How to Do a 10-Minute Workout

Learn how to exercise effectively in 10 minutes or less, and get 3 quick new workout routines.

Ben Greenfield,
Episode #058

One of the top excuses for not exercising is: “I don’t have enough time.” Sadly, we’ve been led to believe that in order to be physically active, get the body we want or whip our heart and lungs into shape, we need to dedicate 45-90 minutes to the gym. But some of the busiest and fittest people I know rarely step foot in a gym or exercise for longer than an hour. So in this article, you’ll learn how to exercise effectively in 10 minutes or less, and get 3 quick new workout routines.

Why Short Exercise Sessions Work

In the episode How to Do High Intensity Interval Training, you learned that short, intense bursts of cardiovascular exercise can boost the metabolism and ultimately burn far more calories than long, slow cardio sessions. In the same way, quick 10-minute workouts spread throughout your day can elevate your heart rate, get you breathing hard, and stimulate a toning effect on the muscles without requiring you to slave away at the gym for long periods of time.

How to Do Short Workouts

The key to exercising for a short period of time is that you must exercise consistently and with high intensity to get significant results. For example, if I want to tone the back of my arms (the triceps), I could do a long workout at the beginning of the week that involves 3-5 sets of several different exercises for the triceps. Such a workout might take 20-25 minutes, but would only address one part of my body. So I’d need to be at the gym much longer than those 20-25 minutes to work my entire body.

But if I perform a single exhausting set of narrow grip push-ups, which is a very effective exercise for targeting the triceps, I can easily squeeze that set into a 2-minute window. So instead of one long, time-consuming triceps workout at the beginning of the week, I’ll simply do that single set of push-ups every day. However, to get good results, I need to consistently perform that set, and push myself to exhaustion.

10-Minute Workouts

For squeezing in a quick exercise session, most people can find a window of time that is longer than 2 minutes, and I’ve found 10 minutes to be something that even very busy individuals can achieve. For each of these 10-minute workouts, don’t worry about a long warm-up or cool-down – everything is wrapped into the 10-minute session. And if you find extra time, you’ll get the added benefit from repeating the 10-minute workout 2 to 3 additional times during the day.


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