Are You Doing Microworkouts? Here’s Why You Should.

The fitness industry is in the midst of a renaissance. Flawed and dated strategies like sedentary recovery practices or overly stressful HIIT workouts are being replaced with cutting-edge practices that offer more efficiency and return on investment. Today I’m covering one emerging fitness strategy: performing brief feats of strength in the routine course of a day. Let’s call them microworkouts.

I’m talking here about dropping for a single set of deep squats in the office, hitting a set of max effort pull-ups whenever you pass under a bar in a closet doorway, or stocking your backyard with a hex deadlift bar or bench press and busting out a single set every time you pass by while taking out the garbage.

Banking Benefits With Less Stress

Microworkouts deliver two distinct and awesome benefits: First, when you add up the energy expenditure of these brief but frequent efforts, you obtain an incredible cumulative training effect. In essence, you are banking a lot of strength/power/explosiveness “mileage” without disturbing the necessary stress/rest balance of your official workout schedule or prompting the stress hormone production and cellular depletion that occurs from an extreme weekend warrior-type session. That is, a set of pull-ups, or even three sets over the course of 12 hours on a typical day, is not going to mess up the next day’s CrossFit session or even an ambitious arms and chest session. Rather, these micro sessions (Dr. Phil Maffetone calls the concept, “slow weights”) will raise the baseline from which you launch your ambitious full-scale workouts.

Think about it: If you do a single set of six deadlifts with 200 pounds on the bar every time you take out the garbage, that’s 1,200 pounds of work accomplished. Perhaps you can find your way to doing that 1-2 times a day, five or six days a week? That’s lifting an extra 10,000 pounds a week! When it’s time to perform a formal session, such as the popular 5 x 5 protocol (where you complete five sets of five reps, and perhaps add an upper body exercise to each set), you’re poised for fitness breakthroughs as well as faster recovery times. An “official” workout is no longer this tremendous athletic performance vastly outside the normal pattern of your largely sedentary life, but instead an upgrade of what you do every day to some extent. Does this concept ring a bell? Yes, microworkouts are modeling the behavior patterns of our hunter-gatherer ancestors! Grok and company likely had some harsh days that might rival today’s CrossFit WOD or obstacle course race, but they also likely had routine daily chores entailing lifting heavy things or scrambling up steep embankments in between their legendary leisure time.

Interrupting Prolonged Inactivity

The second benefit of microworkouts is perhaps even more profound: these short efforts help you combat the extreme health hazard of prolonged periods of stillness that characterize hyperconnected modern life. The adverse health consequences of stillness have been well-chronicled, and you’ve heard me talk about them for years. Studies show that even a few days of inactivity can generate a significant decline in glucose tolerance and increase in insulin resistance. In Primal Endurance, I quote Nutritious Movement queen Katy Bowman on the destruction of cellular health caused by stillness: “When you use a single position repetitively, such as curling your body into a comfortable work chair for hours every day, muscles, joints, and arteries will adapt to this repetitive positioning by changing their cellular makeup and becoming literally ‘stiff,’ with reduced ranges of motion and an actual hardening of the arterial walls in those areas.”

Strange as it may seem, it’s now becoming clear that increasing all forms of general everyday movement is a greater health priority than conducting ambitious workouts. Microworkouts, along with continued devotion to JFW (Just F—ing Walk) takes on increasing importance as daily life gets more effortless. Even if you’re a devoted gym rat, those few hours a week when you’re pushing weight around isn’t enough to combat a lifestyle of commuting, office work, and digital entertainment leisure time. The active couch potato syndrome is a scientifically validated concept revealing that devoted workout enthusiasts who lead otherwise sedentary lifestyles are subject to the same level of disease risk as inactive folks.

Optimizing Movement For the Most Advantageous Genetic Signaling

But none of this is new. A decade ago now Time magazine offered a memorable title, “The Myth Of Exercise.” The story detailed how a strenuous workout (particularly the common workout patterns and strategies of today that can become chronically stressful) depletes cellular energy and prompts a compensatory response in the form of an increased appetite along with decreased activity for the rest of the day. More recently, I wrote about the constrained model of energy expenditure as well as the amazing study of the Hadza that’s helping us reframe the purpose and intended benefits of exercise.

As I’ve been saying since the introduction of the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws over a decade ago, it’s not about the calories but about the movement and the genetic signaling that movement prompts. The Myth of Exercise concept aligns with my longtime assertion that 80% of your body composition success is dependent on your diet—specifically, minimizing the wildly excessive insulin production that happens from a grain-based, high carbohydrate diet and prevents you from burning stored body fat.

How To Incorporate Microworkouts

Armed with the insight to no workout is too short, and any kind of movement delivers a health and fitness benefit, you can elevate microworkouts to the forefront of your fitness plan. Reject the all-or-nothing mentality that causes you to fail with fitness commitments because you get too busy with work and life. We all have time for a set or two or three of deep squats during the workday or during leisure time.

