Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Achieving any fitness goal requires motivation, dedication, perspiration, and time. Hitting the gym regularly will take a big chunk out of the 168 hours in each week. In a perfect world, your workouts should fit around your job, family, and social life. However, that’s not always the case, and most exercisers are faced with barriers to maintaining their workout schedule.

When time is short, workouts are often the first casualty, and the more workouts you miss, the slower your progress will be. You may even start to backslide and lose your hard-won gains.

The good news is that the length of your workout is actually not all that important, and you can achieve good results from shorter bouts of exercise. While not necessarily an ideal approach to training, it seems that workouts lasting as little as 5-10 minutes can be beneficial (1).

In this article, we reveal our favorite 5 to 10-minute workouts and explain why mini workouts can be beneficial even if you have plenty of time for training.

The Value of Short Workouts

Pushups Exercise

Many people reading this will be quick to say that it doesn’t matter how busy you are; you should still be able to find time for exercise. While that is true up to a point, sometimes life has a way of messing with even the best-laid plans!

This is especially true when you consider how long a 40 to 60-minute workout can actually take.

By the time you factor in getting to the gym, changing into your exercise clothes, warming up, the workout itself, cooling down, showering, and heading home, your workout could end up taking 2-3 hours out of your day. And that’s if you don’t get dragged into a conversation about last night’s football game or waiting for the equipment you want to use to become free!

Sure, things like doing Supersets or HIIT will shave a few minutes off the length of your workout, but you still need to get to the gym, warm-up, etc., which is what really cuts into your day.

Short workouts lasting 5 to 10 minutes are the ideal solution for those days you can’t find the time to get to the gym. They can often be done at home using minimal workout equipment. And while such short workouts probably won’t do much for your fitness, strength, or muscle mass, they should be sufficient to maintain your progress.

As well as being a great way to squeeze some exercise into even the busiest day, short workouts offer other benefits, too:

1. Break up long periods of sedentarism

Even if you work out regularly, you are probably classed as sedentary. 4-6 hours of exercise per week does not entirely counteract the harmful effect of spending the rest of your time sitting in front of a computer.

You can use 5 to 10-minute workouts to break up long periods of inactivity. Because these workouts are so short, you should be able to do at least some of them without breaking a sweat and in your regular street clothes.

And other than a few joint mobility exercises, you should be able to do these workouts without much of a warm-up. I’ve done two mini-workouts (#1 and #3) while writing this article!

If sitting at your desk all day leaves you feeling tired and sore, use these workouts to get your body moving.

2. Increased calorie expenditure

5 to 10 minutes of exercise won’t burn a lot of calories. Still, if you do a couple every day, you could end up accumulating an extra hour or so of training per week, and that is a significant increase in physical activity.

If your weight loss progress has stalled, a couple of short workouts per day, in addition to your normal workout routine, could get you back on track.

3. Less DOMS

Delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMS for short, is part and parcel of working out. However, it’s often worse when you are sedentary between workouts. Your body seizes up quicker and more severally if you spend a lot of time locked into the same position for hours at a time.

Mini workouts like those detailed below will increase blood flow, flooding your muscles with freshly oxygenated blood and removing the metabolic waste products caused by intense exercise.

While you won’t be able to avoid DOMS completely, mini workouts may make it less severe.

4. Increased productivity

Everyone suffers mental blocks from to time. Maybe you’re struggling to come up with a solution to a workplace problem, or you can’t think of the right word to use in an article or letter. Talk about frustrating!

One of the best ways to overcome mental blocks is to disengage your brain and do something physical instead. Just a few minutes away from whatever is vexing you may be enough to allow your brain to start working again.

5. Increased insulin sensitivity

Even short workouts increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas which transports nutrients from your blood and drives them into your liver and muscle cells. Increased insulin sensitivity is linked to less fat gain and easier fat burning.

A short workout before a meal will ensure that more of the food you eat ends up in your muscles and is directed away from your fat cells.

Sold on the value of short workouts? Good to hear! Below you’ll find ten of our favorite 5 to 10-minute workouts.  

The Best 5 to 10-minute Workouts

Short on time? Or just want to inject some extra activity into your day? Here are 11 tried and tested mini workouts.

1. 40-20 jump rope intervals


Jumping rope is a great way to develop your cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and boost your metabolism. Because jump ropes are light and cheap, it’s an excuse-free workout that you can do almost anywhere and anytime.

This simple workout will get your heart pumping but is also easy enough that you won’t need to warm up before doing it. Do five or ten sets of the following, depending on how much time you have available.

