The Ultimate 5-Minute Workout for Beginners, According to Science

Best 5-minute workout for beginners
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There are very few people in the world who actually enjoy exercising. The vast majority of people who exercise do it purely for health benefits.

Unfortunately, there is also a huge number of people who don’t exercise at all. This is a huge problem, as sedentary behavior is associated with many diseases.

For these individuals, there needs to be an easy, quick way to access the benefits of exercise. 

Could the perfect solution lie in a 5-minute workout?

Let’s take a look!

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Achieve Incredible Results In Just 5 Minutes a Day

Achieve Incredible Results In Just 5 Minutes a Day

One of the biggest barriers cited by those who don’t exercise is a lack of time. Between taking care of family, working, and other commitments, most people simply can’t spare a half-hour for exercise.

But 5 minutes? That’s a different story!

Nearly everyone could find 5 minutes in their day for some physical activity.

The following movements are very beginner-friendly. However, they can also be modified for experienced exercisers who are looking for higher-intensity workouts. 

Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at the ultimate 5-minute workout!

The Parameters

For this program, you’ll only need to perform each of the exercises once, for 30 seconds each. You can take up to a 20-second rest in between exercises, or less if you’re feeling up to it! 

If possible, you should attempt to perform this workout once a day. As time goes by, you may even try to increase this to twice a day or more!

The Exercises

Each of these exercises is fairly low-impact. If you’re experiencing pain with any of these movements, you should refrain from performing the workout and seek medical clearance before continuing.

1. High Knees

High Knees

The high knees exercise is a great way to get your heart pumping with no equipment and very little space. In fact, the faster you pump your legs, the more of an effect the exercise will have.

How to Perform:

  • Stand with your feet roughly hip-width apart.
  • As fast as you can, bring your right knee up toward your chest.
  • Then, once you’ve brought your right leg as high as possible, immediately switch and bring your left leg up to your chest, returning your right leg to standing.
  • Continue in this alternating pattern for 30 seconds to complete the set.
  • Then, you’ll rest for up to 20 seconds before moving on to the next exercise.

2. Bear Crawls

Bear Crawls

What could be more fun than crawling around like a wild animal? Nothing!

But not only are bear crawls fun, but they also provide a killer workout. This exercise works the shoulders, and the core, and will get the heart beating like crazy.

How to Perform:

  • Place your hands and toes on the ground, with your knees and elbows slightly bent. 
  • Move your right hand forward a few inches. At the same time, move your left foot forward a few inches.
  • Then repeat this motion with the left hand and the right foot, moving forward across the floor.
  • Continue to repeat this pattern, propelling yourself forward, for 30 seconds.
  • Once you’ve completed this exercise, rest for up to 20 seconds and move on to the next movement.

3. Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers

Much like bear crawls, mountain climbers are effective for strengthening your core and shoulders while giving you a great cardio workout. 

This exercise is especially effective because it can be modified in a variety of ways to make it harder or easier. For example, you could increase the difficulty by placing your hands on a bosu ball.

How to Perform:

  • Place hands on the floor, directly beneath your shoulders.
  • At the same time, place your toes on the ground, spaced about hip-width apart, with your legs straight.
  • When you’re ready to start, thrust your right knee toward your chest, keeping your left foot on the ground. 
  • As soon as your right knee reaches its target, switch legs, swinging your left knee toward your chest, and return your right leg to the starting position.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner for the duration of the 30-second interval.
  • Once you’ve completed this exercise, rest for up to 20 seconds, then move on to the next part of the routine.

4. Standing Trunk Rotations

Standing Trunk Rotations
Image // Restoreptri.com

For this exercise, you’ll need something heavy. You could use a medicine ball, a dumbbell, or even a jug of water! As long as you have something that will give you some resistance, you’ll be all set.

How to Perform:

  • Stand with your feet about hip-width apart.
  • Holding the weighted object in both hands, twist your trunk as far as you can to the right. (As a beginner, you should keep the weight close to your chest. Once you’ve become more experienced, try pushing the weight further out in front of you).
  • Next, twist the weight all the way to the left, without letting your arms drop in height.
  • Continue to rotate back and forth for 30 seconds.
  • Rest for up to 20 seconds, then move on to the next exercise.

5. Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks are probably the first exercise you ever learned. However, they are just as effective now as they were when you were 5 years old. 

How to Perform:

  • Jump up in the air while spreading your legs wide as you simultaneously bring your arms overhead.
  • Land in this spread position, then jump your feet back together and bring your arms back to your sides.
  • Continue this pattern for the duration of the exercise.
  • Rest for up to 20 seconds, then move on to the next exercise.

6. Bicycles (Abs)

Bicycles (Abs)

Bicycles, also known as bicycle crunches, are a terrific ab exercise. This movement works the rectus abdominis as well as the oblique muscles. In hitting these major groups, you get a great workout for the primary muscles of the core.

How to Perform:

  • Lie flat on your back with your legs straight.
  • Place your hands on your temples with your elbows slightly out to the sides.
  • Lift your shoulder blades slightly off of the floor as you elevate both of your legs off of the floor as well.
  • Twist your trunk to the right as you simultaneously bring your right knee toward your chest. Attempt to bring your left elbow to your right knee.
  • Repeat this motion on the other side.
  • Continue to alternate in this manner for the duration of the exercise.
  • Rest for up to 20 seconds then move on to the final exercise.

7. Squat Jumps

Squat Jumps

Squats are hard enough. By adding a jump, you really challenge the quads, glutes, and calves. If this exercise causes you pain due to the impact, just nix the jumping portion and perform power squats.

How to Perform:

  • Bend your knees and push your hips backward, as if you are sitting in a chair.
  • Quickly, reverse this motion and explode off of your toes into the air.
  • Land softly and repeat this motion for the duration of the exercise.
  • Once you complete the 30-second interval, you have finished the workout!

Conclusion

As a newcomer to the exercise game, you may be intimidated by the vast number of exercises and exercise programs available. However, you don’t have to overcomplicate things. Try out this simple workout, for 5 minutes a day, and see what you think!

Works Cited:

  1. Park, J. H., Moon, J. H., Kim, H. J., Kong, M. H., & Oh, Y. H. (2020). Sedentary Lifestyle: Overview of Updated Evidence of Potential Health Risks. Korean journal of family medicine41(6), 365–373. https://doi.org/10.4082/kjfm.20.0165
  2. Hoare, E., Stavreski, B., Jennings, G. L., & Kingwell, B. A. (2017). Exploring Motivation and Barriers to Physical Activity among Active and Inactive Australian Adults. Sports (Basel, Switzerland)5(3), 47. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports5030047

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Bennett Richardson, DPT, PT, CSCS

Bennett Richardson is a physical therapist and writer out of Pittsburgh, PA. He has maintained certification as a strength and conditioning coach (CSCS) since 2014. He then went on to earn a BS in exercise science and a doctorate degree in physical therapy, both from Slippery Rock University. In his free time, Bennett likes to read and exercise.

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