Blog Micro Exercise Can Micro Workouts Build Muscle? How Mini Exercises Can Change Your Body

Can Micro Workouts Build Muscle? How Mini Exercises Can Change Your Body

Because of their busy lives, either due to work, school, or parenthood, it is becoming increasingly difficult for normal people with normal schedules to find the time to exercise. The physical and mental stress from everyday life has become so much that even finding an extra 30 minutes a day to exercise can be a challenge.

However, what if we told you that you don’t need to do a continuous 30, 60, or even 90-minute workout to build muscle or lose weight? And what if we said that small 2, 5, or even 10-minute workouts throughout the day could be the miracle you’ve been wishing for?

Micro workouts to build muscle at home are an upcoming trend that promises to help the average person build muscle without the need to convert into a gym rat. However, is there any scientific backing to this? Can micro workouts build muscle or is this another ‘quick fix’ fad?

Read on to find out!

What Is a Micro Workouts to Build Muscle Plan?

Firstly, what are micro workouts? They’re short and intense workouts that can be performed anywhere and at any time of the day. As long as you have some space around you, you’re ready to go.

Unlike regular exercises that may require a lot of time and a medium to large amount of space to accomplish, micro workouts are the opposite, which makes them the perfect replacement or supplement for someone who has a busy schedule and limited space.

The duration of a micro workout varies – some sources claim that you can do a simple workout in as little as 30 seconds to 2 minutes, while other sources claim that you should dedicate about 5 to 10 minutes to micro workouts throughout the day.

With this in mind, we can see that micro workout plans to build muscle are plans that outline a list of exercises for you to perform – for anywhere between 30 seconds and 10 minutes – throughout the day. It’s important to remember that micro workouts are just regular exercises that are done in short bursts (generally 10 minutes or less) rather than one long session.

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Can You Build Muscle with Micro Workouts?

Yes, you can. You don’t need to spend 40 or even up to 90 minutes at the gym to see muscle gains.

Micro workouts to build muscle for men and women will help you achieve an increase in muscular strength and size. This type of workout can even help you achieve your weight loss goals, which has been researched by the following scientific studies:

1. An older study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2001 found that weight loss was similar in a group that used short workout bouts to lose weight as it was in a group that used longer workout bouts to lose weight. In the study, researchers recruited overweight female college students and divided them into 4 groups (3):

    1. A non-exercising control group
    2. A 30-minute continuous exercise group – this group exercised for 12 weeks
    3. A 30-minute accumulated exercise group, i.e. twice a day for 15 minutes per workout session – this group worked out for 10 weeks
    4. Another 30-minute accumulated exercise group, i.e. 3 times a day for 10 minutes per session – this group exercised for just 8 weeks

All participants were put on a calorie deficit diet of 80% of their resting energy expenditure.

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At the end of the study, researchers found that participants in groups b, c, and d increased their maximal oxygen consumption during exercises, but their weight, body mass index, sum of skinfolds, and sum of circumferences all decreased significantly. This proves that when combined with a calorie deficit, micro workouts can provide excellent weight loss results.

micro workouts build muscle  

2. In another study published in the BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine journal, researchers found that exercise regimens that lasted less than 10 minutes were just as good as sessions lasting for 30 to 60 minutes in terms of improving body composition.

In the study, 53 healthy older adults were divided into 2 gender-based groups. The short duration participants jogged three times a day for 5 to 10 minutes, while the longer duration groups did the same, but for 30 to 60 minutes. All participants exercised for a total of 24 weeks.

At the end of the study, researchers saw that the body fat percentage, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio had all significantly decreased (2).

3. In January 2019, a study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise proved the theory that micro workouts can build muscle to be true. In the study, 34 healthy resistance-trained men were divided into 3 groups:

    1. Low-volume group performing one set per exercise per training session
    2. Moderate-volume group performing three sets per exercise per training session
    3. A high-volume group performing five sets per exercise per training session 

All participants worked out for 13 minutes a day, 3 times a week for 8 weeks.

At the end of the study, researchers found that all the study participants showed increases in strength and endurance, with no significant differences between groups. The researchers also stated that these improvements witnessed were similar to those achieved with a substantially greater time commitment (6). 

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These three examples clearly show that micro workouts can help you lose weight and grow and strengthen your muscles, regardless of age.

Read more: Do Micro Workouts Work? Exploring the Effectiveness of Short Bursts of Exercise

Is It Better to Exercise All at Once or Break It Up?

When it comes to the question of “which is better: micro workouts or long workouts?” the answer is that it is dependent on preference. The majority of the population usually perform long continuous workouts as this is the norm. It’s what we’re accustomed to seeing and what we find ourselves doing as a result.

However, as evidenced above, micro workouts can help you lose weight and even give you muscle gains and strength in a similar capacity as longer workout sessions (3, 6). Research on the effect of training frequency on muscle thickness also shows that working a muscle group more often and using the same movements can lead to increased muscle mass (4).

The benefits of micro workouts also extend beyond increasing muscles. In a study that was published in the European Heart Journal, researchers stated that just 15 to 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per week was associated with a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and cancer (8).

15 to 20 minutes may be a tad more than the average length of many micro workouts, but it’s less than the CDC-advised length of 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week and when split up, it’s the perfect length (5). 

It can safely be assumed that doing micro workouts every hour till you average 20 to 30 minutes of workouts a day (or even more) could have the same health benefits.

micro workouts build muscle  

Which Exercise Builds the Most Muscle?

I hate to break it to you, but there isn’t just one exercise that will help you build all the muscle. Building muscle throughout the body takes the effort of multiple exercises. So which type of workout can help you build the most muscle?

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The answer is compound exercises. For those who aren’t familiar with this term, compound exercises are the type of exercises that use several muscle groups collaboratively and use multiple joints to perform a movement. 

Research has shown that unlike single-muscle or single-joint exercises, compound joint/muscle movements work best for increasing muscle strength and maximal oxygen consumption (7). A good example is the squat. Squats are mainly known as a butt or quad exercise, depending on who you ask.

However, they’re much more than this. A single squat movement uses multiple muscles in the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and glutes, in addition to engaging the core and lower back.

As well as multiple muscle involvement, compound movements also save time. Because you’re working multiple muscles at the same time, you don’t have to spend hours exercising your entire body.

Combining your micro workouts to build muscle with compound exercise movements will help with the gains and also work perfectly with your goal to be more active and save time.

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The Best Micro Workouts for Building Muscle

Some of the best compound exercises you can add to your micro workouts to build muscle include:

  • Squats – As mentioned above, they work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core.
  • Floor press – The at-home variation of the bench press works your pecs, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Deadlift – Without a barbell or free weights, you can use resistance bands or heavy bottles of water. The deadlift works your hamstrings, glutes, lower back, lats, traps, and core.
  • Lunges – They come in multiple variations and like squats, they work your quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and core.
  • Push-ups and planks – They’re great upper-body and full-body workouts that target the deltoids, triceps, pecs, and core.
  • Bent over row – This works your lats, traps, rhomboids, rear delts, and biceps.
  • Donkey kick and glute bridges – These exercises provide you with a great ab and butt workout as they mostly target the glutes, but also work the core too.
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Do 5-Minute Workouts Really Work?

A single 5-minute workout over 24 hours may not do much for either weight loss or muscle gains, but as evidenced above, multiple short workouts can be just as effective as longer workouts.

If you choose the option of shorter split workouts, performing the exercise at a high intensity may be better than opting for low-intensity workouts. Exercising at a higher intensity means more calorie burn and works the muscles at a higher rate than lower intensity exercises.

Do Muscles Grow on Rest Days?

Yes, they do. Working out breaks down muscle fibers. Rest and high protein intake help the muscles repair and rebuild themselves, which allows them to grow bigger and stronger.

Read more: Micro Exercise Tips, Types, and Workout Plans for Anyone to Use Anywhere

micro workouts build muscle  


  • Should I go on a 5-day liquid diet when doing micro workouts to build muscle?

No, you should not. Unless requested by a doctor as a means of managing medical issues, you shouldn’t go on a liquid diet.

Such a diet may be too low in calories and lacking in certain important nutrients. This could lead to side effects such as dizziness, light-headedness, a lack of satiety, low blood sugar, and muscle loss.

Liquid diets may also lack protein, which as explained above, is one of the cornerstones of muscle growth (1).

  • Are micro workouts effective?

Yes, micro workouts are effective for both weight loss and muscle growth.

  • How many micro exercises should I perform per day?

It depends on how many cumulative minutes you want to work out in a day and how many minutes you want to work out per burst. For example, a person who wants to exercise for 30 minutes a day using micro workouts may opt for:

  1. Three 10-minute workouts
  2. Two 15-minute workout sessions
  3. 15 2-minute exercise sessions
  4. Six 5-minute sessions
  • Can you build muscle with 10-minute workouts?

Yes, you can, but only if you perform several 10-minute workouts per day. Just one 10-minute workout per day may not work as well as doing three workouts per day

The Bottom Line

Can micro workouts build muscle? Yes, they can. Shorter duration workouts that are performed multiple times throughout the day can help build muscle in the same way as longer duration and continuous workouts. This makes them ideal for those who have busier schedules and a goal of having a leaner physique.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Dose–response relationship between protein intake and muscle mass increase: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (2021,
  2. Effect of moderate-intensity exercise bouts lasting <10 minutes on body composition in sedentary Kenyan adults aged ≥50 years (2018,
  3. Effects of long versus short bout exercise on fitness and weight loss in overweight females (2001,
  4. High Resistance-Training Frequency Enhances Muscle Thickness in Resistance-Trained Men (2019,
  5. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022,
  6. Resistance Training Volume Enhances Muscle Hypertrophy but Not Strength in Trained Men (2019,
  7. Resistance Training with Single vs. Multi-joint Exercises at Equal Total Load Volume: Effects on Body Composition, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Muscle Strength (2017,
  8. Vigorous physical activity, incident heart disease, and cancer: how little is enough? (2022,