Why you should do cat/cow as part of your morning stretch routine

Welcome to our weekly Move of the Week series. Every Monday, we’ll be sharing with you one of our favourite exercises – how to do them, what muscles they work and why they should be a regular part of your workout regime. This week: cat/cow. 

Moving our muscles and joints for the first time after eight-ish hours lying in bed can be a real shock. No matter how flexible or mobile you are, most of us wake up feeling achey and stiff. Taking some time to create space in your joints and stretch out muscles is important to get rid of discomfort before the day. 

That’s where cat/cow comes in. A full-body stretch that targets commonly tight parts of the body, like the shoulders, hips and spine. 

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What is cat/cow pose? 

Cat/cow is a dynamic sequence performed in all fours, where you move your spine through extension and flexion. 

This exercise is great because it:

It improves mind-to-muscle control: focusing your attention on each part of the spine as you move slowly and dynamically will help your exercise performance.

It reduces pain: by stretching muscles in the hips and shoulders.

It improves mobility: as you work through full range of motion. 

What muscles are worked in cat/cow?

Cat/cow is a full body stretch. Some of the muscles it targets include: 

  • Rear delts 
  • Pecs
  • Rhomboids
  • Spinae erectors
  • Hip flexors
  • Glute medius

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How to do cat/cow

  1. Begin in an all-fours position with your shoulders directly over your wrists and your hips stacked on top of your knees. 
  2. Keep your neck neutral and pull your belly button to your spine to engage the core. 
  3. Inhale as you lift your head to the sky and arch your back, pushing your belly towards the ground. 
  4. Exhale to push your belly to the sky as you round your back and tuck your head. 
  5. Repeat. 

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Images: Stylist

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