Are you an early riser? The famous German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer stated that “mornings are to a certain extent sacred, as they’re the best time to release creativity and productiveness”.
Unfortunately, they’re also the time in which most of us are occupied with tasks of existential importance, especially if you work a regular 9 to 5 job.
Trying to squeeze a workout in an already hectic morning schedule is an enormous challenge for many. But it doesn’t have to be.
In this article you’ll learn how to create a quick 20 minute morning workout that will raise your energy levels and keep you fit. You will also get a sample workout that you can implement whenever you’re ready.
First of all, here are some things you should focus on:
1. Bodyweight Exercises
Let’s assume that you don’t have any fancy equipment at home, and it’s just you and your willpower to get pumped. In that case, bodyweight exercises are the best solution. The great thing about them is that you don’t have to do a long warm-up.
Bodyweight resistance is tolerable for the joints and muscles even if you don’t warm-up fully or stretch. This means that you can do a few sets of push-ups, sit-ups or bodyweight squats as soon you wake up.
2. Elevate Your Heart Rate
Since you won’t be doing a lot of sets due to time restriction, the only real way to get benefits from a quick workout is to reduce rest between sets. By doing this your workout will partially take form of a cardio routine, while also engaging your muscle.
The best way to reduce rest between sets is to do a circuit routine, by going from one exercise to the next.
The trick is to have each exercise engage a different set of muscles. For example, you can do one set of squats and then one set of push-ups followed by a set of sit-ups. By the time you’re done with that, your legs are ready for a new set of squats. This way you will get a lot of work done in a short period of time. Your heart rate will be high enough to produce a fat burning effect, while you’ll be building muscle at the same time.
Whether you will want one or the other, of course, depends on your diet as well, but both of these options are available.
It’s good to have some variation as well. You don’t have to do a muscle building workout every morning. Just like training in the gym, doing home workouts will get your muscles sore if you repeatedly attack them day after day.
When you’re feeling like it’s time to take a break from regular exercises, do some cardio instead. 20 minutes on a treadmill or stationary bike is a good way to get the blood flowing and to speed up your metabolism.
If you don’t have these machines at your disposal, do a quick jump-rope workout. Jumping rope engages the leg muscles very well, especially the calves. It’s also a good ab exercise as the whole midsection is engaged in an isometric exercise throughout the workout.
Investing in a set of dumbbells can really pay off when it comes to these short workouts. If you’ve got a pair of 20 pounds dumbbells at home, you can do almost every exercise out there.
Dumbbells come in handy especially when working out shoulders, traps and smaller muscle groups like biceps and triceps, which are hard to develop by doing bodyweight exercises. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but doing head stands and other crazy stuff in an apartment, especially after you just woke up probably isn’t something most of us are likely to do. But doing a set of bicep curls is much more likely to provide you with a good pump and a pleasant experience.
5. Explosive Movements
Since we’ve got a limited amount of time to perform the workout, it wouldn’t be wise to focus too much on the form, proper contractions of the muscle and all of that stuff. I’m not saying that’s not important, but you don’t have to perform each rep perfectly.
There are a few ways to train. One involves the slow, perfect execution of each rep, and the other one is balls-to-the-wall style where you basically go crazy and try to do as many reps as possible. Your form should still be decent, but the focus is on ‘feeling’ the muscle from a subjective perspective, rather than doing everything by the book.
So if you feel the burning sensation in your pecs while you’re doing fast, explosive push ups, it will get the job done. There’s no need to have your back in perfect line with the floor and your arms in perfect distance from the torso. Leave those details for longer workouts where you actually have the time to worry about it.
Even if you’re not into doing a serious workout, you can still put in some stretches. Whether you like pilates, yoga or sports stretches, it doesn’t really matter. The point is that you work on your flexibility and get rid of the rest induced stiffness.
The morning is the best time to do some serious stretching, as you didn’t intake any food yet. So your digestive system won’t cause you trouble while performing crazy movements.
With those tips in mind, here are two sample workouts that you can implement starting today…
1. Quick Circuit Bodyweight Workout
- Squats 30 reps
- Push Ups 30 reps
- Sit Ups 30 reps
- Tricep Dips 15 reps
- Repeat x3
2. Quick Cardio, Dumbells and Bodyweight Workout
- Warm Up: Jump Rope 7 min
- Push Ups 30 reps
- DB Bicep Curls 15 reps
- DB Side Raises 12 reps
- Plank 30 sec
- Repeat exercises 3x
There is always a way to get a workout in no matter how busy you are. Although not an icon or inspirational character, George Bush was recently on Jimmy Kimmel show and said that while he was the president he made sure to get a workout in every morning.
Regardless of your position on his policies, if the POTUS can squeeze in a workout in his hectic schedule, I’m sure everyone else can! I hope this article will help you in doing that.
Featured photo by javi_indy