Look for opportunities over the course of every day to put your body under some kind of brief resistance load. Even if you only work hard for one minute (or less) at a time but are relatively faithful about incorporating these “micro” opportunities into your daily routine, the cumulative effect will still be incredible.

Word of Caution: Going from a prolonged inactive state to performing a heavy lift carries an obvious risk factor. Truth be told, I generally precede my random sets of pull-ups, deadlifts, or even cords by a minute of walking, a few dynamic stretches, or some specific warm-up moves like doing a set with a much lighter weight, followed by a “real” set with a respectable weight. It’s not a lot of time or effort, but it’s a good habit to add the resistance after you’ve been up and doing something for a few minutes (e.g. taking out the garbage, bringing in groceries, finishing an indoor/outdoor chore).

Beyond that, also realize that when you make micro-workouts a daily habit, you’ll discover that you’re much more adaptable to brief explosive efforts without a long warm-up. You’ll be able to pop up from your work desk to hustle down a flight of stairs at work without hearing the creaks and cracks that are so familiar, especially to aging jocks. My longtime writing partner Brad Kearns (our next book will be a comprehensive education and action plan on the topics of longevity—due out in December) swears that his brief morning flexibility/mobility routine. He says it’s transformed his recovery from sprint workouts. No more next-day stiffness and soreness and occasional minor injuries—just because he spends 12 minutes every morning working on drills specific to sprinting that challenge the glutes, hamstrings, and core.

Dr. Art DeVany, Ph.D., author of The New Evolution Diet and one of my earliest and greatest inspirations for Primal-inspired health practices, says that the lion never has to stretch before a workout, and we shouldn’t have to either. No, our modern creakiness can be attributed to overtraining patterns (in the case of morning issues) or extended stillness without a movement break when you get up and hobble during the day. Our ancestors most certainly had to run for their lives with zero warning on a routine basis. It’s a good Primal skill to have still.

Micro workouts are also applicable to cardiovascular fitness. A few minutes here and a few minutes there have a similar cumulative effect. Dr. Phil Maffetone explains that any stimulation of the aerobic system, even really low-intensity stuff that a hard-core athlete might not choose to count as an official workout, helps improve your cardiovascular health and fitness. There’s really no lower limit to the aerobic exercise zone.

Anytime you get up from a chair and walk, you’re getting an aerobic benefit. A couple minutes recruiting major muscle groups with Stretch Cordz confers a new advantage. A cruise ship analogy works well here. When the floating city is out on the open ocean, cruising at 20 knots en route to the next port, all twelve turbine engines are cranking at full throttle. When it’s cruising in the harbor at two knots in preparation for docking, only a couple turbines are operating at half power. However, the two turbines operating at half speed in the harbor are still being “trained” to perform when they’re called upon in the open ocean. Note: I’ve revised my position on this concept over the years as research filled in the picture. Early on, I used to designate an aerobic zone of 55-75% of maximum heart rate. I’m not saying abandon time in that range, but know that anything outside of it also counts for something, and that should be good news.

If you so much as jump up from your desk, scramble down the stairs and out to your vehicle, then return with a few floors of ascent and back to your desk—total time five minutes and eight seconds. You’ll be turbocharging fat burning, increasing oxygen delivery and blood circulation to the brain, and flooding the bloodstream with neurotransmitters that elevate mood and improve cognitive focus. Similarly, anytime you haul off a set of pushups or squats, you’re making a meaningful contribution to your fitness and longevity.

For a further discussion on the topic, check out the video below.

Every effort, however modest, can be a small win. How does that shift your mindset? How does it open up possibilities for you? Let me know down below, and share any questions you have while you’re at it. Have a great week, everybody.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

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74 thoughts on “Are You Doing Microworkouts? Here’s Why You Should.”

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  1. “Sedentary Recovery Practices”…there’s a new term.
    HIIT workouts…what’s that?
    Micro workouts; omg, are you f’ing kidding me? If I’m going to get physical beyond yardwork & other chores – I WANT FUN.
    Still waiting on you to recommend the “fire hose strap thing that you got going on between the trees” (I have no idea what it’s called, but THAT LOOKS LIKE FUN).

    1. HIIT workouts are High Intensity Interval Training workouts. That one stumped me for a while too.

      I’ve got a Microsoft Word document labeled MDA (Mark’s Daily Apple) acronyms saved for the stray acronyms like this.

      The “fire hose strap thing that you got going on between the trees” is called a slack line. I didn’t know what it was either, until Mark did a blog post about it back in 2013.

    2. HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

      This one had me stumped for a while. Then I had to remember what it was the next time I saw it. So I made a Word document with acronyms used on this site.

      The “fire hose strap thing that you got going on between the trees” is a slack line. Mark did a blog post about it several years ago, which is the only reason I know what it’s called.

