4 Minute Mornings – Week #1

Big Sur in the Morning

Image by Stuck in Customs via Flickr

How to do a 4 Minute Morning

Week #1

Do this at a low to moderate effort.  It is first thing in the morning after all.  After a week or so, you will notice improvements and with that your level of intensity will increase, naturally.

Follow this progression.  Besides building on your physical strength, we are also building on your mental strength.  You will start with a little each day and add a little more the following day.  Don’t skip ahead.  We are doing these exercises in bare feet, but, of course wear running shoes if you have a pre-existing condition which requires you to do so during exercise.

Below is what Week #1 looks like.  Keep a log of what you’ve done.

Day 1 (approx. 1 Minute)

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. Rest 10 seconds
  3. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  4. Rest 10 seconds

Note: you should be able to do 50 Marches in 20 seconds.  Each knee up counts as one repetition.

Day 2 (approx. 2 Minutes)

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. Rest 10 seconds

Note: 50 Marching on the Spot + 10 second Rest = one circuit.

3.  Repeat this Circuit 4 times, to equal 4 rounds.

Day 3 (~1 Minute)

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. 10 Bend Down & Reach Ups

Begin standing with legs and feet together. Bend down at the knees and hips (feet stay flat on the ground –like squatting on a very low stool, chest lifted.  Touch the ground with your fingertips (or just as close to the floor as possible), then straighten up to standing.  Reach arms up to ceiling.  Repeat.

Day 4 (~2 Minutes)

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. 10 Bend Down & Reach Ups
  3. Repeat circuit twice, to equal two rounds.

Day 5 (~4 Minutes)

  1. 50 Marching On the Spot (knees up high).
  2. 10 Bend Down & Reach Ups
  3. Repeat circuit four times, to equal 4 rounds.

Days 6 & 7 (~4 Minutes each) = Same as Day 5

Depending on your speed/pace, this circuit (repeated 4 times) should take about 4 minutes.

You can set a stopwatch to see how long it takes.


Go easy on yourself.  This is not a race.  By doing these exercises you are being kind to yourself.  Many people have the belief that a workout has to be a punishment or must hurt.  It doesn’t.  There is a difference between working hard in a good way and working hard in a bad way causing injury.  I have a safe progression for you to follow which will establish a solid foundation.  Just do not skip ahead.  You have to put in the time in order to prepare your muscles, ligaments and tendons.  Within three to six months you won’t believe what you will have accomplished.  A big part of this is the self-discipline needed to actually do these 4 minutes of exercises every day.

Seems simple enough, doesn’t it?  In fact, you probably think it looks too simple to be effective at all.  Try it for one week, every morning.  Let me know how it goes.

Demonstration video, coming soon.

For Week #2 click http://youasamachine.com/about-4-minute-mornings/week-2/


  1. Ro has had me doing one set of marching in the morning for a couple of weeks. I’ve been doing them while I brush my teeth!She forwarded the link to your site to me today, so I’m looking forward to doing the rest of the work out. Maybe without the toothbrush! Thanks for sharing.

  2. This is a great idea and I hope it is successful for you. While I agree with everything you’ve said here, I, pesonally have a problem with the bending…especially at the knees, due to pain from mild arthritis. Last Dec. I had arthroscopic surgery on the left knee because it locked in a bent position in June and remained that way for nearly 6 months until the surgery. I have less pain now, but, have felt the same ‘lockup’ twinges recently, that I experienced before. I’m told by the orthopaedic surgeon that it is because of tearing of the meniscus caused by the deterioration of the bone due to arthritis.
    I, therefore hesitate to do any kind of knee bending exercises or movements in fear of exacerbating the condition and causing another crippling lockup.

    Any suggestions regarding strenthening my quads/hams while avoiding any further injury to my knees would be greatly appreciated.


    1. Hi Cliff,
      Thanks for this great question. As you can imagine it is difficult to give specific recommendations having not seen you, however, perhaps I can offer some suggestions.
      Your point about ‘hesitating to do any kind of bending exercises or movements in fear of exacerbating the condition’ is not lost on me.
      It puts one between Scylla and Charybdis. Without exercise your joints and body can’t repair, however, going about it the wrong way will only make matters worse. It would be great if you could spend time with a physiotherapist and be diligent with their recommendations.
      In the meantime, from afar, my suggestion would be to initiate movement from what you are able to do without pain during an average day.
      For example: Can you do Marching on the spot, is this possible? Perhaps you just focus on Marching on the spot (without exaggerating the high knees, keep them low, and focus on how your foot makes contact with the ground) for an entire week, following the repetitions/ time frames I’ve set out. And observe how that goes. Maybe 50 marches is too much the first day. So start with 10 and build up from there. For example you may feel ok to do 20 marches on the spot four times throughout your day. Observe how your knee feels. Keep a log of what you do and comment on how it felt during that experiment.
      Let me know if this is helpful. If you decide to give it a try, I’d love to hear about your findings. I can offer some suggestions where to take it next if this feels like it is the right approach.
      Good Luck.

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