The morning routine I put together focuses on 3 core pillars, body, mind, and progress. Usually, I do a combination of bodyweight exercises for 5 minutes straight as part of my routine to get my heart rate up, blood flowing, and body warmed up.
You might ask, why only 5 minutes? Because anyone can commit to 5 minutes a day. It’s not the only thing I do to work out most days, but if it is the only thing I end up having time for, at least I was able to do some pushups, squats, or some other physical exercise. And…it helps me easily create a habit of working out.
Why I Like Bodyweight Exercises
There are a lot of reasons that I like to use bodyweight exercises as part of my workout routine. For one thing, it’s easy to work out no matter where you are. When we went on our cross-country road trip, I was still able to work out every morning. It was easy to do these exercises without having to pack additional equipment.
Especially in light of the pandemic, bodyweight exercises have allowed me to stick with my workout goals without being affected by gym closings. I’ve been able to push on and stay consistent because I didn’t rely on being able to get to the gym.
Also, you don’t have to have fancy exercise equipment at home to do these types of routines. Sure…you can use a few low-cost items like small weights and resistance bands (more on that later), but you don’t even have to have those items.
My Top Go-To Bodyweight Exercises
In order to achieve my goal of being healthier, I do at least one bodyweight exercise every day, but usually more. The goal is to keep moving for at least 5 minutes. Believe me, if you work out for 5 minutes straight, you’ll be out of breath. These upper and lower body routines can also help you with cardio, not just with building muscle mass.
This is not an exhaustive list of exercises, but the ones I tend to do. Before we go through the list though, I first want to recommend that you speak to your doctor before trying any new form of exercise.
1. Forearm Planks
To get into the proper starting plank position, get on your hands and knees. Then, you will lay your elbows and forearms flat on the ground. Put your elbows directly under your shoulders for support. After that, push up on your toes like you are doing a pushup.
The entire time you’re in this position, you should engage your core. Simply pull your stomach in and squeeze your glutes and quads while in the position. I aim to do this for 5 minutes, but you should start slow. Try 30 seconds and then work your way up.
Pushups are great because you can work your entire upper body, depending on the position of your hands. When your hands are further apart, it works your chest and when they are closer together, it works your arms.
If you are unable to do traditional pushups, then you can modify them by getting on your knees. This can be highly beneficial as long as you do as many as it takes to reach exhaustion.
To do a proper squat, you need to stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Point your toes straight out in front of you. Keep your chest lifted and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You can put a chair underneath you to help you know how far down to squat. Just squat down until you can feel the seat of the chair.
It is important to look in the mirror while doing squats to make sure your back is straight and you aren’t slouching over.
A burpee is a combination of a pushup and a squat. You’ll start in a squat position with your back straight and knees bent. Place your hands on the floor in between your feet in front of you and kick your feet back so that you’re toes hit the ground in a pushup position. Do one pushup and then jump back up and reach your arms over your head.
5. Ab Workout
There are several variations for an ab workout. Here are a few you can try:
Lay on your back and put your feet on the floor with your knees bent. Put your arms across your chest and then contract your abs while you inhale. Lift up your body while keeping your head relaxed. Then, inhale when you lay back down.
Butterfly kicks or flutter kicks works your lower abdominal wall. You do this by laying on your back and then using your core to lift your legs up and down. Start by laying down and then lifting your head like you would with a crunch. Keep your arms straight out at your side. Then point your toes and lift one leg at a time and lower it before raising the other.
It’s important to keep your core engaged the entire time you’re doing butterfly kicks. Pull in your abs and tighten your glutes and quads.
To do a proper lunge, you will stand up tall. From this starting position, step forward with your right foot until you get to a 90-degree angle. Lower your body to the ground on your lunging leg and then raise it back up. You can add hand weights to this for greater resistance.
Cardio Exercises to Add to Your Morning Routine
I also like to add cardio exercises with my bodyweight workout exercises. As I said, the idea is to work out for 5 minutes straight so you can get your heart rate up. Here are my go-to cardio exercises.
- Jumping Jacks
- High Knees
These are a few of my favorites, but there are plenty of ways you can get your heart rate up like running in place or doing mountain climbers.
Exercises With Inexpensive and Easy Equipment
You can up your game by adding in a few pieces of inexpensive equipment to your bodyweight workout routine. I have a few things like:
- Pullup bar
- Ab roller
- Jump rope
- Small weights
These few pieces of equipment can still be packed if I want to take them on a trip and makes it easy to perform your bodyweight workout routines anywhere.
I hope that these exercises will give you some ideas of how you can incorporate working out into your morning routine. It doesn’t have to be long and you don’t have to have fancy equipment. The goal is to create cardio and strength training habits that are easy to stick with.
- Commit to working out for 5 minutes straight each morning.
- Pick a combination of bodyweight workouts to do during your time.
- Add in cardio to get your heart pumping.