The 2-Minute “Mini-Workout” That Will Change Your Life

Don’t have time to work out – even at home? Try these 2-minute mini-workouts for a fast fitness fix!

This month, we’ve been focusing on workouts for busy people who don’t have time to get to the gym, but sometimes there are days when it can seem hard even to fit in a quick workout at home. “Mini-workouts” to the rescue!

A mini-workout is a workout that is so quick it doesn’t even feel like a workout. But it still counts as exercise. Evidence shows that it is more the quantity of exercise that you get in a day that matters – not the length of the exercise session. In fact, some fitness experts, such as author and personal trainer Mike Geary, now believe that there are additional benefits to working out in short bursts:

Aside from saving you time at the gym, the other main benefit is hormones!  …More growth hormone release (aka, the “youth hormone”), and less cortisol production.

The reason for this is that some studies show that growth hormone can be stimulated with as little as a couple 30-second “bursts” of extremely high intensity exercise such as sprinting, and multiple “mini workouts” per day provides more opportunities to trigger growth hormone release rather than just one longer workout per day.  And these shorter workouts will never cause the harmful cortisol release that longer workouts can cause.

If you don’t have time for a 30-minute workout before or after work, instead, just do 6 or 8 of these 2-minute mini-workouts throughout your day.

While you still will want to get a longer workout in when you can, mini-workouts can help break up your day, relieve “sitting disease,” and help you get some exercise even when you are on the go or traveling. A mini-workout can be done anywhere, with no equipment required, so you can do them at home, in your hotel room, or even at the office.

A few mini-workout exercises you can incorporate include:

  • bodyweight squats (and variations)
  • pushups (and variations)
  • forward, reverse, or walking lunges
  • up & down a staircase if one is available
  • floor planks (holding the plank position from forearms and feet)
  • floor abs exercises such as lying leg thrusts, ab bicycles, etc.
  • 1-legged bodyweight Romanian deadlifts

Depending on where you are, you can do only standing exercises such as lunges and squats and stair climbing, or mix it up with floor work too.

Here is an example mini-workout routine you can do at home or at the office (adjust the reps up or down based on your capabilities):

9 am – 10 pushups/15 bodyweight squats, repeat 1X for 2 sets
10 am – plank holds (hold the planks as long as you can taking short rest breaks for a total of 3 minutes)
11 am – 5 pushups/10 bodyweight squats, repeat for 4 sets
1 pm – plank holds (hold as long as possible in 3 minutes)
2 pm – 8 pushups/12 bodyweight squats, repeat for 3 sets
3 pm – plank holds (hold as long as possible in 3 minutes)
4 pm – max pushups/max bodyweight squats in one set (no repeat)

9 am – 6 fwd lunges each leg/6 rev lunges, repeat 1X for 2 sets
10 am – one legged bw Romanian deadlifts (RDL) 6 each leg/floor abs for 20 sec, repeat 1X for 2 sets
11 am – 3 fwd lunges each leg/3 rev lunges, repeat for 4 sets
1 pm – one legged bw RDL 3 each leg/floor abs for 20 sec, repeat for 4 sets
2 pm – 5 fwd lunges each leg/5 rev lunges, repeat for 3 sets
3 pm – one legged bw RDL 10 each leg/floor abs for 30 sec (no repeat)
4 pm – max fwd lunges each leg/max rev lunges in one set (no repeat)

Give this routine a try for a couple of weeks, or just slot it in on your busiest days, and it can help you break through a workout plateau, improve your fitness, and relieve stiffness from sitting all day.