“I hear you and 100% – yes, if we’ve got enough time to workout for an hour at a time a few days each week, that would be ideal.”
“But we’re busy.”
“But we need to prioritize our fitness…”
Thanks for humoring my inner dialogue as I refer to myself as “we” – the close-knit tribe that “we” are.
A quick MikedUp Blog original:
I once came out of an appendectomy and while listening to the doctor explain the procedure to my wife (while I was still high on whatever drugs they gave me), I heard the doc say, “That was one of the more difficult procedures I’ve done. His appendix was [really stuck to the abdomen].”
Upon hearing this I perked up, “We’re a close-knit tribe and we will not leave a man behind.” (the appendix).
We got some support in favor of shorter, yet effective workouts a few years ago
Yet still, you need to devote 30 daily minutes for over 12 weeks to the program if you want to see the best results.
I don’t know about you, but somedays I’m lucky to squeeze 10 minutes out of a day for a workout. Admittedly, I need to reprioritize some days, but still – the facts remain:
Fitness should be a priority
Some days I have no time to workout
So, over the years, I’ve found that doing something is infinitely better than nothing. My mind and body both thank me after a 10-minute workout, and that feeling (when finished with the workout) is so much better than the guilt and shame I feel after not getting anything done.
What’s more is that I’ve had a wealth of different opportunities to try out tons of different 10-minute workouts to know which get the job done and what others are a waste of your time. And don’t worry, I’ll give you all the details you’ll need for each of these. Try some out and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Here are 12 of my 10-minute workouts that give me killer results – and can forYOU, too!
1- 100 Burpees
Needed items include a timer and some mental fortitude.
Simple. Set a timer for 10 minutes and get as many burpees done in 10 minutes as possible. Your cap is 100 and if you hit it before 10 minutes, record your time… And beat it next time.
Most recently, I’m at 8:07.
Here’s how to do a burpee with proper form:
Needed items include a field and a timer.
Jogging for 10 minutes is better than jogging for 0 minutes, no doubt. But there’s only so much you can do to elevate your heart rate during a short 10-minute jog. What I’ve done in the past is head to a nearby high school’s football field, warmed up with some quick calisthenics (below), stretched briefly, then set out for some gassers.
You start on 1 sideline, sprint to the opposite sideline and back. If you set your rest period (the time in between sprints) to anything under 10 seconds, you should be able to knock out 10 gassers, minimum. That will elevate the heart rate during your workout and have you burning calories hours after the workout is done.
Pro tips: do not pace yourself on the sprints, do not exceed 10 seconds of rest time and do whatever you can to finish the drill. You can sacrifice 10 minutes for the rest of your day. Make it happen.
3- Barbell ridiculously
This one is a bit advanced so make sure that you have the form (for each of these moves) down before you try this at home.
Needed items include a timer, a barbell, and 2 plates (depending on desired resistance).
I use a 45-pound barbell and 1 45-pound plate for each side but make sure to use a weight that’s right for you – I recommend that you start with only the bar to perfect your form and the transitions.
For this workout, once you grab ahold of the barbell, do not drop it until your entire set is complete. 1 set includes all of the following (5 of each in sequence):
After this, press the bar back to your chest and then set it on the floor. That’s 1 set. Rest 30-60 seconds and the do it again. How many can you complete in 10 minutes? Find the answer to that question, then write it down…
And beat it next time.
4- The card workout
Needed items include a deck of cards and a timer.
Assign each suit (i.e. hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds) an exercise. Here is an example I’ve done recently:
Hearts – jump squats
Clubs – push-ups
Spades – leg raises
Diamonds – burpees
With the suits set, the number of the card will determine the number of reps you’ll do for each exercise (e.g. 2 of spades = 2 leg raises, 10 of hearts = 10 jump squats). I perform these moves sequentially with no rest until the deck of cards is done.
Depending on you’re desired difficulty, you could set all face cards = 10 reps and the aces = 1 rep… Or, you could do the following:
Jack – 11
Queen – 12
King – 13
Ace – 14
…Live a little…
5- 100 Kettlebell swings
Needed items include a timer and either a kettlebell or some other weighted item (i.e. a weighted plate, medicine ball, small child…).
Form is critical here so make sure you have that down.
With perfect form, knock out 100 kettlebell swings as fast as possible. Take breaks if necessary, but make sure to record your time so that you can improve moving forward.
Needed items include a timer and possibly a yoga mat (not required but helpful).
Isometrics are extended holds and while that may not sound terrible, just give it 20 seconds… For this workout, I’ll hold the move for 50 seconds, transition for 10 seconds, then start the next hold.
