Fitness is not a destination; it is a way of life. Be physically fit—you know you’ll like it!
When your schedule is almost too hectic to deal with, a 10-minute workout can be a real life-saver—and, honestly, a sanity-saver as well. Making time for exercise might feel like a hassle in the moment, but you'll very likely be glad you did it. Working out comes with a host of health benefits, from boosting your immunity to helping you sleep better at night as mentioned in my previous article. Plus, workouts don't have to be long drawn-out affairs to be effective or for you to get any benefits from them. When done right and with appropriate intensity, a 10-minute workout can be an incredibly effective way to work up a sweat, get your heart pumping, and get your muscles working. Plus: When you compare 10 minutes of working out to zero minutes of working out, 10 minutes is almost always better!
8 Simple Workouts You Can Do at Home
Jogging warms you up, gets your heart pumping and your blood flowing. Jog on the spot, in a circle or a straight line for 1 minute. Keep your core tight (tense your stomach muscles) as you jog, this will work them. If you’re doing method 2, jog at a normal pace for 30 seconds, have a 5 second rest then sprint for 30 seconds. Hardcore HIITers just sprint for the full minute.
2. Star Jumps
Continuation of warm up and increasing heart rate and blood flow. Star-jumps warm up your shoulders, lats (the sides of your back) and quads (leg muscles). Do them for a full minute at regular pace or, if you’re doing regular HIIT, keep it paced for 30 seconds then do as many reps as you can in the last 20 seconds. Hardcore HIITers, fast as you can for the full minute. Make sure you’re on stable, non-slippery ground.
3. High Knee Twists
High-knee twists work your quads (legs), your abs and your obliques. The oblique muscles are tasked with a variety of functions
Keep your core tight to give your abs maximum work. Focus on using your abs to pull your legs up as you move. The movement from twisting your body side to side is what works your oblique’s; the side muscles which line your abs. Go at regular pace for the full minute. If you’re doing regular HIIT, do normal pace for 30 seconds, have a 5 second break, then 25 seconds as fast as you can go, as many reps as you can. Hardcore HIITers, fast as you can for a minute.
The humble push-up primarily works your chest, triceps and shoulders. Secondary muscles worked are biceps, and back muscles . Keep your body in a straight line from your feet and legs all the way up your spine to your neck. Try to get your nose as close to the ground as possible without moving your face toward the ground — keep your neck and back as straight as possible and keep your abs contracted. If you can’t do a push in the position in the image above, maintain the same position but rest your knees on the floor. Over time you’ll build the strength to perform the classic push up.
At regular pace keep your movements slow and controlled. You don’t need to count how you many reps do, just perform the movement continuously, for as long as you can up to a minute.
At regular HIIT pace, perform regular paced push-ups for 30 seconds, have a 10 second break then do as many as you can for the next 20 seconds. Maintain good form but focus on speed. You don’t need to count how many reps you do. Again, hardcore HIITers, you know what to do. In fact, I know you know what to do, so I won’t mention anything more for you guys.
5. Power Push-Ups Or Plank
You have a choice here. If you’re looking to build strength, do the power push up. If you want core and ab work, do the plank. If you’re a beast do both — a minute of power push-ups and a minute of planking.
The power push-up is another explosive movement. Start from the up position and jump down into push-up, then pop back up into the starting position. This move uses most of your body and requires control to perform properly. Start slow if you’re not used it.
- This one will make you sweat whatever pace you’re going at and it’ll work your muscles properly. Or the other way is to Plank, the classic pilates pose. Which means lie face up, bend your knees over your hips and and lift your feet off the mat. Extend your legs as you reach your arms toward your feet and lift your head and shoulders off the mat. Try to create a V shape with your torso and legs. Hold for 5 breaths, and then roll onto your back bending your knees again.
- This exercise also strengthens your core from all sides; abdominals, obliques and dorsal muscles (back). No breaks on this one, hold the pose for the full minute, or as long as you can up to the full minute.
