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12 Basic Exercises You Can Do in 5 Minutes

Finding enough time for exercise can be a challenge, especially when juggling work responsibilities. But incorporating short and effective workouts into your routine is not only possible but also highly beneficial. 

Introducing the five-minute workouts – a concept that packs a punch in a minimal amount of time. It might sound too good to be true, but don’t let its brevity deceive you. These quick bursts of activity can make a remarkable difference in your overall fitness and well-being.

Get ready to discover a world where every minute counts. In the upcoming sections, we will explore a variety of basic exercises that target different muscle groups and provide a comprehensive workout in a matter of minutes.

Do Five-Minute Workouts Work?

Basic Exercises You Can Do in 5 Minutes

A five-minute workout is ideal for individuals with busy schedules who struggle to find longer periods for exercise. They offer a time-efficient option to fit physical activity into your day, and the convenience of quick workouts means you’re more likely to stick to a regular workout routine.

But do they work? Researchers found that five minutes of workouts can be highly effective for various fitness goals and lifestyles. While they may seem short, they can provide significant benefits when done consistently and with proper intensity.

A quick five-minute workout can also do wonders to elevate your heart rate, boost your metabolism, burn calories, and lose weight. The calorie burn may be lower compared to longer workouts, but the cumulative effect of regular short workouts can still contribute to weight management and overall fitness.

It also has the potential to increase energy levels, improve strength and endurance, and enhance overall well-being.

Is a Five-Minute Workout Good for Beginners?

Basic Exercises You Can Do in 5 Minutes

Five-minute workouts are an excellent option for beginners.

For beginners who may be new to exercise or have low fitness levels, a five-minute workout provides an accessible starting point. They help overcome barriers related to time constraints, making it easier to incorporate physical activity into their daily routine.

Short workouts with timed exercise and rest sessions also minimize the risk of overexertion and excessive muscle soreness, which can be discouraging for beginners. Starting with shorter sessions allows the body to gradually adapt and build strength, minimizing the chances of injury.

Note that establishing a regular exercise habit is crucial for beginners. With a five-minute workout, it makes it more achievable to stay consistent, which is key for long-term progress. As beginners experience the benefits and feel more comfortable, they can gradually increase their workout duration and intensity.

Beginners can start with bodyweight movements like push-ups, squats, or lunges, gradually progressing to more challenging exercises or incorporating resistance bands or lightweight equipment.

What Exercise Can You Do for 5 Minutes?

Upper Body

Upper Body Basic Exercises


This classic exercise is a true upper-body powerhouse. It works your chest, shoulders, and triceps, providing a challenging workout in a short amount of time. When performing push-ups, ensure your hands are slightly wider than shoulder width, your core is engaged, and your body forms a straight posture.

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lower your body while maintaining a straight line from head to toe, bending your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
  • Push back up to the starting position and repeat. 

Shoulder Taps

Shoulder taps not only target your upper body but also challenge your core strength and balance. Focus on maintaining a straight posture, with your core muscles activated throughout.

  • Begin in a high plank stance, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body forming a straight line. 
  • While engaging your core for stability, lift the right or left hand off the ground and tap the opposite shoulder. 
  • Return your hand to the starting position and alternate sides.


The plank is a versatile workout that engages multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Intensify the workout in five minutes and activate your core muscles with these variations. 

  • Start in a forearm plank, with your elbows directly beneath your shoulder and your toes on the ground. 
  • Maintain a straight line from head to heels, engaging your abs and glutes. 
  • For an added challenge, lift one leg off the ground or alternate tapping your shoulder with your hands while holding the plank position. 

Lower Body

Lower Body Basic Exercises


Squats are an excellent exercise for targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, butt, and knees, and they can be performed in a few-minute workout with no special equipment in the comfort of your own home or office.

  • Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart, ensuring your toes are pointing forward.
  • Keep your knees slightly bent, engage your core, and slowly lower your body as if you’re sitting back in an imaginary chair. 
  • Aim to bring your thighs parallel to the ground while maintaining an upright torso. 
  • Push through your heels to return to the starting position. 

Squat Jumps

Take your squat workout to the next level by incorporating squat jumps. It adds an element of cardio to your workout, elevating your heart rate and increasing calorie burn.

  • Start in the squat position, and as you push through your heels and your butt to rise back up, explode into a jump, reaching for the ceiling with your arms. 
  • Land softly and immediately transition into the next squat. 


Lunges target the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, providing effective lower-body five-minute workouts.

  • Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. 
  • Take a step forward with your left foot or one foot, ensuring your knee is directly above your ankle. 
  • Lower your body until your front leg forms a 90-degree angle, with your back knee hovering a few inches above the ground. 
  • Push through your front heel to return to the starting position, and repeat on the other leg.

Core Exercises

Core Basic Exercises

Russian Twists

Russian twists primarily target the oblique muscles, helping to sculpt and define your midsection.

  • Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. 
  • Lean back slightly, engage your core, and lift your feet a few inches off the ground. 
  • Hold a medicine ball or any weighted object with both hands and rotate your torso from side to side, tapping the ball on the ground beside your hips. 
  • Maintain a straight back and a steady breathing rhythm as you perform the twists. 

Mountain Climbers

Mountain climbers engage not only your core but also your arms, shoulders, and legs, making them a highly effective full-body exercise. Do this as part of your five-minute workout routine and you can reap the benefits of a toned midsection. 

  • Begin in a high plank stance, with your hands directly beneath your shoulders, your body forming a straight posture, and your weight evenly distributed.
  • Engage your core and bring one knee towards your chest, then quickly alternate with the opposite knee, resembling a climbing motion. 
  • Keep your hips down and your shoulders steady as you continue alternating at a brisk pace. 

Downward Dog

Downward dog is a beneficial stretch for the entire body, improving flexibility and blood flow.

  • Start on all fours with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. 
  • Lift your hips towards the ceiling, straightening your legs and forming an inverted “V” shape with your body. 
  • Your head should be between your arms, and your heels should be pressing toward the ground. 
  • Focus on engaging your core and feeling a stretch through your hamstrings and calves.

Full Body Exercises

Full Body Basic Exercises


Burpees are a challenging but rewarding exercise that targets your entire body, providing a cardiovascular workout while engaging your legs, arms, core, and glutes.

  • Begin in a standing position with your feet shoulder-width apart. 
  • Drop down into a squat position, placing your hands on the ground in front of you. 
  • Kick your feet back to assume a plank position, then quickly return your feet to the squat position. 
  • Jump explosively into the air, reaching your arm overhead. 
  • Land softly and immediately transition into the next burpee repetition.

Jumping Jacks

Jumping jacks elevate your heart rate, boost blood flow, and work your legs, arms, and cardiovascular system.

  • Start with your feet together and your arms resting by your sides. 
  • Jump explosively, spreading your legs wider than shoulder-width apart while simultaneously raising your arms above your head. 
  • Return to the starting position by jumping again, bringing your legs back together and your arms down. 
  • Repeat this movement at a moderate pace, maintaining proper form and engaging your core. 

High Knees

High knees are an excellent full-body workout that increases your heart rate, burns calories, and engages your legs, core, and arms.

  • Stand with your feet wider apart and your arms hanging loosely by your sides. 
  • Lift your right knee as high as possible while simultaneously lifting your left arm. 
  • Lower your right knee and repeat the movement with your left knee and right arm. 
  • Continue alternating at a brisk pace, as if you are running in place while lifting your knees high.

What Are the Basic Exercises Everyone Should Do?

Some of the basic workouts that everyone should include in their fitness routine include jumping jacks, strength training such as squats and lunges, abs and core workouts like planks and crunches, and full-body workouts to target multiple muscle groups.

It’s important to adjust the workouts according to one’s fitness level and listen to the body. Take a moment to rest and recover when needed. And, consult with a fitness professional or pilates instructor for guidance if necessary. 

By making healthy habit changes and dedicating five minutes to these basic workouts, individuals can reap the benefits of improved fitness, strength, and overall health.

Final Note

Even five minutes of exercise can have an impact on our overall health and well-being. These short yet effective workouts offer a convenient and accessible way to enhance fitness without the need for a gym membership or specialized equipment.

By incorporating exercises like push-up variations, strength training movements, or Pilates-inspired workouts, individuals can experience the real benefit in just a few minutes each day. Whether it’s engaging the left leg, left elbow, right leg, right foot, or knees these workouts target various muscle groups and promote strength, flexibility, and overall fitness.

The key takeaway is that even with our busy schedules, dedicating just five minutes to these workouts can make a big difference in our physical and mental health. Find moments throughout the workday to integrate a quick workout, such as during breaks or before/after meetings.

Also, remember that it’s not about the duration of the workout, but the consistency and commitment we bring to it. Start today and experience the transformation that comes from prioritizing your health and committing to these short yet impactful workouts.