Korean National Stretching Routine

You all know it. Maybe you love it. Maybe you hate it. Yep. It’s the Korean National Stretching Routine and it’s serious business for its daily practitioners. Everyone from kids to elders celebrate this quick, 3-minute routine which has been part of South Korea’s national health program since 1977. The routine consists of 12 exercises and a brief cool down.

The Korean National Stretching Routine is not intended to be a fancy, complicated stretching system. It’s very basic and can be performed anywhere. The routine is meant simply as a way to get up and get some blood pumping in your body. So, whether it be children preparing for a school soccer game or adults needing to stretch a bit during a long day in the office, the Korean National Stretching Routine fits nicely for these kinds of fitness needs.

Check out the video of our friends Kevin & Yejin doing the full routine above or check out the breakdown of the routine below:

Korean National Stretching Routine


1. Walking in Place (제자리걷기)

Just what it sounds like.


2. Arm Stretches / Breathing Exercise (숨쉬기운동)

Move both arms out in front of you and then over your head. Then bring the arms down on your right and left sides, keeping them straight. Do this while breathing steadily, concentrating on taking deep breaths.


3. Leg Exercise (다리운동)

Squat down onto your heels as low as is comfortable for you and bounce a few times. Then, stand while leaning over, keeping your hands above your knees. Repeat the motion.


4. Arm Exercise (팔운동)

Using a full range of motion, swing the arms forward over your head, back down in front, and then back over your head making a full circle. This exercise should be performed very loosely, allowing for the shoulders to get full and proper rotation.


Korea National Stretching Routine

5. Neck Rolls (목운동)

We love neck rolls in any stretch routine. While we prefer to do slower rolls over a longer period of time, we are happy to see their inclusion in his routine. Allow the head to softly roll in clockwise and then counter-clockwise motions.


Korea National Stretching Routine

6. Chest Exercise (가슴운동)

Holding your arms to the site, push out your chest as you take in a breath. Try to feel the stretch as you stretch out and pull back your arms slightly. This exercise is meant to help open the chest (not literally of course)


Korea National Stretching Routine

7. Side Body Stretch (옆구리운동)

Another favorite. Raise one arm over your head and lean towards the opposite side. This is a great way to stretch out your lats and hips. We have this in our normal morning stretch routine as well. Repeat for the other arm.


Korea National Stretching Routine

8.  Back and Stomach Exercise (등배운동)

These are standing toe-touches for two counts followed immediately by putting your hands on your hips and stretching your head backwards. The combination of forward toe-touches with a backwards moving head helps build back stabilization.


Korea National Stretching Routine

9. Torso Exercise (몸통운동)

These are basic standing, twist rotations. Another great exercise that’s simple but great at getting your blood moving.


10. Full Body Exercise (온몸운동)

Turning to one side, take a step and thrust your arms in an upward motion four times on each side.


Korea National Stretching Routine

11. Jumping in Place (뜀뛰기운동)

It’s Irish jig time. Jump in place with two feet and then alternate between each foot, giving small, outward kicks.


Korea National Stretching Routine

12. Arm and Leg Exercise (팔다리운동)

Swinging your arms criss-cross over the front of your body, take a brief half squat, then stand again. Next, kick one knee up and then the other, keeping your arms swinging in front of you the entire time.


Korea National Stretching Routine

Cool Down (숨고르기)

Holding your arms out loosely to your sides, palms face up, tilt your head back just a bit and breathe slowly in and out.

What do you think of the Korean National Stretching Routine? Have you ever done it or seen it performed in public? Let us know below in the comments.


~~ Get Fit Korea