Before my current migraine treatment, I spent about a year practically bedridden from the chronic pain. After months of extremely restricted movement, I found myself in an emotional rut. I’d been told many times that exercise would help get me out of the depression, but I could barely get to the kitchen to feed myself, let alone get to a gym to work out. 

I started doing some physical therapy movements while in bed (or on the floor) to try to raise my heart rate and my mood, but I’m not a trainer and my imagination is limited when it comes to exercise. Recently, I asked the trainers if they had any tips for movements that can be done from the floor or in bed, and let me tell you, they provided! 

Here are nine movements to stretch, release tension, engage muscles, and raise heart rate, all starting from either lying on your back or your stomach:

  1. Cross Knee Drop

Purpose: Create space & release tension in lower back, stretch glutes and hamstrings

While lying on your back, bend your knees and put one ankle over your knee. Drop your foot to the ground, rotating your hips and pushing your knee in the air away from your hips.

  1. Arm Cogs

Purpose: Improve mobility in shoulders

While lying on your back with arms outstretched, rotate one hand backward and the other forward as if you’re wringing out a washrag.

  1. Glute Bridge

Purpose: Engage glutes

Lying on your back with your knees bent and your pelvis in a posterior tilt, bridge up so your pelvis is in line with your knees. Activate your glutes, pressing into the floor with your heels, keeping your shoulder blades in contact with the floor. Keep a straight back by engaging your abdominal muscles.

  1. Arm Sweeps

Purpose: Open chest and shoulders

Lying on your side with your knees bent as if sitting in a chair, your arms out in front of you at shoulder height with both palms up, reach overhead, keeping your top hand in contact with the ground while you reach up. Sweep your arm in a half circle motion. Cross your body and sweep arms away.

  1. Glute Bridge March

Purpose: Engage glutes

Glute bridge. With your arms straight out in the air at shoulder height (like Frankenstein), lift one knee at a time, touching the lifted knee with the opposite hand. Put your foot back on the floor in between. 

  1. Planks

Purpose: Engage abdominals, improve shoulder stability and overall balance

From a prone position, with your back flat, your hands shoulder width apart and your feet hip width apart, push up on your hands. Keep your hands, elbows, and shoulders in line, and keep your hips, pelvis, back, and head in line.

  1. Controlled Mountain Climbers

Purpose: Engage core, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and balance. Depending on tempo, elevate heart rate.

Full plank with hands shoulder width apart and feet hip width apart. Move one foot at a time under your hip, keeping knee in line with elbow, tapping the ground with your foot, and move your foot back to parallel. 

  1. Plank High Low

Purpose: Engage arms and core, elevate heart rate

Full plank with hands shoulder width apart and feet hip width apart. Drop down onto forearms one arm at a time, keeping elbows in line with shoulders. Push back up into a full plank one arm at a time.

  1. Plank Hip Drop

Purpose: Plank with rotational movement, engaging abdominals

Plank on your forearms with your elbows under your shoulders, hands in a relaxed position, and feet shoulder width apart. Rotate your pelvis to the right and to the left, toward the floor.

Savannah Profile 

Savannah Wade

EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT