Do 10 Minute Workouts Actually Do Anything For You?
A common reason why people say they don’t exercise is because they don’t have time. I work long hours, they say. I have kids. I’m on the night-day swing shift. I just can’t fit it in. But what if time weren’t a barrier to exercise? What if you could do, say, 10-minute workouts — ones that could help you become healthier, leaner, and more muscular — in less time than you typically spend in the shower?
Surprise: you can! Although longer workouts can be valuable, there’s nothing magical about the 60-minute mark, the 30-minute mark, or even the 20-minute mark. The point of exercise is to challenge and stimulate your body to adapt — and that doesn’t have to take much time at all.
Take Openfit’s 600 Secs program, for example. It will push your limits and make you work up a sweat in 10 minutes flat. It’s not easy, and it’s not a gimmick. It’s just a challenging, highly efficient program that delivers results — fast.
Here’s how and why 10-minute workouts work.
Are 10-Minute Workouts Effective?
“Studies show that short, high-intensity workouts can provide many — if not all — of the benefits of longer workouts in a fraction of the time,” says Trevor Thieme, C.S.C.S., Openfit’s senior manager of fitness and nutrition content. A smattering of those more recent findings include:
- A 12-week study in 2016 compared the effects of sedentary men exercising three days a week where one group did 10-minute interval workouts and the other group did slower, 50-minute steady-state workouts. The researchers found that the shorter workouts were just as effective as the longer ones for improving aerobic fitness, metabolic health, and muscular endurance.
- A 2017 study compared the fat-burning effects of brief, high-intensity interval routines to longer, slower workouts and found that both were equally effective at reducing visceral fat (the deep abdominal variety that surrounds organs and increases many health risks).
- A 2018 study compared the effects of three different strength-training protocols done three times a week: one in which subjects lifted weights for 70 minutes, another in which they lifted for 45 minutes, and a third in which they lifted for just 13 minutes. The result? Though the groups who performed longer workouts gained more muscle size, the 13-minute exercisers gained just as much strength. In short, as long as the participants worked hard — in this case, close to exhaustion — during each set of those short workouts, they got just as strong as those who exercised nearly five times as long.
“Many people think that the longer they work out, the more muscle they’ll build, the more fat they’ll burn, and the more endurance they’ll gain,” says Thieme. But, clearly, that isn’t always the case.
The Secret Behind 10-Minute Workouts
When it comes to exercise, something is always (way) better than nothing. In one study of previously sedentary women, 10 to 15 minutes of daily aerobic exercise improved blood pressure (an important indicator of cardiovascular health). In another study, brainpower and cognition improved directly after bouts of exercise as short as 10 minutes.
The takeaway: In addition to helping you build strength, enhance cardiovascular fitness, and burn fat, workouts as short as 10 minutes can help you improve key health markers — as long as you push yourself. “As workouts become shorter, you have to work progressively harder to optimize your results,” Thieme says.
In virtually every study demonstrating the effectiveness of short workouts, the subjects worked hard — often as hard as they were physically able — for at least portions of their workouts. So if you want go minimalist and cut your workout time down to 600 seconds, you have to hit it hard.
Advantages of 10-Minute Workouts
If you can handle the intensity of 10-minute workouts, you can enjoy the many benefits they offer, including:
Ten minutes is doable for anyone: You can do it right when you wake up, after work, on your lunch break, during your child’s nap, or right before bed just to name a few options. With such a short block of time, you barely have to schedule it!
You can spend your 10 minutes working a single muscle group or body part (abs, glutes, shoulders, chest, arms, etc.), doing a total-body strength session, or cranking up your calorie burn and building endurance with an intense cardio blast. They’re your 600 seconds. Use them however you want — just don’t hold back!
Just starting — or restarting — an exercise program? A 10-minute commitment isn’t nearly as daunting as a 60- or even 30-minute one. Indeed, it’s a great way to get a “win” and feel a sense of accomplishment with minimal disruption to the rest of your day.
When you know you’ll be in the gym 60 minutes, you’re more likely to take a casual approach to working out, socializing with swol-mates and taking extra-long rest periods. When you’re limited to 10 minutes, you have to get down to business right away — and stay focused the whole time.
Once you realize how easy it is to fit a 10-minute workout into your day and start seeing the benefits of doing so regularly, you’ll start looking forward to those 10 minutes of daily self-improvement. The feel-good, endorphin-fueled “high” that comes with pushing yourself hard will also help keep you coming back for more. And that’s key: Consistency is the most important factor in achieving any fitness goal.
Ready to get started with some intense, 10-minute workouts that you can do on your own schedule, wherever you are? Click here for 600 Secs by Openfit!