Sunrise in Sutton Square Park. Image Credit: Global Jet/flickr
People tend to fall into one of two camps: (a) morning people and (b) everyone else. If you’re in the “everyone else” category, we get it. Morning workouts don’t sound enticing.
Regardless of how you feel about mornings, though, many of us don’t have a choice: we have to work out in the morning! For any number of reasons, it’s often the most ideal time to get moving. And who knows? Maybe if your morning workouts can be awesome, you’ll have something to look forward to when the alarm clock goes off.
So, in the spirit of staying positive about mornings, we’ve pulled together 9 exercises to make morning workouts effective and easy.
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In the morning, set a goal for the day and what you plan to achieve – including fitness and exercise goals. If you start the day off right, with an achievable goal, you’ll feel really good when you nail it. And every day that you do, you’ll build confidence that you can achieve bigger and more challenging goals.
Benefits of Good Morning Exercise
Morning exercise should focus on three important things: mobility, routine, and metabolism. Mobility ensures you can move without pain or restriction. If you increase your mobility, you can graduate to more difficult exercises and significantly improve your lifestyle. Excellent mobility is a goal we should all shoot for.
Morning exercise should focus on three important things: mobility, routine, and metabolism.
Morning exercise forces you to develop a healthy routine, too. Routines (habits) are important. We have them regardless of whether we know it or not. The key is to get into healthy routines. Most of us – something like 80% or so – function better in the morning than in the evening. With that in mind, take advantage of a healthier lifestyle with a morning exercise routine.
Finally, good morning exercise supports a healthy metabolism when you wait until after you exercise to eat breakfast. You should definitely think about eating something to get you going, but research has proven that after exercising, your body actually burns more calories.
Daily Morning Exercise – 9 Easy Exercises
Here are 9 simple to do, easy exercises for your morning workout at the gym.
1. Jump Squats
Jump squats use your whole body and really get blood pumping. This type of explosive exercise is recommended by BodyBuilding.com as one of the top morning workouts.
Planks strengthen and stretch at the same time, and are another great, total body move. You can easily modify them for your specific fitness level, too.
3. Push Ups (Or Incline Push Ups)
This simple bodyweight exercise is a staple of any morning workout routine. Challenge yourself by changing up your typically push up into one you haven’t tried before, or incorporate burpees.
4. Mason Twists (Use a Kettlebell or Plate)
Ramp up your take on the mason twist by adding a kettlebell or plate. There’s no need to go super heavy – just something to add to intensity a little bit. For an easy morning set, leave your feet on the floor. When you’re ready for a challenge, lift them up and keep them lifted as you twist.
5. Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings enjoy the whole body but focus on really shaping and engaging your core. To avoid injury, use the right amount of weight when you’re working with kettlebells. Check out a kettlebell sizing guide here.
6. Glute Bridge/Glute Raise
What’s cool about these is that you can pretend you haven’t really gotten out of bed. Lay on the floor and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle, feet flat on the floor. Then, using your glutes, hamstrings, and quads, lift your butt off the floor so that there is a straight line from your upper back to your knees. Repeat.
Tabata covers so many of the basics of great workout routines. If you do it in the morning, you’ll take your challenge to another level. You’ll burn an enormous amount of calories and fat in a short period of time, while boosting your metabolism. It’s the perfect way to incorporate a bunch of different – but simple – exercises in the morning.
For guidance, see the tabata morning exercise video embedded below.
Every now and then, change up your morning workout by doing something competitive, like basketball. Shoot some hoops with friends or a new group, or just get out on the court and challenge yourself. You’ll work up a sweat and have some fun at the same time. Who doesn’t want to make that free throw? You’ll keep going until you do, guaranteed.
We’ve covered swimming in the past, and that’s because it’s such an incredible workout. Some morning swimmers swear by it, because while swimming, you can clear your mind for the day and mentally prepare. It’s calming, relaxing, and an ideal way to burn calories while starting your day off in the right state of mind.
Morning Exercise Video
Yoga Morning Exercise Video
Yoga in the morning is practically a given, which is why we didn’t include it above in the list of 9. If you like yoga or are even thinking about liking yoga, check Yoga with Adriene’s super beneficial and effective morning exercise video.
Tabata Morning Exercise Video
Here’s a quick, 16 minute tabata workout meant for the morning. This will give you some ideas about which exercises to incorporate, and how to think about and execute a tabata workout the right way.