Being able to touch your toes definitely means you're flexible, but it's also a fair indicator of how well you can lift heavy objects, move around in everyday life and squat or deadlift in the weight room. If you can't reach your toes, these exercises will help. Image by Danielle Moler.
Try to touch your toes first. It should look like this. If you can't touch your toes, you may just have tight hamstrings, but it often goes deeper than that. Your entire backside, collectively called the posterior chain, is all connected, so what could superficially seem like a hamstring problem could also be a lower back problem, or vice versa. Try this two-minute flexibility routine:
- Standing Toe Touch Stretch: Focus on hinging your hips rather than simply bending at your waist (and therefore rounding your back) to reach down. If your hips are too tight, you'll find this difficult.
- Cat/Camel: These two moves together help loosen a tight lower back.
- Star Stretch: Stand with legs spread past shoulder width, raise both arms skyward, and slowly reach one arm down to the opposite leg. Do the same for the other arm.
- Moon the Sky: As the name suggests, you're trying to stick your butt straight into the air. This is actually a great way to groove the squat pattern, too.
Hold each position for 30 seconds and do these stretches a few times a week. Keep assessing your progress by attempting to touch your toes. If your range of motion has improved, that's progress.
How to Touch Your Toes: Become Bendy Like Gumby [Nerd Fitness]