For anyone who’s not naturally a morning person, climbing out from under the covers stings about as badly as ripping off a bandage. Things usually don’t get much better until many cups of coffee later, so we’re suggesting a different strategy to shrug off sleepiness: exercise. While it might be hard to get started, you’ll soon find an a.m. sweat session is a great way to jump-start your day.
Working out in the morning is effort enough, so trying to drum up the creativity to concoct a routine is asking too much. Never fear, because we’re sharing five workouts that have done all the thinking for you. Tomorrow’s looking better already.
1. 30-minute early morning workout
For guys who seriously struggle to climb out of bed, a bodyweight workout is the best bet because it eliminates the need to go to the gym. This means you can reallocate time you would have spent commuting to your routine, giving you a more well-rounded workout. Start with this 3-minute morning warm-up from BuiltLean. It targets every major muscle group and you only need a jump rope.
For the workout, you’ll start with a dynamic warm-up to get your muscles moving and gradually raise your heart rate. After you complete the warm-up, move into a circuit that combines squat jumps, push-ups with one leg elevated, mountain climbers, side planks, and jumping jacks. You’ll perform each exercise for 30 seconds, then transition to the next with no rest. At the end of one round, take a 2 to 3 minute breather, then repeat until you complete three or four total rounds.
2. Morning weight workout
Those who like to hit the weight room in the a.m. need to be a little more cautious because this is the time of day when your muscles are most susceptible to injury. Livestrong explains the lack of movement while we sleep causes our muscles to tighten and decreases production of the fluid that keeps joints lubricated. This doesn’t mean you can’t lift in the morning, but you do need to devote plenty of time to warming up before you get started. Start with a bit of cardio on the treadmill or bike, then incorporate some dynamic exercises.
Once your body is ready to hit the weights, try this routine from Muscle & Fitness. You’ll do bench presses, push-ups, pull-ups, dumbbell curls, and triceps cable extensions. You’ll notice the reps vary quite a bit for the different lifts. The idea here is to go for heavy loads for fewer repetitions and lighter weight for more repetitions. And try to make time to wrap up with some stretching.
3. Men’s morning routine
Even though working out at home scores major points for convenience, it’s not for everyone. Some folks like the focus the gym provides. Fortunately, you can still keep the process relatively speedy with this workout from Bodybuilding.com. The routine will help strengthen muscles and build power in just 15 minutes.
As with any workout, devote a little bit of time to warming up before you get started with any weights. Once you’re ready to begin, start with barbell lunges. After completing the first set, you’ll move right into planks, incline push-ups, side bridges, Russian twists, and jump squats. If you have extra time on your hands, you can always tack on a short HIIT program at the end. Mountain climbers, burpees, and jumping rope will all work.
4. Early bird bodyweight workout
Feeling foggy in the morning can cause problems for your workout if you find yourself struggling to remember a long list of moves or varying repetitions. This is why we love this simplistic approach to the morning workout from STACK. It involves just four different exercises, each performed as three sets of 10 repetitions. Easy and effective.
After a brief warm-up, get yourself set up to perform push-ups with your legs elevated. This slight change to the basic move increases the load for your upper body as well as your core. Next, you’ll do single-leg squats with squat jumps to both strengthen your lower body and help build explosive power. You’ll finish with regular and side planks to strengthen your core, particularly your obliques.
As much as we love how quickly HIIT allows us to finish a workout, going for such a vigorous effort every day is going to leave you feeling wiped out. In order to achieve your fitness goals, you should also incorporate some steady-state cardio, and running is the easiest way to do it. You don’t even need to go very long to reap the benefits. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running for 5 to 10 minutes every day was associated with a significantly reduced risk of mortality, particularly from heart disease.
Keep in mind, running can also be used for interval training on occasions when you do want to go for a challenging workout. Check out these great routines from Runner’s World. And because all you need is a good pair of shoes, you can get started first thing tomorrow.
Follow Christine on Twitter @christineskopec