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How 10-Minute Micro Workouts Can Improve Your Fitness?

Time is one of the biggest barriers to maintaining a regular exercise regime. For some, long work hours leave little room for gym sessions, while others may find family responsibilities dominate their daylight hours. And even those who have chunks of free time may struggle with a lack of motivation for lengthy workouts.

Micro workouts are the seemingly modest answer to these widespread issues. These short, focused bouts of exercise can be seamlessly interwoven into a busy day.

By squeezing in just 10 minutes of high-intensity training, you’re not only combating sedentary tendencies but boosting your metabolism and improving your overall health.

Here’s everything you need to know about how these micro workouts can transform your fitness journey with minimal time investment.

What Are Micro Workouts?

Micro workouts, also known as mini workouts, are short bursts of exercise that last between 5 to 10 minutes. They are designed to be quick and highly efficient, targeting specific muscle groups or movements.

Unlike traditional workout routines that require a set time commitment, micro workouts can be incorporated into your daily activities with ease. You can do them while waiting for the coffee to brew, during commercial breaks while watching TV, or even during your lunch break at work.

You can do micro workouts with weights, or simply use your body weight for resistance training. You can even incorporate exercises that use your desk or chair as props for a quick and discreet workout at the office.

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What Are The Types of Micro Exercise?

Micro exercises can be grouped into 4 categories, based on the type of movement or exercise they involve. These categories are:

  1. Endurance exercises
  2. Strength and resistance exercises
  3. Flexibility exercises
  4. Balance exercises


Endurance micro exercises are designed to strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular system. They typically involve repetitive movements for a sustained period of time, pushing your body to work harder and improve its endurance (4).

Examples of endurance micro exercises include:


Strength micro exercises focus on building and strengthening your muscles. These exercises use resistance to challenge your muscles and encourage them to grow stronger.

Micro workouts for men commonly feature more strength exercises, but women can benefit from these exercises as well.

Examples of strength micro exercises include:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Bicep curls with weights
  • Plank shoulder taps



Flexibility micro exercises increase the range of motion in your joints and help improve your overall flexibility. These exercises often involve stretching and holding poses to increase muscle elasticity (15). 

Micro workouts for women may include more flexibility exercises, but these exercises are beneficial for all individuals.

Examples of flexibility micro exercises include:

  • Yoga poses
  • Hip rotations
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Seated spinal twists
  • Calf raises with a stretch at the top


Balance micro exercises challenge your muscle and joint stability and core strength. They can also improve coordination, and posture, and help prevent falls.

Examples of balance micro exercises include:

  • Single leg stands
  • Side planks
  • Balance board exercises
  • Heel-to-toe walk
  • Chair yoga poses

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

Are Micro Workouts Throughout The Day Effective?

Yes; moving throughout the day, no matter how short the bouts of exercise are, can be incredibly beneficial for your health. 

In fact, research has shown that breaking up prolonged sitting time with brief periods of light activity improves glycemic control in individuals with diabetes (2).

More specifically, micro workout exercises can offer the following benefits (1) (16):

Muscle Activation

Micro workouts can activate your muscles and prevent muscle atrophy, which is the loss of muscle mass due to inactivity. These short bursts of exercise help keep your muscles engaged and working throughout the day.

Muscle Growth

Research suggests that increasing the frequency of brief workouts can be more beneficial for muscle growth than longer, less frequent workouts in untrained individuals (6). By regularly engaging in micro exercises, you can stimulate your muscles to grow and become stronger.

In addition, by hitting each muscle group after a few hours of “rest,” you’ll exert yourself more. This may help optimize muscle growth and achieve better results in a shorter amount of time.

Improved Focus and Productivity

Taking short breaks throughout the day to do micro workouts can improve your focus and productivity. Exercise has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, which helps sharpen your mental function (3).

Enhanced Mood

Exercise is known to release endorphins, also known as the “feel-good” hormones (5). Taking a few minutes throughout the day for micro workouts should boost your mood and decrease stress levels.

Increased Metabolism

Micro workouts can increase your metabolism, which is the rate at which your body burns calories. By incorporating short bouts of exercise into your day, you can keep your metabolism elevated and burn more calories throughout the day. 

Using micro workouts for weight loss, along with a healthy diet, can be an effective weight management strategy.

Better Blood Sugar Control

When your blood sugar levels are high, your body may not respond well to insulin, leading to type 2 diabetes. Research shows that an active lifestyle helps control blood sugar levels (11), and micro workouts can contribute to this.

A workout before or after meals may improve your body’s response to insulin and help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Bouts of exercise throughout the day can also reduce periods of high blood sugar after meals.

Better Overall Health

The cumulative effect of micro workouts throughout the day can lead to better overall health (13).

Regularly engaging in physical activity, even if it’s just 5-10 minutes at a time, improves cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, and increases overall energy levels (12).

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Can You Build Muscle With Micro Workouts?

Micro workouts can help build muscle when done frequently, and consistently, in the same way that traditional workouts can.

A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, compared the outcomes of a split training, where muscle groups were trained once per week in a full-body training regimen where muscle groups were trained five times per week (7). 

The researchers found that the full-body training group experienced significantly higher gains in muscle size for particular muscles (7).

This suggests that the frequency of exercise plays a role in muscle growth. By incorporating micro workouts throughout the day, you can stimulate your muscles more frequently, leading to better results in terms of muscle growth and strength.

It’s worth noting that the study participants were well-versed in weight training, so it may not apply to beginners. Beginners may need more time to recover in between workouts to prevent injury and overtraining.

An ideal approach would be to use micro workouts on an alternate day schedule, meaning you focus on different muscle groups each day and allow for recovery time in between. 

For example, one day could involve upper body micro workouts, while the next day focuses on lower body exercises. This allows for adequate rest and recovery while still incorporating frequent bouts of exercise throughout the week.


How Long Should Micro Workouts Be?

Micro workouts are typically short and range from 5-15 minutes in duration. These 10 minutes don’t include any stretching breaks or cooling down.

The exact duration of a micro workout will depend on your fitness level and the exercises you choose to do. For example, someone who is just starting may need a few more minutes as they go through each exercise in a slow, controlled manner. Or, they may need to take more breaks in between exercises.

On the other hand, someone who is used to physical activity can pack in a higher-intensity workout and cover multiple muscle groups in less time.

The goal of micro workouts is to get the heart rate up and engage muscles for a short period. 

As long as you are staying active throughout the day, whether it’s through micro workouts or other activities like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, you will be reaping the benefits and improving your overall health. 

Don’t worry too much about exact timings, just focus on incorporating movement into your day whenever possible.

We discuss workout length and frequency in more detail here: How Many Workouts Per Day

Sample Micro Workout No Equipment

This micro workout exercise falls under the endurance and strength category. You’ll use your own body weight to target multiple muscle groups. It’s a good micro workout for beginners, as it doesn’t involve any equipment and can be done in a small space.

Each workout will take 10 minutes, and by combining the three workouts will have you performing a full body routine in 30 minutes. Repeat this at least thrice a week to get the best results.

Micro-Workout 1: Upper Body

  • 1 minute of push-ups (as many reps as possible)
  • 1 minute of tricep dips (using a chair or bench)
  • 30 seconds of arm circles forward and backward

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Micro-Workout 2: Lower Body

  • 1 minute of squats (as many reps as possible)
  • 1 minute of lunges (alternating legs)
  • 30 seconds of high knees

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Micro-Workout 3: Core

  • 1 minute of plank hold
  • 1 minute of bicycle crunches (alternating sides)
  • 30 seconds of Russian twists

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Our blog on Low-intensity Workouts has more ideas on what can be done by beginners at home or in the office.

Sample Micro Workouts with Weights

You can use micro workouts to build muscle faster by introducing weights – we recommend dumbbells because they are easy to use and don’t take up much space.

Start with a weight that feels challenging but doable for 10 reps. If you can comfortably complete more than 15 reps, increase the weight slightly.

Here is a sample micro workout routine using weights:

Micro-Workout 1: Upper Body

  • 1 minute of bicep curls (alternating arms)
  • 1 minute of overhead shoulder press
  • 30 seconds of lateral raises

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Micro-Workout 2: Lower Body

  • 1 minute of goblet squats
  • 1 minute of deadlifts
  • 30 seconds of calf raises

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Micro-Workout 3: Core and Total Body

  • 1 minute of dumbbell swing (or kettlebell swing if available)
  • 1 minute of renegade rows (alternating arms)
  • 30 seconds of plank with alternating leg lift

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Sample Micro Workouts for Cardio

Micro workouts can also focus on cardiovascular exercises, helping with weight loss and improving endurance. Again, these are short bursts of activity, so you’ll want to keep up the intensity.

Here is a sample micro workout routine for cardio:

Micro-Workout 1: Jump Rope

  • 1 minute of jump rope (as many reps as possible)
  • 1 minute of high knees (alternating legs)
  • 30 seconds of mountain climbers

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Micro-Workout 2: Stair Climbing

  • Climb up and down a flight of stairs for 5 minutes (or longer if you can)

Rest for 1-2 minutes.

Micro-Workout 3:

  • 1 minute of jumping jacks (as many reps as possible)
  • 1 minute of burpees
  • 30 seconds of butt kickers

Repeat this circuit three more times, resting for 30 seconds in between each set.

Read more: Benefits of Micro Workouts: Get Fit In A Flash!



  • Is a Workout Better Than No Workout?

Yes, absolutely! Any form of physical activity is better than remaining sedentary. 

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise or 1.25 hours of vigorous-intensity exercise per week (8), micro workouts can help you break up any longer periods of sitting and still contribute to your overall physical activity level.

  • Are Small Workouts Worth It?

Small workouts are worth doing if they can fit into your daily routine and help you stay active throughout the day. They can also be a great option for busy individuals who may not have time for long workouts but still want to incorporate physical activity into their lifestyle.

  • Are Mini Workouts Effective?

Mini workouts are effective if done consistently and at a high intensity. The key is to make sure you are challenging yourself and engaging your muscles, even in shorter periods of time. 

The benefits of mini workouts range from improved cardiovascular health to increased muscle strength and endurance. They are also a great way to boost your metabolism and burn extra calories throughout the day (14).

  • Do Microtears Cause Weight Gain?

Microtears don’t cause weight gain. The assumption that micro tears cause weight gain may stem from the temporary inflammation and water retention that can occur during the muscle repair process, but this is not significant or long-lasting.

The tiny tears in the muscle fibers occur during physical activity. They are a natural part of the muscle repair and growth process (10) and do not cause weight gain. 

In fact, building and maintaining muscle through exercise can actually help with weight management by increasing your metabolism (9).

In our blog: Micro Tears In Muscles After Workout, we go into more detail about the science behind microtears and how they can actually benefit your fitness journey.

The Bottom Line

Micro workouts are a great way to incorporate exercise into your day, without having to dedicate a specific time to it. They can be done with or without equipment and target different muscle groups or cardio exercises. 

When combined with an active lifestyle, micro workouts can lead to improved strength, endurance, and overall health. Remember to listen to your body and adjust the duration and intensity of the workouts according to your fitness level.


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. A 4-Week Intervention Involving Mobile-Based Daily 6-Minute Micro-Sessions of Functional High-Intensity Circuit Training Improves Strength and Quality of Life, but Not Cardio-Respiratory Fitness of Young Untrained Adults (2018, frontiersin.org)
  2. Breaking Up Evening Sitting with Resistance Activity Improves Postprandial Glycemic Response: A Randomized Crossover Study (2023, journals.lww.com)
  3. Effects of Physical Exercise on Cognitive Functioning and Wellbeing: Biological and Psychological Benefits (2018, frontiersin.org)
  4. Endurance Exercise – Physiopedia (n.d., physio-pedia.com)
  5. Feel-good hormones: How they affect your mind, mood and body (2021, health.harvard.edu)
  6. Higher Training Frequency Is Important for Gaining Muscular Strength Under Volume-Matched Training (2018, frontiersin.org)
  7. High Resistance-Training Frequency Enhances Muscle Thickness in Resistance-Trained Men (2019, journals.lww.com)
  8. How much physical activity do adults need? (2022, cdc.gov)
  9. Increasing muscle mass to improve metabolism (2013, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  10. Muscle damage and inflammation during recovery from exercise (2017, journals.physiology.org)
  11. Physical activity can improve diabetes patients’ glucose control; A systematic review and meta-analysis (2022, sciencedirect.com)
  12. Physical activity for health (2022, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
  13. Research shows that short, intense workouts are beneficial (2023, uclahealth.org)
  14. Short Bursts of Activity Can Have Huge Health Benefits | University Hospitals (2023, uhhospitals.org)
  15. Stretching: Focus on flexibility – Mayo Clinic (2023, mayoclinic.org)
  16. Ten-Minute ‘Micro Workouts’: Build The Best Physique of Your Life (2023, menshealth.com)
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