Mobility Moves

Improved flexibility will benefit all aspects of your health and fitness – from posture, to strength training, to sporting performance. And who better to ask for their go-to flexibility routine than rising star of British gymnastics Joe Fraser

The 22-year-old is the 2019 World Champion on the parallel bars – the first British gymnast ever to hold the title – and he’ll be aiming to add Olympic gold to that achievement later this year.  

“Some of my earliest memories are of doing flips off the bed and the sofa,” Fraser tells LK. “So my mum took me down to the local gym when I was about five, so I could do them in a more controlled environment. I’ve not looked back since.”

Despite injury setback in 2018 – damaging ligaments in his ankle after a fall from the high bar, meaning he was unable to compete in the 2018 Commonwealth Games – Fraser bounced back to make history at the World Champs just one year later.

At 22, Fraser will hope his best years are still ahead of him, but away from the bright lights of competition it’s the long hours of training – six to seven every single day – that make him the gymnast he is. And a key component of that training is flexibility: making sure his strength, balance and range of motion are primed for the hugely demanding moves his routines entail.

Here, Fraser outlines the daily stretches he goes through to stay strong and supple. 

Pike Fold
Benefits: Stretch out the back, hips, glutes and hamstrings
– Sit on the floor with straight legs.
– Now reach your arms up in the air and fold forward – keeping straight arms.
– Make sure your knees are facing up and your legs are straight.
– The aim is to get your chest to your knees, but just go as low as you can.
– Flex the toes to stretch the calves, too.

Japana
Benefits: Stretch out the lower back, inner thighs and hamstrings
– Sit on the floor with straight legs.
– Now push your legs out to the sides – as far as they can comfortably go.
– Walk your hands out in front of you and attempt to get your chest to the floor.
– Go as far as you can and hold the stretch until time runs out. 

Upward Dog
Benefits: Stretch out the chest, shoulders, abdominals, triceps, forearms and lower back
– Begin lying flat on your stomach. Bend your elbows and bring your hands next to your chest so your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. Draw your shoulder blades together.
– Start to lift your torso off the floor, keeping your legs straight and strong.
– Inhale and lift your torso further while raising your hips and thighs off the floor. Tilt your head back slightly.
– Keep your arms straight and press through the tops of your feet.