By: Gabrielle Kassel
Most folks can attest to the fact that squeezing a sweat session into a hectic schedule is as tricky as, say, fitting a square peg into a round hole.
Luckily, “your workout doesn’t have to include going to the gym for hours and hours or taking an hour-long boutique fitness class to be effective,” according to NASM-certified personal trainer and USA Powerlifting Coach Kyra William.
“Even a 10 minute microworkout can help you stay healthy and meet your fitness and fat-loss goals,” she says. And research proves it! One recent study published in journal PLUS One found that a 10-minute workout that includes just one minute of high-intensity movement may be just as good as a longer moderate-intensity workout.
How is that possible? Fitness expert, Lee Wratislaw the manager of Digital Programming at Gold’s Gym explains going hard at the gym increases something called ‘excess post-exercise oxygen consumption’ (EPOC). “This means that going hard at the gym causes your body to consume more oxygen, which results in your body burning more calories even after the workout is over,” he says. Basically, HIIT helps you burn extra calories even when you're back at your desk cranking away at that to-do list. Not bad, right?
Ahead six 10-minute workouts you can do the next time you’re crunched for time. Ready, sweat, go!
Barbell Burpee Burner
10 Minute EMOM
Even minutes: 8 to 12 Burpees
Odd minutes: 3 Touch And Go Power Cleans
For this workout, set a timer to beep every minute on the minute for ten minutes. When the clock starts and then again on minutes 2,4,6 and 8 you will do 8 to 12 burpees. “The burpees should only take between 30 and 40 seconds so you have a tiny bit of recovery, so pick a rep count you’ll be able to hit consistently,” says Williams.
Then, on the top of every odd minute (minute 1,3,5,7 and 9) you will do three touch and go power cleans. Ideally, every round you will increase your weight so that by the last set you’re at 80 to 85 percent of your three rep max.
“The explosivity of the burpee combined with a heavy lift will improve your cardiovascular capacity while also boosting your strength,” says Williams. How’s that for big gains in little time?
Half The Woman Cindy Is
10 Minute AMRAP
15 Air Squats
Arguably one of the best-known CrossFit WODs, Cindy entails doing a circuit of pull-ups, push-ups, and air squats over and over again for 20 minutes. This iteration cuts the time in half, which Williams says means you can push the intensity even more.
Her suggestion: Do that by minimizing your transition time between movements. Can you drop from your last pull-up into a push-up? Can you jump right to the bar after your last air squat? Each of these moves could save you ten to fifteen seconds per round—which really adds up over the course of ten minutes.
If your upper-body strength isn’t quite there, substitute the pull-ups for banded pull-ups, rings rows, or inverted rows and push-ups for knee, box, or wall push-ups.
Jump On It
10 Minute AMRAP
30 Double Unders
10 KB Goblet Squats
Once the clock starts, you’re going to do as many rounds as possible of the above until ten minutes are up. “Double unders are an explosive, cardiovascular move that will spike your heart rate immediately,” says Williams. “The goal should be to do squats and push-ups unbroken, but these movements are your opportunity to recover.”
Williams recommends 35 pound kettlebell for women and 53 pound kettlebell for men, but pick a weight you can do all 10 reps unbroken everytime. If you don’t yet have the strength for push-ups she recommends subbing the move for knee push-ups, wall push-ups, or ring rows.
Row Sprint Intervals
For 10 Minutes
Sprint 30 Seconds
Rest 30 Seconds
Find machine work boring but committed to improving your cardiovascular capacity? You might be surprised how effective a sprint series can be. “This type of high intensity interval training is the BEST form of cardio, especially if losing fat, maintain muscle mass, and feeling amazing are the goal,” says Williams.
This workout can be done on basically any piece of gym equipment available or outside, says Williams. So if you don’t have time to hit the gym, find a set of stairs or patch of pavement for run sprints.
Sprint To The Bar
1 Mile Run Buy-In
Max Reps Strict Pull-Ups In Remaining Time
This workout starts with a 1 mile run. In the remaining time, your goal is to complete as many strict pull-ups as possible. So if it takes you 6 minute to run a mile, you have 4 minutes to complete as minute strict pull-ups as possible. But if it takes you 9 minutes to run a mile, you’ll only be doing pull-ups for a minute.
According to William, the goal is to be able to get at least one or two pull-ups (or whatever your scale for the movement is). So if you can’t complete 1 mile in under 10 minutes, no worries, but she recommending running ¾ of a mile instead in order to get the stimulus of the workout.
Have shin splints or an ankle or knee injury that makes running impossible? Men should row 1000 meters and women should row 800 meters instead. And if strict pull-ups aren’t in yet in your wheelhouse, sub them for banded strict pull-ups.
The Bear Complex
10 Minute EMOM
Every minute on the minute for 10 minute complete 1 set of the following complex without dropping the bar:
1 Power Clean
1 Front Squat
1 Push Press
1 Back Squat
1 Push Press
A beastly strength series, The Bear Complex entails completing 1 power clean, 1 front squat, 1 push-press, 1 back, squat, and another push-press in that order without letting go of the bar (aka unbroken). The complex should take 15 to 20 seconds to complete, and the remainder of the minute is your rest. The goal is to use the heaviest weight you can handle with good form, so go up in weight between sets if you can.
While this workout won’t improve your cardiovascular capacity like some of the other workouts on the list, Williams says it’s great for building muscle. Just keep in mind: while this workout is only 10 minutes long but you should devote ample time prepping your body and warming up with an empty barbell before starting the clock.