Could Ten-Minute ‘Micro Workouts’ Be The Key To Building The Best Physique of Your Life?
At some point in time it seems to have become etched in stone that muscle-building workouts must follow a very particular format — train different parts of your body, once a day, for somewhere between 40-90 minutes, 3-5 days per week. Of course this varies, but most fitness advice never seems to venture too far from this basic template.
But we’re here to tell you that the greatest gains of your life may well be found on the other side of this formula, that the latest research suggests that training the same movements, more frequently will in fact lead to greater increases in size, and that if you’re currently working from home — you’re in the best position to leverage ten-minute, muscle swelling ‘micro workouts’.
What are Micro Workouts?
‘Micro workouts’ involve performing short, sharp bursts of resistance training, just ten minutes in length, multiple times throughout the day. Although it may seem counterintuitive, training more frequently in this fashion will actually see you training less in total, clocking up just 30 minutes of total workout time per day, 4-5 days per week.
The 'secret sauce' of this approach lays in the intensity you’re able to apply; with just 10 minutes to get through, and then hours to recover, you’re essentially hitting each exercise (or pair of exercises) fresh, enabling you to go all in and lay down some serious muscle building effort.
Train, Eat, Repeat
You may be having trouble envisaging how fitting three workouts into your day is going to be more practical than one, but at just ten minutes a pop and only requiring a single pair of dumbbells, simply grab one workout before breakfast, one before lunch and a final ten minutes before dinner and you’ll soon be wondering why you ever took hours out of your day to make the round trip to the gym. This schedule will also help to manage your blood sugar and appetite, as well as leaving you walking around with a pretty solid pump, 24 hours a day, all in half the time.
The three ten minute protocols below target your chest, shoulders, legs and back — building express full-body muscle. Grab your dumbbells and start a running clock. For each micro workout, perform the prescribed reps of movement one at the beginning of each minute, for five minutes, before immediately beginning five minutes of movement two.
Spread the three workouts throughout your day, ideally aiming to complete them around meal times.
When you can easily complete each five minute blast without breaking a sweat, it’s time to upgrade those dumbbells.
Micro Workout One
1. Push Press x 10-15 reps every minute for five minutes
Clean your dumbbells onto your shoulders, palms facing in. Take a breath and brace your core. (A) Dip at the knees and use your legs to help (B) press your dumbbells overhead. Lower under control to the ground. After 10 reps, switch partners.
2. Push-up x 10- 20 reps every minute for five minutes
Drop into a strong plank position, with your core tight and hands on your dumbbells (A), bend your elbows to bring your chest to the floor (B). Keep your elbows close to your body as you push back up explosively.
Micro Workout Two
1. Front Squat x 10-15 reps every minute for five minutes
Clean your dumbbells up and secure them on your shoulders (A). From here, drop into a front squat, until your thighs pass parallel to the ground (B), before driving back up. By this point fatigue will be setting in, but focus on your breathing and keep your form tight.
2. Dumbbell deadlift x 10-15 reps every minute for five minutes
With your dumbbells to the floor just outside of your feet, hinge down and grip them with a flat back and neutral spine (A). Engage your lats and stand upright, pushing the ground away with your feet, keeping your chest up and black flat throughout (B). Lower them back to the ground in a hinging motion and repeat.
Micro Workout Three
1. Bent Over Row x 10-15 reps every minute for five minutes
Hold your dumbbells at your sides and hinge at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor, dumbbells hanging below your knees (A). Keeping your elbows close to your body, row both dumbbells towards your hips (B), squeeze your shoulder blades down and together and lower under control to the start before repeating. Avoid using momentum from your torso and focus on squeezing your back, hard.
2. Hang power cleans x 10-15 reps every minute for five minutes
Stand tall with your dumbbells, holding them at your sides. Hinge at the hips to lower them to your knees (A). Stand back up with a slight jump, using the momentum to pull the dumbbells up on to your shoulders (B). Stand up straight, then lower under control to your sides and repeat. Keep this fast and explosive; if your heart rate doesn’t hit the roof, you’re doing them wrong.
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