Can You Really Get a Solid Workout in 10 Minutes?

We ask an expert whether you actually need to spend hours in the gym to see a benefit.


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Recent studies suggest that a short and intense workout — even one just 10 minutes long — can be similar to a much longer session in promoting overall health. Luke Guanzon, owner and founder of Refinery Strength and Conditioning in Harrison, says the answer is a bit more complicated.

“A ten minute vigorous workout can deliver [similar] results to a longer one, but not the same results,” says Guanzon. “Short and intense workouts will work a higher percentage of your heart rate. This will help with your anaerobic capacity but not aerobic, which improves your VO2 max and aids in burning calories. So, HIIT workouts may not be as effective in a fat-burning program.”

According to Guanzon, an effective HIIT workout will usually include compound movements that work more than just one body part, such as a squat leading to an overhead press. “[A brief workout] must utilize multi-joint movements,” says Guanzon. “It must also include short rest periods with longer work periods. Such as a Tabata drill which is a one-to-one work-to-rest ratio.” For instance, a person might alternate between an all-out sprint for thirty seconds and then rest for thirty seconds.

For those with a little more time on their hands, Guanzon feels the minimum time for a workout including stretching and a cool down should clock in at just over 25 minutes. He feels longer workouts should also afford longer rest periods and more focus on individual muscle groups. However, what constitutes the workout “all depends on the ultimate goal of the client and current physical shape,” says Guanzon.

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