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7 Of The Best 10-Minute Workouts

by Rob and Edy

If you think you need to write off an hour or more of your time during the day in order to stay in shape, you might want to have a re-think.

Because it seems you don’t. There’s been growing evidence that 10-minute high intensity bursts of exercise can be just as beneficial as spending hours sweating it out in the gym.

And that’s good news because the most common excuse for not exercising is “I don’t have time.”

But if you only need to find a ten-minute time slot, all of a sudden, the no-time excuse looks a little weak.

Ok, if you want to get picky, you’ve probably still got to get changed, warm up a little and possibly take a quick shower afterwards.

But knowing that a ten-minute effort is worth the time, all of a sudden, the prospect of staying in shape when you have busy schedule becomes a lot more viable.

So, let’s drop the excuses for not exercising and move on!

As I said, experts have found that shorter, intense workouts of 10 minutes a couple of times a day can be just as effective as longer workouts.

The popularity and success of Tabata (which I know nobody ever really does properly, but maybe I’ll cover that another time) and HIIT workouts has shown that you really don’t need to spending long periods pounding away on the treadmill or going through the boredom of pedalling away for hours on a static bike to keep in shape.

The key, though, to the shorter workouts is intensity.

A 10-minute walk with dog is probably not gonna cut it, but if you are new to exercise, that would be a great starting point at least. Any movement is better than none at all.

You can add intensity to both high-impact (running, rope jumping, plyometrics, etc.) and low impact workouts (think: swimming, yoga, aerobics, rowing, etc.) – it’s simply about getting that heart rate up into the higher ranges.

This is generally done focussing on the major muscle groups or more than one muscle group and to increase your range of motion as much as possible.

Think about a press up (or push up, to my American buddies).

It’s a great exercise, but the focus is on quite a limited range of movement and muscles. It’s not easy to reach high numbers of repetitions and I can guarantee that your muscles will give in way before you’re heart is pounding and you’re out of breath.

Now, throw in a squat thrust and a jump to turn the exercise into a burpee and you’re in a whole new world of exercise possibility. This creates the intensity.

We’ve collated seven of the best ten-minute workouts, so you don’t have to waste time looking for them yourself. These offer a good mix of cardio and strength exercises to optimize your time. If you’re counting calories, you should burn a good 100 calories or so for each workout, but it might be a bit more or less, dependent on your age, weight, body composition, metabolism and the intensity level.

And if you are trying to lose weight, check out this post for some awesome tips.

A note of caution: these workouts are designed for people who already have a decent level of fitness and want to stay in shape. They get intense pretty quickly, so you should spend 5 minutes beforehand warming up and stretching to avoid injury. Remember also to walk or jog for 5 minutes afterwards to cool down and stretch well afterwards too. Your body will thank you for it in the morning!

Lastly, if you are not used to intense exercise, you should not attempt these workouts without first consulting a physician.

1. The 10-Minute Cardio Blast

To get the most out of 10-minute workouts, you’ll need to work harder. Make sure you’re warmed up before high impact exercise and do each exercise as hard and fast as you can, keeping good form.  Try these exercises for a ten-minute cardio blast.

  • 1 minute – Brisk walking or marching on the spot
  • 1 minute – Light jogging on the spot
  • 1 minute – Jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds – Step ups (left leg leading)
  • 30 seconds – Jogging on the spot
  • 30 seconds – Steps ups (right leg leading)
  • 30 seconds – Marching on the spot
  • 30 seconds – Burpees
  • 30 seconds – Tuck jumps
  • 30 seconds – Marching on the spot
  • 30 seconds – Burpees
  • 30 seconds – Marching on the spot
  • 30 seconds – Jogging on the spot
  • 1 minute – Single leg squat thrusts
  • 1 minute – Walk around to cool down
Jump rope

2. The 10-Minute Rope Jumping Circuit

Jumping rope is a hugely under-used exercise, but it is an awesome way to burn more calories. If you’re new to this, you may find it difficult to jump rope continuously for any length of time, but you will quickly improve with practice. What I love about rope jumping is that it is not just a great cardio exercise, but also good for agility, strength and proprioception.

If you are new to rope jumping, check out the article here on how to do the different techniques.

Related ~ Ultimate Fat-Burning Workouts: Rope Jumping

The are so many workouts you can do with a jump rope, but for an intense 10-minute workout, intervals are good. Try a session like this one:

  • 1 minute – Brisk walk or march in place to warm up
  • 1 minute – Jump rope side to side slowly to warm up
  • 30 seconds – Fast with high knees
  • 30 seconds – Side to side slowly (recovery)
  • 30 seconds – Fast two-footed
  • 30 seconds – Side to side slowly (recovery)
  • 30 seconds – Fast with alternate feet
  • 30 seconds – Side to side slowly (recovery)
  • 30 seconds – Fast with high knees
  • 30 seconds – Side to side slowly (recovery)
  • 1 minute – Fast as you can two-footed
  • 1 minute – Side to side slowly (recovery)
  • 1 minute – Fast as you can high knees
  • 1 minute – Walk around to cool down

3. The 10-Minute Shuttle Sprint Workout

Running burns calories and, if you only have 10 minutes, you can burn more calories by running faster, i.e sprinting. This workout includes short bursts of speed and mixes in some body weight resistance exercises designed to keep the intensity high. I used to do a very intensive version of this when I was a competitive runner, but this scaled down version does the job for an intensive 10-minute workout.

