You don’t always feel like hitting the gym after you’ve finished work. At that time of day, it’s all too easy to settle into the evening routine of cooking and crashing out on the sofa. That’s why, when it comes to working out, we’re definitely morning people. And, as part of our National Lockdown Home Fitness Programme, we’ve put together what we reckon is the ultimate morning workout routine – and it’s one that will set you up for the day in just 30 minutes.
Keep in mind, too, that you can change it up to suit your fitness goals. So, for example, if you’re sat a desk all day, you might want to do a bit more work on your legs. Likewise, if you do a lot of heavy lifting in your day job, you might want to concentrate more on the aerobic and cardio side of things.
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Always start by warming up for 5 minutes
It takes your body a while to get going in the morning. So, before you start outing it through its paces, give it a chance to warm up. Nothing too strenuous, just enough to loosen up.
Start by holding your arms out horizontally and moving them around in circles. Stretch out your calf and thigh muscles and try to touch your toes. Do 10 light star-jumps to finish off.
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Work out for 20 minutes
The workout itself is like a circuit. The idea is that you move through every exercise, then go back to the beginning and start again, doing as many circuits as you can manage. Remember, you can always tweak the amount of time you spend on each exercise, if you want to focus on a particular area of your body.
Start with press-ups. Press-ups are great because they work your chest, arms and abs at the same time. See if you can get to 10 in a row and push it to 15 if possible.
Once you’ve done your press-ups, jump up and do as many star-jumps as you can while you count to 30.
Next up are the squats. Place your feet shoulder-width apart, clasp your hands together in front of you and squat down as far as you can go. You should feel a nice stretch in your legs and in your core.
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Then it’s time for some burpees. If you’ve never done a burpee before, it’s basically a squat thrust but you stand up straight in between each one. It’s one of those moves that’s much more strenuous than you might expect. So, aim for 10 if you can, but if not, get at least 5 done.
The next stage is really to help keep you flexible. Perform 20 lunges – 10 on each leg – which basically involves taking a big step forward with one leg, while your other leg stays planted. If you want to make this exercise a little bit more of a challenge, try doing it whilst holding some dumbbells – or even a couple of tins of beans.
Now for some bear crawls. Drop down into the press-up position then crawl like a bear, forwards for 10 seconds, then backwards for 10 seconds. This is a really good exercise for your core, as well as your arms and shoulders.
To finish, try doing the plank for as long as you can. Get into press-up position and fully lock your elbows, then hold. Again, this is an exercise that’s harder than it looks. Remember to keep breathing!
Don’t forget the 5-minute cooldown
This might well be the most important part of your workout – the cooldown stretch. Focusing on your breathing, raise your arms above your head as you breathe in, then drop them down to your sides as you breathe out. Repeat 5 times.
Finish with some stretching. To stretch your arms, put one arm behind your head and press on your elbow with your other hand. To stretch your legs, lift your heel onto a chair and reach forward with your hands until you feel the pull in your hamstrings. Then find a wall and stretch your calves by placing one foot behind you and pushing into the wall with your hands.
And that’s it – one simple but challenging 30-minute workout, guaranteed to set you up for the day.
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