It’s tough to fit a workout in before work, but taking just a few minutes for your fitness in the morning can do wonders for your energy level, mood, and overall health!
For many people, mornings are the best time to work out. It’s easy to excuse yourself from working out after a long, exhausting day at work, but in the morning there are few excuses. Once you’ve squeezed in a quick routine, you can move on with your day
It’s much more feasible to set up a workout you can do from home, which saves you a trip to the gym and removes another potential reason not to exercise in the morning. That’s why we’ve put together this amazing 15 minute workout that requires nothing more than some open floor space, a timer, and a little dedication!
The idea of this workout is that you do not need a gym or any specialized equipment to do it. All you need is a timer and a ten-by-ten foot square of flat floor space to work out on. Keep in mind you’ll be doing some jumping up and down, so be wary of neighbors below (especially if you’re using a hard floor.) A yoga or workout mat is helpful, but not necessary.
The most readily available timer you can find is your phone, but if you wear a fitness tracker, you probably have a workout timer feature on your device. Don’t worry about starting and stopping your timer. You’ll just need a clock that counts up, by the second, from 0:00 to 15:00.
Even when your time is limited, just one minute to get your heart rate up before diving into this intense workout is highly recommended. Starting out cold significantly increases your risk for injury. This is an intense workout!
Before starting your timer, do classic jumping jacks or jog in place for about one minute. Your heart rate should climb and you’ll start to breath heavier, but the best indicator for being warmed up is that you feel warm.
It might sound silly, but wait until you feel you are about to start sweating before you start this workout. This is because your physical temperature, not your heart rate or rate of breathing, is the most important metric for injury prevention. Do not attempt this workout if you feel cold!
Goals of This Routine
When you think of “bodyweight exercises,” you probably imagine push-ups and sit-ups. Our 15 minute workout incorporates some more dynamic activites that produce a more balanced workout.
We’ll work on all your muscle groups with emphasis on your core while keeping your heart rate up. This makes it a great cardio and muscle-building “all-in-one” routine.
You know what a push-up is and how to do it, but you may need to study up some other moves:
The burpee is a notorious exercise. If you’ve never done one, you’ll probably be surprised by how tough they are. The first one is generally pretty easy. After you do a couple, you’ll see why even professional athletes groan at the prospect of doing a set of burpees.
The basic steps in completing a burpee are as follows:
- Looking straight forward, push your hands above your head and jump.
- When you land, lower your body to the ground in a squat position. Keep looking straight forward and place your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart on the floor in front of you.
- Extend your legs back to a “push-up” position in one fluid motion. Your feet come up off the ground from directly under you and land all the way in the back of your push-up pose.
- Reverse the previous step. Push off with your feet so they land directly underneath you. Take your hands off the ground and look straight forward again. You should end up in a low squat position.
- Stand up and push your hands above your head. In the same movement, propel yourself up into another jump.
- Move back down as in step 2. Repeat the process.
These steps all meld into fluid motion, but these are the basic moves of a burpee. If you’d like a little extra help, take a look at this instructional video on how to do a burpee.
This one is a little easier to learn than burpee. There are a lot of variations, but a basic mountain climber looks like this:
- Get into a high push-up position.
- Take one leg and pull your knee up towards your chest without scraping the ground.
- Extend that leg back to the original position.
- Repeat with your other leg.
- Repeat all steps.
Move somewhat quickly. If you’re in good shape, you can probably go at close to a running pace with your legs. Keep your back straight by flexing your abdominal muscles to keep tension off your lower back. Here’s a quick video on the mountain climber.
Jump squats are straightforward, but there’s a bit of subtlety to it.
Get down into a squat position with your legs a little wider than should width apart. Put your arms out straight in front of you. Push down with your legs with enough force to propel your body into the air. As you push, lower your arms.
It will look almost like you are propelling your body up with your arms on your way up.
Don’t worry about getting a lot of air. Your feet only need to come less than an inch off the ground. Trust me, just a little distance is enough to “feel the burn.”
When you land, squat down again and push your arms out in front of you. You should end up in your starting position. Repeat.
Push-ups and Planks
You probably already know how to do a push-up and a classic plank, but proper form makes a big difference. Here is a good push-up instruction video and plank instruction video if you’d like to study up on proper form.
Now that you know all the moves, here’s your 15 minute routine broken down.
Each exercise is done for 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between. You’ll start your timer and put it somewhere you can see it from all positions.
There’s no need to start and stop the timer. Just work until the clock reaches :45, rest until the top of the next minute, and begin the next exercise. Complete as many reps as you can during the 45 second work period.
0:00 – 0:45: Burpee
0:45 – 1:00: Rest
1:00 – 1:45: Mountain Climber
1:45 – 2:00: Rest
2:00 – 2:45: Jump Squat
2:45 – 3:00: Rest
3:00 – 3:45: Push-up
3:45 – 4:00: Rest
4:00 – 4:45: Plank
4:45 – 5:00: Rest
You can see the pattern here: 45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest. Just repeat these five minutes three times and you’re done! Just remember the order: Burpee, mountain climber, jump squat, push-up, and plank. This specific order helps keep you from overloading any particular muscle group.
While your arms, chest, and legs are getting work, you’ll probably feel this one mostly in your core, and you might be surprised by the hidden cardio in this workout; it really gets your pulse going! This workout does wonders to build muscle, burn fat, and strengthen your heart.
Grab a quick shower and a healthy breakfast and you’ll head out the door feeling energized and ready to take on the day. Best of all, you’ll have already gotten your workout in!
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.