time when you bend forward try to reach your hands up and over your back.
Enjoy this moment because never in a million years will your CrossFit coach let you count it in a WOD. Come down onto your belly, plant your hands under your shoulders like you are going for that baller pushup, however, keep the tops of your feet down and bring your toes together and your heels apart. From here just push up maybe halfway if not less and then come back down. Keep pressing halfway up until you feel warmed up, in which case you can slowly progress towards straightening your arms, but only if it doesn't put too much strain on the low back. Make sure your head stays neutral, as in don't crank on your neck in some weird way in order to check out how your bum looks. We all know you squat so I'm sure it looks great. Repeat this 15 or so times and if you want to sync your breathing to the movement, you'll inhale as you push up and exhale as you lay down.
Okay, at this point you better be totally awake and if not then clearly you didn't do the night time sleepy exercises so go back to last weeks blog post! Please mind though — just doing the morning exercises to combat your sleepiness is NOT enough. The night time practices are crucial and they are what lead to you being less sleepy in the AM. Commence being a ball of insanely bright sunshine.