Even if you’re not super tall, trying to touch your toes can make your feet seem really far away. It may take some dedication, but it is possible to touch your toes! Here’s what to do.

Touching your toes can help improve your hamstring, calf, and lower back flexibility. That extra give in your muscles can improve your posture, relieve back and neck pain, and just make you feel better in general.

1. Banded hamstring stretch

If you can’t grab your toes yet, let a resistance band close the gap for you! Be sure to keep your back flat on the floor to minimize spinal stress in this move.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back and loop a yoga strap or resistance band around one foot.
  2. Slowly raise the foot with the strap until you feel a stretch. Keep legs straight and back flat.
  3. Hold the stretch until you feel a *teensy* bit uncomfortable (but you shouldn’t be in pain).
  4. Hold the tension for about 30 seconds, then release.
  5. Repeat 3 times on each leg.

2. Seated straddle stretch

Hop into the flexibility saddle with the seated straddle. It zeroes in on your lower back, hamstrings, and calf muscles.

How to do it:

  1. Sit with your legs straight and straddled as far apart as you can without feeling sharp pain.
  2. Slowly reach toward one foot with both hands until you feel a little stretch.
  3. Hold the position for about 30 seconds.
  4. Repeat 3 times on each leg.

3. Standing toe reach

You’ll want to channel some “Legally Blonde” bend and snap energy for this one. Make Elle Woods proud by stretching out your hams and calves.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Shift hips back slightly and slide your arms down your thighs toward your feet.
  3. Whether you can graze your shins or your ankles, continue to lower your arms until you feel a stretch in the back of your legs.
  4. Hold for 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 3 times.

4. Cat-Cow

This classic yoga pose will target your back and hips and have you moooving closer to your toes in no time. Meow!

How to do it:

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with shoulders directly over wrists and hips over knees.
  2. Exhale, round your spine, and drop your head toward the floor. (This is Cat!)
  3. Inhale and lift your head, chest, and tailbone toward the ceiling. Your back should be arched, with your stomach lowering toward the floor. (Now you’re in Cow!)
  4. Repeat 3 times.

5. Downward Dog

Step aside, Cat-Cow, there’s a new dog in town. This yoga pose will stretch out your hamstrings, calves, and spine.

How to do it:

  1. Start on all fours again: shoulders over wrists, hips over knees.
  2. Lift your knees off the floor, pressing up from your hands and straightening your legs as much as you can until your bod forms an upside-down V.
  3. Try to sink your heels toward the floor. Feeling a little tight? It’s OK to bend your knees a little.
  4. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat 3 times.

6. Pigeon Pose

Ready to take flight? This yoga pose targets your hips and glutes to take your lower-body flexibility to new heights.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a low lunge with your front leg bent and back leg extended behind you.
  2. Lower to the floor by opening your front bent knee away from your body.
  3. Walk your hands out in front of you, letting your chest rest over your knee.
  4. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
  5. Repeat on the other side.

7. Figure-four stretch

Time to get into four-mation. This stretch will open up your hips and boost your thigh muscle flexibility.

How to do it:

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Cross right ankle over left thigh.
  3. Lift left foot off the floor and grasp the back of your left thigh with both hands.
  4. Use your hands to pull your legs toward your chest. Be sure your head and shoulders stay glued to the mat. (If they just won’t stay put, loop a resistance band or yoga strap around your leg instead of using your hands.)
  5. Hold for 30–60 seconds.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

8. Calf stretch on the wall

Releasing tension in your calves can do a lot to help you eventually reach your toes. To pull off this pose, all you need is a wall.

How to do it:

  1. Place your palms on the wall and stand about arm’s length away from it.
  2. Put one foot in front of the other.
  3. Push against the wall and bend your front leg forward. Keep your back leg straight.
  4. Feel the stretch in your back leg? Keep feelin’ it for about 30 seconds.
  5. Switch sides and repeat.

9. Half Splits

You don’t need to be able to bust out the splits like Simone Biles to do the half splits. Basically, this stretch gently targets one leg at a time so you can find and correct flexibility imbalances.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a low lunge with hands on the floor.
  2. Straighten your front leg as much as possible without saying “ouch.”
  3. Aim to hold the position for 30 seconds.
  4. Switch sides.

10. Magic trick

You’ll need a couple books or a slim yoga block to pull off this magic trick. This will help redistribute your balance so you *magically* bend into a toe touch.

How to do it:

  1. Put a couple books or a block on the floor.
  2. Stand with feet together and put your toes on the books and heels on the floor.
  3. Reach down and try to touch your toes. Bend your knees if you need!
  4. Hold for at least 30 seconds. Do this at least 3 times.
  5. Repeat, but with your heels on the books and toes on the floor.

Make the most of your stretching routine by following these three key tips:

  • Warm up. Warm muscles are the stretchiest. To get super bendy, get your blood pumping with 5–10 mins of light cardio before getting started. Even moving around in the hot sunshine or taking a warm bath beforehand can help.
  • Stretch your best. When you stretch, focus on the muscle you’re stretching and really breathe, imagining that you’re sending your breath into the areas of tension and tightness. You’ve got this!
  • Find the time. Making stretching a regular part of your weekly routine is the best way to reap results. In a pinch, even just 5–10 mins at a time can add up.

Stretching and painfully sore or pulled muscles don’t mix. Here’s how to play it safe as you stretch it out:

  • Pain = no gain. You definitely don’t want to let out a yelp when you’re stretching. To avoid a pulled muscle, aim for a little discomfort, not severe pain.
  • Don’t bounce it out. Lots of people feel tempted to snap into position, but that can lead to injury. Instead, aim to ease into it. Choppy movements when stretching can lead to muscle tightness, while smooth ones will loosen things up.
  • Proper form should be the norm. Stretches aren’t that helpful unless you do them correctly. To get the best results, take time to go slowly and get it right the first time. If you’re unsure about a stretch, talk with a personal trainer.

Stretching regularly will help you touch your toes. To see results, aim to stretch (slowly and safely) for at least 15 minutes 4 times a week for 8 weeks.

The increased flexibility may relieve back or neck pain, reduce your risk of injury, improve your balance, and boost your range of motion.