Five- or 10-minute “micro” workouts are hot right now (just check out Instagram or Pinterest)—and they promise to get you fit in less time, no gym required. But is a a sweat sesh that short really worth it?
That's a resounding yes, said Lauren Stobbie, a certified strength and conditioning specialist (C.S.C.S.) in Jacksonville, Florida. “Science has shown that doing mini-workouts throughout the day are just as effective as one long workout. You can gain muscle, boost your metabolism, and lose weight,” she said.
Sold! But depending on your goals, there are different strategies for incorporating micro-workouts into your routine, Stobbie said. Here's what you need to know:
If your goal is to improve your health:
Do three mini-workouts, spread throughout the day. Rather than hoping those opportunities will slap you in the face, identify when you’ll have time, like before work, at lunch, and in the evening while watching TV. Then stick to it.
If your goal is to lose weight:
Add a mini-burn at the end of your normal elliptical or treadmill workout to boost the number of calories you're torching.
If your goal is to gain muscle:
Tack it on to the end of your strength-training and focus on the same muscle groups you were working. (If it’s a leg day, do this three-minute leg workout from Instagram star Kayla Itsines before you call it quits.)
Since it’s all too easy to half-ass a micro-workout, you’re going to want to make the most of your speedy sweat sessions:
Ramp up intensity:
“If you’re only working out for five minutes at a time, you want to make the most of that time,” says Stobbie. That means going HAM. “If you didn’t break a sweat and aren’t having a hard time catching your breath at the end, you need to up the intensity next time,” she says. This helps you burn more calories and stresses muscles enough to trigger strength gains.
Just because you’re gunning for intensity and speed doesn’t mean you should let your form break. Think about the proper technique during every rep.
Do it no matter what:
If you have absolutely no time that day, squeeze in one five-minute workout. “It’s better than nothing,” says Stobbie.
Give it a try:
Stobbie created these two mini-workouts for you to try at home. They’re great examples of how you can break up the time. For instance, you can do one move per minute or set up a ladder workout (like the fat-burner below) and challenge yourself to complete it in five or 10 minutes.
5-Minute Booty Burner
Minute 1: Squats
Minute 2: Squat Jumps
Minute 3: Lunges
Minute 4: Lunge Jumps
Minute 5: Wall Sit
The 5- or 10-Minute Fat-Burner
30 Alternating Lunges
40 Jumping Jacks
40 Mountain Climbers
30 Alternating Lunges
We promise you'll feel the burn!