  1. Jump rope 40 seconds
  2. Rest 20 seconds

2. Burpee/push-up pyramid

Guide To Burpees

Burpees are a great conditioning exercise. They work virtually every muscle in your body. This variation emphasizes the push-up part of burpees, making them a little more upper body dominant. This mini workout is a race against the clock, but most people should have no problem doing it in ten minutes or less.

The premise of this workout is simple; do one burpee, complete with one push-up. For your next rep, do two push-ups per burpee. Continue adding one push-up per burpee until you hit ten reps. If you have the energy to burn and enough time, you can then come back down the push-up pyramid doing one less rep per burpee.

How to do a burpee:

  1. Stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
  2. Squat down and put your hands flat on the floor, about shoulder-width apart.
  3. Jump your feet back into the push-up position and do one rep.
  4. Jump your feet up to your hands and then leap into the air.
  5. Land on slightly bent knees, squat down again and repeat.
  6. Increase the number of push-ups by one with each burpee you perform.

3. 5-minute whole-body circuit

Pull-Ups Vs. Chin-Ups

This is my go-to mini-workout when I want to get my body moving. I do this workout on the days I don’t go to the gym, and whenever I want to break up long periods sat in front of my computer. As well as working all your major muscles, this workout also delivers a useful burst of cardiovascular activity.

Do as many laps of the following circuit as you can in 5-minutes. Got time to burn? Go for seven or ten minutes.

  1. 3 pull-ups or chin-ups
  2. 6 push-ups
  3. 9 squats

4. Tabata swing and goblet squat superset

Kettlebell Swings

Tabatas are a form of high-intensity interval training. Originally designed to train Olympic speed skaters, Tabata training has since been adopted by athletes all around the world and has proven to be an effective way to burn calories, burn fat, and even build muscle (2).

The main disadvantage of Tabata training is that fatigue quickly accumulates in whatever muscles you are working, which may mean you cannot maintain a fast enough pace to maximize the effect of this ultra-short workout.

Pairing two exercises together means that you can keep the pace high while dividing the work across several muscle groups.

For this workout, grab a kettlebell and alternate between kettlebell swings and goblet squats, as shown below.

  1. Kettlebell swings – 20 seconds
  2. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  3. Kettlebell goblet squats – 20 seconds
  4. Rest/transition – 10 seconds

Repeat eight times to total four minutes, or 16 times to total eight minutes.

5. 10-minute dumbbell full-body workout

Dumbbell Workout

This short but challenging workout hits every major muscle in less time than most people spend lacing up their sneakers and updating their social media status! There are two exercises in this workout – thrusters and renegade row/push-ups.

Each exercise involves several large muscle groups to drive your heart rate sky-high.

  1. Dumbbell thrusters – 40 seconds
  2. Dumbbell renegade row/push-ups – 40 seconds
  3. Rest – 40 seconds
  4. Repeat to total five sets/ten minutes


  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly outward. Rest and hold your dumbbells on your shoulders, palms turned inward.
  2. Squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor. Do not round your lower back.
  3. Stand up and push the weights up and overhead to arms’ length.
  4. Lower the weights back to your shoulders and repeat.

Renegade row/push-ups:

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, get down on the floor in the push-up position. Brace your abs.
  2. Bend one arm and row the weight up and into your ribs. Put the dumbbell back on the floor.
  3. Row the other dumbbell up and in, and then put it back down.
  4. Do one push-up, lowering your chest down between your hands.
  5. Continue this row/row/push-up sequence for the allotted time.

6. 10-minute PAUL HIIT workout

Pushups Exercise

PAUL stands for plyometrics, abs, upper body, and lower body and is an effective way to organize exercises to make a short, sharp, high-intensity interval training workout. You can use equipment or just use bodyweight exercises as preferred.

For this PAUL workout, do 30 seconds of each of the following exercises, rest 30 seconds, and then repeat three more times to total 10-minutes.

– Squat jump

– Reverse crunch

– Hand-release push-up

– Alternating lunge

7. Odds and evens 10-minute upper body workout


You don’t need to go to a gym to train your upper body. Providing you’ve got a pull-up bar and space to do push-ups, you can train your pecs, lats, delts, biceps, and triceps using just your bodyweight.

This simple workout involves alternating between max-rep sets of pull-ups or chin-ups and push-ups every minute, on the minute (EMOM) for ten minutes to deliver a very effective and time-efficient upper body workout.

