Micro Workouts

Eugene Adams


How much of the day do you spend sitting?

If you are over the age of 11, there is a good chance that you spend the majority of your day sedentary. That includes a great deal of time sitting, which is terrible for your health.

Most people know this. The problem is that knowing and doing are two different things.

In theory, the solution is simple, move more.

However, it isn’t easy in practice since most of us have jobs and responsibilities that require our time and attention. Sometimes when people say they are too busy to workout, they are right.

However, micro workouts are one of the possible solutions to this problem.

What is a Micro Workout?

A micro workout is shorter than your typical workout, usually 5–15 minutes. No two-hour long sweat sessions that some people hate. Also, no more needing to find time to squeeze in a workout. We all have 5-15 minutes at a time.

Micro workouts can also be tailored around whatever equipment you have to work with, or, as is usually the case, no equipment at all.

This type of workout can be done multiple times per day in place of, or in addition to, more traditional workouts.

2 Big Benefits of Micro Workouts

1)They are much easier to fit into a busy day.

Finding 60 uninterrupted minutes to workout can be a challenge for a busy adult. However, most people can find between 5 and 15 minutes at a time.

I can't find the time is no longer a valid excuse to ignore your health.

2) They give you mental breaks throughout the day.

Do you ever find yourself losing focus at work? Most of us do. We can only stay focused on a single task for so long before our brain starts to wander.

It can be as simple as doing one any time your brain starts to wander at work.

This accomplishes two things; you add more movement to your day, which will help you refocus and be more productive at work.

How To Plan a Micro Workout

1) Choose your call to action

The first thing you need to decide is when exactly you will do these workouts. There are endless ways to do this, but some common ones are, before every meal, every hour on the hour, during every commercial break, or every X amount of hours (every two hours, for example).

Having a consistent call to action will turn it into a habit very quickly. Turning something into a habit is important because it makes it easier. Habits don't take will power. They just happen automatically. The sooner micro workouts become a habit, the easier they will be.

2) Choose the exercises

The exercises will depend on several things. Do you have any equipment? How much space do you have? What kind of exercises do you like?

There are no hard rules here but do try to hit every muscle group relatively evenly. This does not have to be precise. Just avoid any huge discrepancies. Ex. 250 pushups with 0 reps of something for back.

Some of my favorite exercises to use are Pushups, Pullups, Goblet Squats, Air Squats, KB Swings, Band Pull Aparts, Planks, Side Planks, Lunge Variations, Burpees, Shoulder Taps, Bear Crawls, and Stairs (walking).

Note: If there are any exercises that you absolutely hate, don't do them. There is no reason to make your workouts harder by adding exercises you truly hate.

3)Sets, reps, and rest

There are no hard and fast rules here, but I usually try to do 2–3 exercises at a time for 5–8 reps for 3–4 rounds. With a 60–90 second rest between rounds.

Adjust the reps, rounds, and rest to fit your current fitness level.

Note: As with most things exercise-related, it is best to start small and build your way up. These workouts should not make you overly sore. So start slow and build the intensity as you go.

Micro Workout Example

Here is an example that I did last week.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, I did 3 rounds total. Also, there is no rest between individual exercises, but I rested 60 seconds between each round.

8:00 AM

Pushups x 10

Pullups (I have a pullup bar at home) x 5

Air Squats x 15

10:00 AM

Plank x 30 Seconds

Forward Lunges x16 ( 8 each leg)

Burpees x 10

12:00 PM

Pushups x 10

Air Squats x 15

Shoulder Taps x 16 (8 each shoulder)

2:00 PM

Walk up and down the stairs (In my office building)

I walked up and down the same flight of stairs continuously for 5 minutes.

4:00 PM

Side planks x 25 Seconds (each side)

Planks x 30 Seconds

7:00 PM

Pull-ups X 5

Burpees X 10

Bear Crawls (Forward and back for 30 seconds)

Part of a Bigger Workout Plan

It is worth mentioning that I do micro workouts as part of my overall fitness plan. I also lift weights 2 times a week and do cardio once a week.

If you recently started working out, micro workouts are a great starting point. They allow you to workout in manageable chunks instead of overwhelming yourself by doing too much too soon.

If you have been working out for a while, these workouts can be an excellent way to make sure you are moving enough during the day, between workouts, or on your off days.

Micro workouts can also be fun for the whole family. Try having your spouse and or kids join in. Make it a game, and it won't feel like working out. Including your family can also help you hold yourself accountable.

Final Thoughts

Give it a try and see if you like it. If it’s too advanced, try setting a timer to walk or stretch every hour.

Micro workouts are completely flexible. You can adjust them to fit your life, not the other way around. At the end of the day, anything to get your body moving more often is a good thing.

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Certified Personal Trainer | Certified ESL Teacher |I mostly write about all things Southern California, but I also cover national topics.

Fontana, CA

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