Why can't hitting the snooze button be considered a workout? Well, it doesn't really require much effort or energy and will not get your heart pumping—we wish it did, though! But what will get that blood flowing is adding a quick workout to your morning routine. The thought of working out bright and early isn't everyone's cup of tea, but regardless of your experience level, there are workouts that can change the trajectory of your morning whether it's providing an energy boost or setting the tone for the rest of the day. Did you know exercise releases neurotransmitters shown to promote mental clarity and an increased attention span? Those are just a few benefits of morning workouts, and there are more.
We talked with a few of the most-esteemed fitness trainers to gather some of the best exercises to jumpstart your morning, from squats to toe touches. Not only are these workouts quick, but there's no need to worry about form as we've provided step-by-step instructions illustrating how to do these movements safely and effectively at home.
Disclaimer: Talk with your doctor before starting any new workout regimen.
1. Prisoner Squat
Instructions from Coach Magazine:
1. Start with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing out slightly. Keep your chest up and place both hands on the back of your head, with your elbows pointing out to the sides.
2. Lower slowly by moving your hips down and back, keeping your back straight and looking forwards, until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then drive back up, pushing through your heels.
3. Aim to take three seconds to lower, pause at the bottom of the move, then take one or two seconds to return to standing. Aim for three sets of 12 reps.
2. Elbow to Knee + Toe Tap
Emmons shares that this exercise is great for obliques and overall core activation. He reminds us that the two movements together make one repetition.
Instructions from OncoLink.org:
1. Bend your knees, with heels on the ground. Put both hands behind your head, with elbows pointing outward.
2. Contract or tighten your stomach/abdominal muscles Lift your upper body off of the ground and reach your right elbow to your left knee. Pause. Slowly and with control, lower your upper body back to the starting position on the ground.
3. Repeat the abdominal exercise, this time reaching your left elbow to your right knee. Continue to alternate or switch sides for eight to 12 repetitions.
Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, the founder of Melissa Wood Health and creator of the MWH Method, is a fan of hundreds.
1. Legs in tabletop, head flat on the floor.
2. Tuck your chin in towards your chest.
3. Extend arms long, hovering an inch above the ground as you slowly extend your legs with heels together and toes apart (make sure heels are pressing together).
4. Five short breaths in and five short breaths out while holding position and pumping your arms vigorously for 10 rounds.
4. Toe Taps
Tepperberg shares four easy steps to doing effective toe touches.
1. Bring your legs into tabletop.
2. Knees directly above your hips.
3. Long energetic arms pressing into the floor in a V shape.
4. Keep your left leg in tabletop, reach your right toes down to the top of the mat and alternate for 10 on each side.
5. Single-Leg Glute Bridge
This exercise "gives the glutes and hamstrings a nice burn while strengthening your hips and core," Tibbs says.
1. Lie on the ground and bend one knee so that your foot is planted on the floor about 6 inches from your butt.
2. The other leg is bent with the foot off the floor and the knee close to your chest.
3. Squeeze your glutes and press into the foot that is on the floor to drive your hips up to the sky and opposite knee closer to your chest.
4. Slowly lower your hips back down to the ground, bringing your torso with you. Complete 15 reps on each leg.
6. Plank Jacks
"These are a perfect upgrade to a traditional plank because it requires more control while raising the heart rate to give you a cardio boost to start your day!" Tibbs says.
1. Get into a plank position with your wrists and elbows stacked directly below your shoulders and feet hip-distance apart.
2. Quickly jump your feet out wide and then back to the starting position. The goal is to maintain a strong plank position and keep a soft landing with your feet.
3. Use your core to stay in position and to maintain control. Perform this move for 30 seconds.
7. Sprinter Crunch
"This is my favorite crunch variation because it requires massive amounts of core strength and power, plus it helps you tap into your inner athlete!" Tibbs shares.
1. Lie on your back with your legs extended straight out and arms straight at your sides.
2. Engage your core to simultaneously lift your torso and one knee off the ground.
3. Bring your opposite elbow towards the knee that is off the ground by rotating at the torso.
4. Lower back down with control then switch sides.
5. It should mimic sprinting every time you crunch up. Perform this move for 30 seconds.
8. Bear to Half Getup
James Shapiro, sports performance coach at Sports Academy in California, shares the following four morning exercises to get the blood pumping.
1. Start off in an elevated quadraped position (hands and toes on the ground, knees elevated an inch or two off the ground).
2. Begin rotating your body by keeping opposing limbs on the ground (think right arm and left foot staying down) and moving the other limbs in a motion to open your hips to the ceiling.
3. The finished position has the free moving hand making a fist with arm straight to the ceiling and the free moving leg extended with your heel touching the ground.
4. Return back to the start position. Feel free to move either in an alternating pattern or staying with the same side.
9. Jumping Bowler Squat
1. Start off focusing on one foot on the ground while the other foot hovers off the ground.
2. Perform a curtsy squat with the floating leg curling behind your body.
3. As you start going up, you apply more force into the ground and jump up on one leg and land on one leg.
4. Land, stabilize, and perform another repetition.
10. Oblique Hollow Body Rockers
1. Start on the ground laying on your back with your legs together and extended with arms overhead.
2. Raise your legs up a tiny bit off the ground along with your shoulders and arms. Your low back should be pressing into the ground (aka the hallow out position).
3. Tilt your body to one side and begin rocking with small oscillations while keeping your body's position. Perform for time or repetitions.
11. Alternating V-Up Pulses
1. Start on your back with legs straight and arms straight overhead.
2. Raise opposing limbs (leg and arm) towards the ceiling and attempt to reach the shin or foot.
3. Once you've made your attempt or contact, lower only by 10% before attempting another contact.
4. Return back down to the ground and alternate to the other arm and leg that were not active in the previous repetition.
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This article originally appeared on The Thirty
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