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The Quick 5-Minute Cardio Workout You Should Do When You Wake Up

Rise and shine with a trainer’s effective full-body workout.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

While there's no wrong time to break a sweat, getting your body moving and your heart pumping first thing in the morning has many health benefits. That's why we're here to share an expert-approved five-minute cardio workout to do right when you wake up. Are you ready to hear the amazing benefits? If so, let's get into it.

Performing exercise upon waking can make you feel incredibly accomplished and rejuvenated, according to Piedmont. It'll also help speed up your metabolism. Plus, starting your day with a bout of calorie-burning physical activity makes it more likely you'll eat healthier and sustain a positive mood throughout the day.

But let's get real: Knowing the health benefits of something doesn't mean you'll feel like doing it—especially when that thing is jumping out of bed to blast through a cardio workout. However, your early morning exercise doesn't have to be a grueling hour-long cardio session. It can be as straightforward as five minutes of body weight exercises that get your blood pumping and energy flowing for the day.

To help get you out of bed, we asked Kate Meier, CPT, a certified personal trainer with Gym Garage Reviews, to share a quick five-minute cardio workout you can do when you wake up. "Perform the following moves one after another as a circuit, only stopping to take short breaks as needed and to switch exercises each minute," instructs Meier. "This quick routine can help kickstart your day in no time."

So keep reading for the workout, and when you're done, check out This Expert-Approved Morning Routine Can Help You Lose Weight Faster.

High Knees

man performing high knees at home

Whether it's your bedroom, a hotel room, or outside a tent, this straightforward movement is easy to do upon waking. "Start in an athletic stance with your feet hip-width apart and straight posture. Next, lift one knee as high as it will go in a running motion, raising the opposite arm simultaneously. Alternate legs with each step, and keep up the pace as fast as you can with good form," instructs Meier. Essentially, this exercise takes running one step further, warming up and activating your lower body as you begin your morning workout.

Jump Squat with Pulse

Get ready for a serious glute burn! Begin by getting into a standard squat stance, standing with your legs wider than hip-width distance apart and your toes pointing slightly outward. Next, lower your body into a squat while keeping your shoulders back and your spine neutral. Once your thighs reach parallel with the floor, perform three squat pulses before jumping up explosively.

"Channel your glutes and extend your legs and body as you jump up. Then, land as softly as you can back into a squat position before repeating the movement," says Meier. "This exercise will get your heart pumping and legs burning, and all you need is a minute to feel it. It also builds explosive strength and mobility."

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Mountain Climbers

mountain climber exercise part of five-minute cardio workout, woman at home in bright living space

Mountain climbers are a classic high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercise that's fantastic for improving your cardio while strengthening your core. Plus, they require no equipment and can be done anywhere.

Start in a high plank position with your shoulders above your elbows and your elbows above your wrists. Ensure your core is tight and your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Next, engage your core as you bring one knee up to your chest. Return to the starting position before alternating legs. Perform this movement as quickly as you can without sacrificing form.

"This movement is a great way to build core strength and work on total-body functional movement. Your hips and shoulders will also feel this movement, and keeping a stable base will work the intrinsic muscles in your upper body and core," explains Meier.

Alternating Jump Lunges

woman performing jumping lunge during cardio workout outdoors to shrink belly fat

Another lower-body exercise that will get your heart pumping, alternating jump lunges are excellent for working your quads and glutes while building explosive strength.

"Start in an athletic position with your knees slightly bent and feet about shoulder-width apart. Next, jump and land with your right foot in front of you and your left foot behind you, lowering straight down into a lunge until your knees are at roughly 90 degrees," says Meier. "You may need some reps to figure out your ideal stance and distance between your feet. Then, jump back up, and land in the lunge with your left foot forward and right foot behind you. Alternate with each rep."

Maintaining good posture in your upper body throughout this exercise is essential. The alternating jump lunge is an explosive movement that requires full-body coordination.

Speed Skaters

This underrated movement is a tremendous high-intensity exercise to finish your morning workout. Wrap up this quick five-minute cardio workout with speed skaters.

Start the exercise by positioning your feet a bit outside your shoulder span. Then, jump to the right, landing on your right foot while simultaneously placing your left leg behind and across the back of your body before descending into a lunge. When your front leg forms a 90-degree angle, reverse the motion. This time, lead with your left foot, jump to the left, and land with your right foot behind your body. Channel a speed skater as you move both arms across your body.

"This is another explosive movement that will fire up your lower body while involving your arms to boot," says Meier. "Speed skaters will elevate your heart rate and help improve overall strength and cardio fitness."

Adam Meyer
Adam is a health writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and 100% plant-based athlete. Read more about Adam
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