When it comes to cooking, I’m a “no more than four ingredients and three steps puh-lease!” kinda girl, so I totally get the obsession with 5-10 minute workouts.

I mean, what’s not to love? Get fit. In ten minutes a day. Body becomes awesome. Health is sorted. Can now eat chocolate guilt-free. It’s perfect, right?

However, like most things in life, it’s not quite that simple. And depending on your goals, you may need more than ten minutes a day to reach them, at least for a few of your weekly workouts.

The good news is, there are definitely huge benefits to getting your sweat on in ten minute workout bursts. There are also a few tricks you can use to make sure that if a cheeky ten is all the time you have, you’re using every last second of it to maximise results.

How to Make a Ten Minute Workout Work for You

If you’re new to exercise

Let’s start by talking to the workout rookies out there. If you’re just starting out, or find it difficult to stick to a routine with your workouts, the ten-minute session is about to become your new best friend.

I have a little plan I like the call the 10 x 10. The basic concept is that you do a ten minute workout, at home, every single day, for a total of ten days.

You might start to see some cool little changes to your body in that time, but it’s the big leaps and shifts that happen in your mind I’m more interested in.

Not sure when to stretch? We’re here to help. See What Works Best – Stretching Before or After a Workout for some advice

Fit man doing a plank - ten minute workout

First up, by the end of the ten days you will have set a new habit that gives you a perky little mood boost every morning (or night).

You’ll also start to feel stronger, begin to enjoy the space you’ve created in your schedule just for you and hopefully get hooked on those feel-good endorphins that come from breaking a sweat.

Before you know it, you’ll naturally start increasing your workout time to 15 minutes, then 20… and now we’re really talking.

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At the start of your fitness journey, it’s all about creating consistency. Short sessions using only your bodyweight, or a few simple resistance tools are the best for this – so you don’t even have to leave your bedroom to get it done.

Check out our piece on the Best Cardio Exercises (Aerobic Workouts You Can Do At Home) for some exercise inspiration

If you’re an exercise pro

For the more experienced exercisers out there, ten-minute high intensity bouts make amazing finishers to add to the end of your regular workouts.

If performed at the right intensity, a 5-10 minute finisher will supercharge the amount of calories burned during your workout, help fast-track your fitness and make sure your body keeps torching fat for hours after you stop sweating.

But all said and done, do I believe you can really get fit with just a ten minute workout a day?

Such a small time investment might not turn you into a cardio weapon, or a ripped weight lifting guru, but it can certainly help you get a kick start on your fitness journey. And if nothing else, sneaking in a mini workout or stretch session in the middle of an otherwise sedentary day just makes you feel a whole lot better about life – it can:

  • Lift a grumpy mood
  • Boost blood flow to your brain and increase focus
  • Release stiff muscles
  • Get the happy hormones flowing.

And let’s be honest, if you’re only exercising to lose weight, you’re missing all the best benefits. Finding your own joy in movement will help you keep coming back again and again, until a short but sweet ten minute workout session becomes a 45-minute hit-out that you can’t live without.

Want to know more about CrossFit? Our post – What is CrossFit? Is it the Workout for You? may have the answers you’re looking for

Fit woman working out - ten minute workout

So start small and build up slowly, listen to your body and if you’ve hit a fitness slump, whip out my 10 x 10 challenge! You don’t have to go hard or hit particular goals, just stay consistent every single day and set the right habits.

When you’re ready to really ramp up results, add in at least 2-3 longer sessions per week, and increase the intensity of your shorter workouts – I’m talking 85-95% of your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), which basically means you should be working hard enough that you can’t really get more than a few words out if you were to try and talk.

So what are you waiting for? Drop down and give me 10!

Getting going is 75% of the problem. Our article, 3 Quick Tips For Improving Motivation should get you moving

Need a few ideas? Here are a couple of ten minute workouts to try at home, or at the end of your next run or gym session:

WORKOUT #1 – Turbo Tabata

Choose 4 exercises that really challenge you. Do each of them for 20 seconds at maximum intensity, resting for 10s between each one. Now repeat the circuit 5 times through. Example combo: lunge jumps, squats, chest-to-floor burpees, compound crunches or high knee runs.

WORKOUT #2 – Peak Training

For this ten minute workout, you’ll need to pick one exercise that’s high intensity and totally exhausts you, plus one that’s of moderate intensity. Good examples might be burpees, sprints, or squat jumps for the intense exercise, then something like skipping, jogging, bicycle crunches, or walking lunges for the moderate intensity option.

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After a good warm-up, do the high intensity exercise for 30s non-stop, at maximum pace. Next, go straight into the moderate intensity exercise for 60s, really easing off the pace. Do four full rounds of 30:60, then for the final 60s of your ten-minute workout, alternate between doing 10 high knees on the spot and 10 mountain climbers, as quickly as you can for the full 60s. It’s a pretty wicked little finisher!

WORKOUT #3 – Countdown to Success

Choose 2 exercises, for example squat jumps and push-ups. Complete 10 repetitions of each exercise, then 8 of each, then 6/4 and finally 2 reps of each exercise. Have a quick breather, then choose two new exercises and start again from 10 reps! Keep choosing new exercise pairs until your ten minute workout is is up. Some of my favourite combos are: lunge jumps & star jumps, burpees and compound crunches, high knees and mountain climbers, squat jumps and bicycle crunches, drop squats and skips (I add a zero to the end of the rep count for skips, e.g 10 becomes 100 and 8 becomes 80!)

And whilst you’re looking at your fitness levels, why not tweak your diet as well? Our 5 Ways to Enjoy Healthier BBQs is a good place to start

Remember. Getting into better shape doesn’t have to mean a personal trainer and an expensive gym membership. Start off gently with a ten minute workout and build up to a longer, more challenging exercise regime. And maybe you’ll end up wanting that trainer and gym locker after all.