This is ideally done on a running track, but any flat area or park works fine too. For the main efforts, you will need a stretch of approximately 100 metres to run on. Mark out points at around 30m, 60m and 90m. You’re going to be sprinting to these different points.

  • 1 minute – Brisk walking or jogging
  • 1 minute – Start with a light jog to get your body even more warmed up
  • Sprint to the first point and then do 10 press ups
  • Jog/walk back to the start and then immediately turn around and sprint to the second 60m point and do 10 press ups
  • Jog/walk back to the start and then immediately turn around and sprint to the third 90m point and do 10 press ups
  • Jog/walk back to the starting point, then turn around and sprint to the 60m point and do 10 press ups
  • Jog/walk back to the start and then immediately turn around and sprint to the first 30m point and do another 10 press ups
  • Repeat the cycle a for a second time.
  • 1 minute – Slow Jog
  • 1 minute – Walk to cool down

Related ~ How To Run Faster: Pro-Tips That Really Work

4. The 10-Minute Low Impact Workout

If you’re carrying an injury or you prefer to avoid high-impact exercises, you can still get a good intensive 10-minute workout using low-impact exercises. Try some of these moves below as an alternative. Remember to go as quickly as you can and use the biggest range of motion and exaggerated movements that you can in order to burn the maximum amount of calories. You can do this with or without light weights.

  • 1 minute – Standing alternate toe touches to warm up
  • 1 minute – Squats
  • 1 minute – Tricep Dips – Squat and touch the medicine ball to the floor, stand up and sweep the weight overhead
  • 1 minute – Shadow boxing drills, e.g. 1-2-3-4 (Jab, cross, roundhouse, uppercut). Here’s an example of the type of drill if you are unsure. Hold light weights if required
  • 1 minute – Bicycle crunches
  • 1 minute – Low-Impact Jumping Jacks – Step the right foot out to the side and swing the right arm up and overhead.  Switch to the left and repeat
  • 1 minute – Hindu push ups. Not many people know this exercise, so check it out here and love the dramatic backing music 🙂
  • 1 minute – Alternating side lunge – Push off the right foot as you step out with the left foot as wide as you can, arms wide. Step left foot in and then repeat to the other side.
  • 1 minute – Twisting pistons – Bring the left knee up to the side while bringing the elbow down towards the knee. Take the left foot down and shift the weight into the left leg while kicking out to the side. 30 seconds on the right and then left
  • 1 minute – Bear Crawls – Squat to the floor and walk the hands out into a plank.  Do a push up (optional), walk the hands back and stand up
  • 1 minute – Walk around to cool down

5. The 10-Minute Dumbell Circuit Workout

Training exercises with dumbells can burn some serious calories when done in the form of a circuit.
I’m going to send you straight over to a video by celebrity personal trainer and fitness instructor, Mike Donavanik, because he does one that is spot on.

10-Minute Full Body Dumbell HIIT Workout

His excellent routine is as follows:

  • Tackling Squat to Press
  • Drop Squat to Biceps Curl
  • Muscle Jacks (BURNOUT: Squat Jack)
  • Renegade Rows
  • Jacked Climbers w/ Row to Press
  • Criss-Cross Pop-Ups
  • Overhead Triceps Extensions
  • Side Lunge + Row (right side)
  • Side Lunge + Row (left side)
  • Sprinter Push-Ups

6. The 10-Minute Body Weight Workout

If you have no equipment available, you can still get a great workout using just your own bodyweight as resistance. You’ll need to work as hard as you can for each exercise to make this work well.  Try doing each exercise for 30-60 seconds and moving as quickly as you can with good, solid form. Don’t sacrifice form for speed!

Step running

7. The 10-Minute Step Interval Session

This is the kind of session that pro runners use in their training schedules and you can read more about that here.

For this one, you’ll need access to a good length of steps. This might be in a park or more likely, a stadium. Ideally you need a stretch of steps of at least 20m, but if it is a bit less than that, it doesn’t matter.

All you are going to do is run up the steps as fast as you can, jog/walk back down again and repeat. For 10 minutes! I used to do this up and down the seating sections of our local stadium all the way around. Once you know how far you can get in 10 minutes, you then have a target to beat next time.


And that’s 7 of the best 10-minute workouts! Let us know how you get on with those!

Do you have any great 10-minute workouts you can recommend? We’d love to hear what you do to get in your weekly workouts.

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These 10-minute workouts will change the way you exercise.
These 10-minute workouts will change the way you exercise.
These 10-minute workouts will change the way you exercise.
These 10-minute workouts will change the way you exercise.
These 10-minute workouts will change the way you exercise.
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