  1. Pull-ups or chin-ups – as many reps as possible
  2. Push-ups – as many reps as possible
  3. Pull-ups or chin-ups – as many reps as possible
  4. Push-ups – as many reps as possible
  5. Pull-ups or chin-ups – as many reps as possible
  6. Push-ups – as many reps as possible
  7. Pull-ups or chin-ups – as many reps as possible
  8. Push-ups – as many reps as possible
  9. Pull-ups or chin-ups – as many reps as possible
  10. Push-ups – as many reps as possible

8. Burpee and jump rope ascending pyramid

At Home Burpee

Combining two great conditioning exercises, this workout is a race against the clock, but most people should be able to do it in ten minutes or less. The great thing about this workout is it starts easy and gets more challenging as you progress, providing you with a built-in warm-up.

Storm through the following as fast as you can:

  1. 1 burpee/10 jump rope turns
  2. 2 burpee/20 jump rope turns
  3. 3 burpee/30 jump rope turns
  4. 4 burpee/40 jump rope turns
  5. 5 burpee/50 jump rope turns
  6. 6 burpee/60 jump rope turns
  7. 7 burpee/70 jump rope turns
  8. 8 burpee/80 jump rope turns
  9. 9 burpee/100 jump rope turns
  10. 10 burpee/100 jump rope turns

9. Wall ball and medicine ball slam descending pyramid

Medicine Ball Slam

This workout combines two CrossFit favorites – wall ball and medicine ball slams. Between them, these two exercises deliver a full-body workout. Doing them back to back will also increase your heart and breathing rate. This one’s a race against the clock, but most people should be able to do it in ten minutes or less.

Storm through the following descending rep pyramid as fast as you can.

  1. 10 wall ball shots
  2. 10 medicine ball slams
  3. 9 wall ball shots
  4. 9 medicine ball slams
  5. 8 wall ball shots
  6. 8 medicine ball slams
  7. 7 wall ball shots
  8. 7 medicine ball slams
  9. 6 wall ball shots
  10. 6 medicine ball slams
  11. 5 wall ball shots
  12. 5 medicine ball slams
  13. 4 wall ball shots
  14. 4 medicine ball slams
  15. 3 wall ball shots
  16. 3 medicine ball slams
  17. 2 wall ball shots
  18. 2 medicine ball slams
  19. 1 wall ball shot
  20. 1 medicine ball slam

Wall ball:

  1. Hold your medicine ball in front of your chest, hands on the underside of the ball with your palms up. Stand in front of a wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Squat down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the floor.
  3. Stand up and throw the ball up at the wall.
  4. Catch the ball as it bounces off the wall and repeat.


  1. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and your medicine ball in your hands.
  2. Raise the ball above your head and then throw it at the floor just in front of your feet.
  3. Catch it as it bounces and then repeat.

10. 60/60 cardio intervals

Best Assault Bike Workouts

Cardio is often time-consuming, and most people do at least 20-30 minutes or more. If you only have time for a short workout, try 60/60 intervals. Simply choose a cardio activity, do one easy minute and then sprint for 60 seconds. Repeat five times to total 10 minutes.

Good exercise options include:

  • Rowing
  • Air bike
  • Spin bike
  • Elliptical
  • Treadmill

11.  Tabata 3-way plank workout

RKC Plank
RKC Plank (Image via YouTube @Functional Bodybuilding)

Wake up your core in just over four minutes with this 3-way plank Tabata workout. You’ll be doing each exercise for 20-seconds, so don’t plank passively. Instead, tense your entire body and core as hard as you can to maximize muscle fiber activation. This is called hardstyle or RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) planking.

  1. Front plank – 20 seconds
  2. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  3. Left side plank – 20 seconds
  4. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  5. Right side plank – 20 seconds
  6. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  7. Front plank – 20 seconds
  8. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  9. Left side plank – 20 seconds
  10. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  11. Right side plank – 20 seconds
  12. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  13. Front plank – 20 seconds
  14. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  15. Left side plank – 20 seconds
  16. Rest/transition – 10 seconds
  17. Right side plank – 20 seconds

Wrapping Up

5 to 10-minute workouts are not the best way to train for most fitness goals. It’s impossible to accumulate sufficient volume or hit the right intensity level in such a short time. However, compared to the alternative, they’re a whole lot better than nothing!

Use these mini-workouts to break up what would otherwise be a sedentary day, increase your weekly training volume, or just maintain your gains when you cannot find time for a longer workout.

Lack of time IS a significant barrier to working out but, even the most time-pressed should be able to find five to ten minutes per day for a short, sharp workout.


1. PubMed: Effects of Long Versus Short Bout Exercise on Fitness and Weight Loss in Overweight Females (source)

2. PubMed: Exercise Intensity and Energy Expenditure of a Tabata Workout (source)

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on whatsapp

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *