Even when you’re low on time, you can still get an intense, full workout by utilizing micro workouts. Before getting into examples, it’s important to know how this almost-too-convenient concept works.

HIIT – A Primer

In order to cover micro workouts, we’ve first got to talk about HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training. The idea is that short bursts of high-intensity actions are as taxing as longer, less aggressive routines—like jogging.

HIIT is a deeply researched idea, and the the science suggests that it can activate your body the same way a longer workout would in a third of the time, by pushing you harder than you normally would in a longer workout.

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The 10-Minute Micro Workout

This routine good for your lunch break, or when you’re just getting home from work and need to fit a quick workout in before the next task.

  • Take two minutes to warm up. Jogging, dynamic stretching, getting into your body.
  • Intense run for 20 seconds. Go at 90% of your maximum speed.
  • 2 minute break.
  • Repeat for 3 sets.
  • That’s it! Take a breather, get some water, and go on with your day.

The 7-Minute Micro Workout

A more comprehensive and dynamic routine,  this one is good for exercise-friendly offices. It’s essentially a compact version of bodyweight circuit training. Here’s how it goes.

Note: all intervals are 30 seconds of exercise, 10 seconds of rest. Do as many as you can.

  • Jumping jacks
  • Wall sits
  • Push-ups
  • Crunches
  • Chair step-ups
  • Body weight squats
  • Tricep dips on a chair
  • Planks
  • High knee running in place
  • Lunges
  • Side planks, each side
  • Lay on your back for a while and let your breath catch up to you.

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The 4-Minute Micro Workout

This one is extremely straightforward, but is also exhausting.  If you can handle doing four minutes straight of all-out running, swimming, biking or stair climbing, this is all you need.

A study from the journal PLoS One fond that running on a treadmill at 90 percent of maximum heart rate for four minutes, three times a week, improved participants overall health.

It’s very simple, pick your cardiovascular exercise—sprinting, swimming, up-downs, etc.— and GO AFTER IT for four-straight minutes. You’ll be surprised at how challenging it proves to be.