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10 Minute Mini Workouts

Have you noticed lately that the 10 minute mini workouts seem to be the biggest craze to hit the weight loss and lifestyle management scene?  And we think, rightfully so!

The 10 minute workout provides a solution to a very common problem… How do I fit exercise into my crazy, hectic schedule?

Some people are so stressed about time, they watch the time tick, as if each second is eating up precious minutes of their day.  For those, in which every second counts, driving 10 miles down the road to do an hour of cardio is a bit unrealistic.  Sure, some might step-up to the challenge, but the vast majority will fail to incorporate the gym workout into an ongoing  routine.  And let’s face it, when it comes to weight loss or weight management, frequency is key.

The 10 minute workout format can also be good for beginners, or those resuming a workout schedule after a bit of a “hiatus” . There are a lot of skeptics who question the legitimacy of  getting a decent workout in just 10 minutes.  But we’d encourage them to remember that, like diets, exercise programs aren’t necessarily “one size fits all”.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults engage in 20 minutes of vigorous activity three days per week or at least 30 minutes of low-to-moderate physical activity five days per week.

Since doing 20 minutes of consecutive exercise may still not fit into a person’s day, a 2-a-day mini format allows a person to breakup their workouts into  smaller, more doable chunks of time.   When you think about it, it’s similar to how we should eat – small meals, frequently throughout the day. Another thing to consider, intensity is based upon each person’s current physical abilities. As you increase your fitness,  you can increase the intensity of your workouts (e.g running faster, doing more repetitions, increase the weight).

So what is considered vigorous vs moderate or low activity?

There are three main ways to measure your exercise intensity to make sure your body is getting the most out of every workout.

  • Target heart rate
  • Talk test
  • Exertion rating scale

Your maximum heart rate is normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age. Click here to calculate your heart rate for a safe and effective workout!

Low-intensity aerobic activity: Your heart rate is 40 to 50 percent of your maximum heart rate. Your workout does not induce sweating unless it’s a hot, humid day. There is no noticeable change in breathing patterns.You can sing your favorite song or carry on an uninterrupted conversation while exercising. Based on a perceived exertion scale,you would describe your exertion as being a 6 ( no exertion at all) and an 11 (light exertion).

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity: Your heart rate is 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate. You’re working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song. Based on a perceived exertion scale,you would describe your exertion as being between a 12 (somewhat hard) to a 14 ( you feel tired but can continue).

Vigorous-intensity aerobic activity: Your heart rate is 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. You’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. Based on a perceived exertion scale,you would describe your exertion as being a 15 (hard) and above (feeling fatigued and that you can’t continue at that pace).

With that in mind, below are a few sample 2-a-day and 10 minute mini workouts.

Sample Mini Workouts

Option 1: Mini Workout #1, by kimfitness

  1. 2 minutes sprint, run/jog (outside, treadmill, or in place)
  2. 1 minute of ANY SQUAT MOVEMENT
  3. 2 minutes Jump Rope (If you don’t have a jump rope just do the motions as if you had one)
  4. 1 minute of ANY PUSH-UP MOVEMENT
  5. 2 minutes of Front Kick Lunges
  6. 1 minute of Any AB MOVEMENT

(Repeat if you have more time)

Mini Workout #2

ROUND ONE:  Set your timer for 5 minutes. At the top of each minute do 5 Dumbbell Deadlifts and finish the minute with High Knees.

ROUND TWO:  Set your timer for 5 minutes. At the top of each minute do 5 Lunges  and finish the minute with Plyo Jacks. (Repeat if you have more time)

Option 2: From Oprah – New York trainer Michael Gonzalez-Wallace’s program

According to Michael Gonzalez-Wallace, “the perfect exercise plan doesn’t have to be time consuming, just engaging enough that you’ll stay with it.”  His program is based on 10 minutes a day, six days a week. He saves  time by combining standard gym classics—doing biceps curls while lunging. And the light weights and high repetitions Gonzalez-Wallace prescribes deliver a strength workout at the same time as an aerobic one. He also incorporates balance challenges such as standing on one leg while extending weights away from your core.

Here’s Gonzalez-Wallace plan for how to do it.

Days 1 and 4: Workout A 

Days 2 and 5: Workout B 

Days 3 and 6: Workout C 

Guidelines: Start with two-to-five pound weights, although Gonzalez-Wallace says beginners can use standard full half-liter water bottles. Do one set of the exercises with 30 seconds of rest between each, then repeat. All together, this should take about 10 minutes.

A good measure of your effort is that you’re breathing hard but still able to carry on a conversation. When the moves become easy and you need more of a challenge, you can increase the weight of the dumbbells by a pound or two, do more repetitions per set—25 to 30—or add an extra set of each exercise.

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