6. Squat Jacks
Focuses on legs, butt and cardio. Keep your knees behind your toes when you jump down into the squat, push your butt out as far as you can without losing your balance. Same rules apply for regular pace, regular HIIT or hardcore HIIT .
7. Side-Plank Balance Holds
Oblique-focused core-strength. Hold yourself on one side for up to 30 seconds then switch to the other side for 30 seconds. Keep your body as straight as you possibly can, don’t dip your hips toward the floor.
If the pose is too tough, hold yourself on your forearm instead of your hand. You may need a break if you’re new to this so don’t worry if you can’t hold yourself for the full 30 seconds (sometimes I struggle too with this). If you’re a beast you can try holding up to a minute on each side.
8. Mountain Climbers
Finish off strong. Works the core, legs, arms (because you’re holding yourself up) and finishes on a cardio high. Keep your back and neck in line and tighten your core. Kick your knees as close to your elbows as you can without touching them.
You can do this workout in one of three ways, which way is completely up to you.
Method 1 — Regular Pace
Use a normal, comfortable pace if you want to focus more on building strength, controlling the movements and breathing.
Perform each exercise for 50–60 seconds and then rest for 10–30 seconds before moving onto the next exercise. You don’t need to count how many reps you do, just repeat the move for the minute. At this pace just focus on maintaining correct form and controlling your movements, not on trying to do as many reps as you can.
If this is the first time you’re doing this workout or the movements are new to you, use a regular pace first to get yourself used to it.
Method 2— Regular High-Intensity Intervals (HIIT)
This is a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) method and mixes strength and control with speed, fat burn and endurance.
It’ll kick up your heart rate, burn more calories and increase your aerobic fitness, all while still building your strength. It’ll also make you sweat.
In this method you’re separating your minute of each exercise into 3 parts:
Perform each movement for 30 seconds first at regular pace.
Have a 5- to 10-second break, then:
Perform the same exercise as fast as you can for the remaining 20 seconds.
Push yourself as hard as you can and get as many reps as possible within those last 20 seconds; you don’t need to count the reps.
Method 3 — Hardcore HIIT
The pace for all you beasts out there — when you’re experienced with all the exercises and you need a workout as hard as possible.
The method is simple. Perform each exercise as fast as you can, as explosively as you can and do as many reps as you can muster within the minute. No breaks within the minute allowed and up to 30 seconds break between exercises.
This method is only for the highly experienced. Trying it when you’re not used to the intensity or movements is a recipe for injury, so please, don’t push yourself too hard. If you like the workout, start with method 1 first and work up to this level.
Rest Times & Safety
Make sure you get at least 5–10 seconds rest between exercises, but try not to get more than 30 seconds between them if you want to get the most out of the workout. If you do need more than 30 seconds, though, it’s fine, do what’s most comfortable for you.
It’s perfectly fine if this workout takes you more than 10 minutes. It can take 20 or 30 minutes if you like — do what’s comfortable and work at your own pace, especially if you’re a beginner or aren’t familiar with the moves.
It’s also an idea to consult a fitness professional before embarking on any new workout to make sure you’re safe and it’s a good fit for your body.
Always maintain good form at all times. Never sacrifice the form of your movement to try and squeeze one last rep in. Only push to the level of intensity which you’re comfortable at, don’t compare your fitness to anyone else’s — everyone’s different. If you feel dizzy or sick at any point stop and catch your breath until you feel better. If you continue to feel sick or dizzy, stop.
So there you have it, the 10-minute workout you can do anywhere. All you need is yourself and the ground (and maybe a watch). Consistency is key; to get fit you have to keep at it. Doing a workout like this even 3 times a week will help you get fitter, 5–6 times and you’ll notice a change within a month. Exercising regularly can thus improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
Daily physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease. So, if you want to be a hit in life, you gotta be fit and fine. Happy workouts!