Calling all morning girls and night owls alike! Set aside five extra minutes in the a.m. to go through a flow that guarantees you'll start your day on the right foot

By Alyssa Sparacino
June 12, 2016

You know that friend who's the definition of rise and shine-the one who's gotten in her morning run, made an Instagram-worthy smoothie bowl, showered, and pulled herself to together before you can even force yourself to peel back the covers?

It's OK that you aren't her. It's OK that you do you best work(outs) after 1 p.m. and have tried, failed, and accepted that you are not someone who can successfully exercise in the morning. (One woman shares: "How I Turned Myself Into an Early Morning Exerciser.") This routine (read: NOT a workout) is the perfect way to feel like a morning person even if you'll never actually be a morning person.

These eight moves from Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at Flex Studios, are designed to wake up your body first thing in the morning without even needing to get out of your pajamas. It's not meant to take the place of your daily workout (sorry, girl!), and it's something that everyone can work into their morning.

All you need to complete this routine is the intention to do it, says Seracuse. "You don't have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Just set your alarm five minutes earlier, and you'll feel five thousand times better."

Standing Roll Down

Wakes up the spine and releases any tension created during sleep

A. Stand with feet hip distance apart.

B. Reach arms up and overhead.

C. Bend at the hips and slowly roll down through the spine, one vertebrae at a time, bringing hands to the floor. Allow head to hang.

D. Slowly roll back up, and reach arms back up to start again. That's one rep. Perform 3 reps.


Wakes up the entire body, engages the abdominals, upper body, and lower body all at once

A. From standing, bend the knees and walk your hands forward into a palm plank position, making sure that shoulders are directly over wrists and hips don't drop as you create one long line from head to heels. Knees can come down to modify, if necessary. Hold for 30 seconds.

Plank Walk-Out

Promotes balance and coordination and gets the blood pumping

A. From palm plank position, bend the knees and walk hands back, coming to standing

B. Continue by combining the first two moves (Standing Roll Down + Plank) into one sequence, coming back to standing before repeating each time.

C. When coming back out of the plank, bend knees more deeply than before, so you are in more of a squat position. Repeat for 1 minute.

Rocking Runners Lunge

Mobilizes and promotes flexibility in the hip joints

A. Step right foot forward into a runner's lunge with fingertips on the floor next by foot and left knee straight and lifted in the back. Front knee should be directly over ankle. Stay here for a moment, feeling a stretch in the right hip flexor.

B. Shift the hips backward as you straighten the front knee, flexing foot so toes point to ceiling. Left heel drops to the floor.

C. Reverse the movement and return to a runner's lunge. Repeat for 30 seconds on the right, then 30 seconds on the left.

The One Hundred

Gets oxygen flowing and connects to your breathing to promote circulation

A. Lie on back with knees in tabletop position (legs bent at the knee at a 90-degree angle with knees directly over hips, shins parallel to the floor). You can extend your legs straight at a 45-degree angle for an added challenge.

B. Bring arms up together reaching up toward the ceiling

C. Curl head, neck, and shoulder off the floor, bringing arms down to your sides, hovering off the ground

D. Maintain "crunch" position as you vigorously pump straight arms up and down next to hips in a small, 1-2 inch range of motion. Inhale for five counts, then exhale for five counts. That's one rep. Do 10 reps.

Slow Criss-Cross

Helps promotes good digestive system function

A. With legs in tabletop position, place hands behind head, curling head, neck, and shoulders off the floor.

B. Extend right leg straight out at a 45-degres angle from the floor. Twist to the left as you try to bring right armpit toward bent left knee.

C. Switch by extending left leg long, twisting to opposite, right side, bringing left shoulder to right bent knee. That's one rep. Keep these movements slow and controlled, as the purpose is more about moving through full range of motion and less about reps. Do 6 reps.


Stretches the abdominals and increases mobility and flexibility in the spine

A. Roll over onto stomach and place hands on the floor in front of shoulders, elbows bent back.

B. Press into hands opening the heart and coming into a thoracic spine extension (small bend in the middle back), elbows remain slightly bent. Keep core engaged to protect lower back from hyperextension.

C. Drop chest back to the floor to return to starting position. That's one rep. Do 3 reps.

Child's Pose

Opens up the lower back, hips, and shoulders and acts as a moment to pause to set your intentions for the day

A. Coming out of Swan, press hips back towards heels, rounding lower back and reaching tailbone down to floor between heels.

B. Lift chest and come to quadruped position on all fours, bend knees, walk hands to feet, and come to standing. Hold for 2 full breaths.

Comments (3)

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