In this example, 10 holds = 10 minutes:
Straight arm plank
Right side arm balance
Left side arm balance
Left flying warrior
Right arm plank with left arm extended forward
Right flying warrior
Left arm plank with right arm extended forward
7- Calisthenic circuit
Needed items include a timer and any dumbbell or weighted item that you may carry during some exercises.
Feel free to try the below example but know that this routine is entirely customizable depending on the exercises you prefer/that challenge you the most 😉
12 moves, each for 50 seconds in total with no rest:
Jog in place
Twist and pivot (video included below)
Jump rope (movement)
Alternating high leg kicks
Trust me – after this one, you’ll agree that a 10-minute workout will do you just fine.
Needed items include a hard floor, yoga mat, and your computer/video player.
I love yoga. And it’s kind of like #12 below in that, more is better than some but some is infinitely better than none.
If you’ve never tried yoga in the past, it’d probably be wise to visit a reputable studio or instructor who could teach you the basics. This way, you can form good habits and better understand the process and the moves.
After you have some experience under your belt, the three best options I have used are either the same classes/studios referenced above, random YouTube videos for move sequence ideas, or the Yoga X video present in the P90X3 workout series.
But since the P90X3 yoga video is 30 minutes in length, it doesn’t qualify here. Here’s a 10-minute beginner’s yoga video to get you by until you can buy the P90X3 series and devote 30 minutes to your yoga workout 😉
9- Abdominal fun
Needed items include a yoga mat, a timer, and potentially some additional padding depending on your floor and the thickness of your mat.
Just a forewarning that 10 minutes of only abs is going to be difficult. So put on your big-kid spandex for this one, alright?
These 10 moves should be performed sequentially without rest in between (1 minute per exercise) until your timer is up:
Leg raises – (on your back, keep your legs straight, start with your heels 6-inches from the ground, then raise your feet above your waist… repeat the cycle)
Bicycles – (on your back with your legs straight and slightly off the floor, start alternating your knees up to your waist and back to straight legs… like you’re riding a bicycle)
Legs up toe touches – (on your back with your feet directly above your waist, bring your hands up to your toes and then let your back return to the floor (gracefully))
Sitting leg extensions – (on your butt with your hands on the floor behind your back, straighten your legs out in front of you and parallel to the floor. Then bring your knees into your chest and repeat)
Leg climbers (30 seconds per leg) – (on your back, lift one leg up in the air and use your hands to climb up the leg, then back down)
Flutter kicks – (on your back with legs straight and 6-inches off the ground, start kicking your feet up and down within a total vertical distance of about 6 inches)
6-inches – (on your back with legs straight and 6-inches off the ground, hold that pose)
After completing this workout, I recommend a quick stretch of your abs to work against all of the contracting you were doing for the past 10 minutes. It’s not a bad idea to continue stretching your abs every few hours for a few days after this one (if you don’t normally blast your abs…).
10- YouTube Video
Needed items include your computer or another means of accessing the internet.
Sometimes you get bored doing the same old thing, and although I’ve helped provide you with some great (and hopefully new) 10 minute workouts in this post, an influx of new routines and ideas isn’t always a bad thing.
I’ve 100% done this in the past when I’m bored with my own ideas… Here are 3 great results when searching, “Great 10 minute workout” on YouTube:
11- Jump rope
Needed items include a timer and a jump rope.
There’s no dressing this exercise up to make it interesting and ‘hip’… (do the kids still say that?). You’re simply setting your timer and trying to complete the 10 minutes without stopping or kicking your rope.
But no worries if you get caught up, just reset and start again.
Needed items include a quiet space, earbuds, and a phone.
I wrote about my personal love of meditation when I talked about stepping back from the proverbial breaking point by dramatically reducing my stress. I haven’t meditated for a lengthy period of time. And admittedly, I don’t do it often enough.
But when I meditate on a regular basis, I’m less stressed, more present, and ultimately happier. And although you’re not working out your muscles while meditating, just like muscular gains are made during the resting phase, meditation can be one of the most important tools that allow you to get the maximum results out of your gym time.
How? By refocusing your mind, reducing your stress, and allowing you to attack the next workout with your full effort!
Here is a great article to help you get started. And another – focus on their Step 4. I chose 12 minutes because I haven’t yet found time for 15 and I’ve read that you need between 7-8 to actually change brain pathways.
Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below! Did you try any of the workouts above and, if so, how did it go? I’d love to hear about your experiences, or if I’ve left out an excellent 10-minute workout that you love.
Thanks for reading!
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