By Amy Eisinger, M.A., C.P.T.
Start your day with this quick, no-equipment routine!
Making the most of your mornings doesn’t mean you need to get up two hours early just to fit in a workout—and this 10-minute cardio workout proves it. We designed this quick cardio workout so you can exercise quickly, and then get right back to your busy morning routine.
This quick cardio workout is only four moves, and it doesn’t require any equipment. It’s a HIIT style workout, meaning that during the work intervals, you should be pushing yourself. Think of a 1-10 scale where 1 is completely at rest, 5 is comfortably hard, and 10 is an all-out effort that you can’t maintain for more than few seconds. For this workout you want to be working at about a 7 (except when you’re resting, of course).
And speaking of how hard you go, we’ve provided three options below, so you can select the work interval that’s right for you in this 10-minute cardio workout. If you’re new to morning workouts, you may want to start with the 30/30 option. That means you’ll do each exercise for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Because each of these moves are being done for time, focus on form first—rather than how many reps you can squeeze in. As you learn the moves, you’ll start to pick up the pace. And one more heads up: While the workout is just four moves, you’ll do one move (the lateral lunge to single-leg hop) on each side, so the entire circuit is five minutes long. Do the circuit twice, and that’s your 10-minute cardio workout!
If you’ve got a few extra minutes, we suggest a quick cool-down stretch, before you jump into the shower, throw together an easy breakfast, and then get on with your day.
Before you dive into any exercise, it’s important to start with a warm-up. You can do this one or do one of your own—just make sure you’re not rolling straight out of bed and into this cardio routine.
Our model, Denise Harris is a NASM-certified personal trainer and Pilates instructor based in New York City.
Do each move below in order for the specified amount of time and then rest. At the end of the entire circuit, rest for 60 seconds. Then repeat the circuit one more time.
- Beginner: 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds of rest between moves
- Intermediate: 40 seconds of work, 20 seconds of rest between moves
- Advanced: 50 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest between moves
- Stand with your feet at least hip-width apart, core engaged.
- Place both of your hands on the floor, then jump your feet back to come into a high plank position. Your core should be engaged, your hips level, and your wrists should be directly under your shoulders.
- Hop your feet forward, to come to a low squat position, and immediately stand up, squeezing your glutes at the top. Repeat.
- To modify this move, step your feet back instead of jumping them back.
- Start in a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders, your shoulders pressed down away from your ears, your core engaged, your hips level, and your legs straight. Gently tip your left hip to the left, bringing it toward the floor. Your hip does not actually need to touch the floor. Now repeat the movement on the other side, tipping your right hip to the right. Continue to alternate sides, allowing your hips to arch slightly in the middle as you transition from side to side. Keep your core engaged throughout.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your core engaged. Take a big step to the right side with your right foot, and immediately bend your right knee, send your hips back, and sink into a lateral lunge, keeping your left leg perfectly straight.
- Push off your right foot and as you bring your right foot back to the starting position, push off your left foot and hop up, without placing your right foot on the floor. Your hop may only be a few inches off the floor, and that’s OK!
- Land lightly on your left foot, and immediately lean into another lateral lunge on the right side. You should be able to gain a little momentum with this movement that will help with balance.
- Continue to move on the same side for your indicated amount of time before repeating on the other side.
- You can modify this move by removing the hop. Do a lateral lunge, and as you return to your starting position, raise your knee to hip height and balance for a breath on your left foot. You can also remove the balance or hop entirely and simply do a lateral lunge.
- Start in a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders, your shoulders pressed down away from your ears, your core engaged, your hips level, and your legs straight.
- Keeping your hips still, lift your right hand and extend your right arm to tap the floor in front of you. Return to your starting position and repeat on the other side with your left hand.
- Continue to alternate hands, keeping your hips level and still.
- Modify this move by taking your feet wider. The wider apart your feet are, the easier this move should be.