    3. Sorry about the double point. Apparently it takes awhyfor comments to post and my computer gets weird sometimes.

    4. I’m the same way; I like making movement fun. Some of the following I’ve found fun (I work from home) – bear crawl from office to kitchen. When someone knocks on door, sneak up on the door sideways in a squat like a ninja and look out the peephole but be really quiet. Then tiptoe back. Turn on one song and dance all crazy and stupid until you laugh. Invent a dance just using your elbow, etc.

  2. A friends of mine bought a carpet sweeper and stopped using her vacuum. She says pushing the carpet sweeper in her living room most days has become a part of her workout routine. As is lifting bags of groceries or garbage. If you do simple household chores intentionally they can be a good part of your workout. Makes sense when you think about it.

    1. On a related note, I don’t just carry my groceries home from the store but also through the store (when most people would use cart baskets or full carts). Conscious workouts are mostly boring. For me the key for day to day stuff is doing it (almost) unaware. There’s nothing different about my grocery shopping routine compared to anybody else, except I get automatic carrying heavy things out of it.

      It easily doubles to triples the 10 minutes taking the groceries home.

      That being said, I definitely subscribe to the article as well. At work I like to push against the bathroom wall, stuff like that. I couldn’t get through the day otherwise. 😉

  3. I think this is great! I love myself a good workout, but always like to remind myself that any movement is good movement. Sure, on vacation recently, I wasn’t able to do my regular gym lifting sessions. I kept up with my runs. BUT – I was in Denmark. I spent LOTS of time the first week just walking – to the store, to the park, to see a Castle. Also – our first 5 days were in a 5th floor walk up apartment (with a bonus that it had a few weights). Walking, stairs, some pushups and weights. I’m pretty fit, but it took a few days to get used to those stairs!

    The rest of the time I was able to continue walking, go for a swim in the bay or at a friend’s pool. The Danes certainly know regular activity. Most of our friends there bike to work. And as a relative said “we mosey. It’s 10km, it takes 35 minutes, we don’t get sweaty.”

    At work I like regular walk breaks, and I should just throw some pushups into my routine more often. I’m 49, my regular gym is closing soon, so I’ll need a replacement for my heavy weight training classes.

    1. Nathan,
      Do what you can do. You will increase as time goes on. It’s better to do 2 or 3 than none at all.

    2. Nathan if you can only do 2-3 pull-ups, pepper your day with sets of 1 or two pull-ups, with lots of rest in between (at least an hour). You’ll develop strength quickly by not maxing out.

  4. Totally agree. I’ve been doing this for years with calisthenics and I just started doing it with stretching/mobility. I have a gym at work and will just go up there for 10 minutes and do the following: dead hang from pull up bar, downward dog, upward dog, hero pose, and deep squat and hold while doing wrist rolls. I’ll do this and the micro-workouts a few times a day.

  5. A few years ago I worked in an office. One of my supervisors started a thing where every hour on the hour if you wanted to participate, we’d drop and do 10 push-ups. After a few weeks I started adding a few more each week. In a few months I was doing 50 every hour with no problem. Unfortunately he moved on and I was the only one who kept doing them, until one day one of the new supervisors was like WTF are you doing…as if it was inappropriate and taking away from my work.

    1. Unfortunately, a lot of supervisors and managers have attitudes like your new one.
      One of the best things I’ve done is transfer out of a sedentary department to one that requires me to walk, lift, carry, and squat for most of my shift.

  6. Should you alternate microworkouts by muscle group each day as with traditional strength training or can you do microworkouts covering all muscle groups each day?

    1. Great question. I am answering for what I’ve found to work for me. With LOW intensity, several bouts of full body per day is completely doable for me. With HIGH intensity, I usually only do 2 – 4 muscle groups per day. I hope that helps you out! 🙂

  7. One of my fav micro workouts during a normal workday is when going to or from work (I usually take the Metro) and going up the escalator I race myself. I try to beat my previous best (number of stairs passed before the end.)

  8. This is pretty timely for me. The plus side, I work from home the downside is it is all computer screen time. I have resorted to putting reminders in Outlook and remind me to get up and move. I bought a Roman Chair for that, but reading this, I am thinking to add a jump rope to the routine. I find at the end of the day, when I incorporate movements, I have more energy than if I sit behind the computer all day. Sadly, without the reminders, I do get engrossed with work, and before you know it, nine hours have passed.

  9. I started started taking Pilates classes 2-3 days per week on a Pilates Reformer machine. So far I am tolerating the classes. I am sweating and getting stronger. I am 65 years old. Cutting lawn once a week. Walking most days at least 20 minutes outside. Feeling pretty good.

  10. This works fairly well for me when I’m working at home – though I don’t have room in my flat for a squat rack or any weight equipment. I can do body weight exercises and since I don’t have to “commute” I usually go for an hour walk when it’s sunny before lunch.

    It gets more difficult when on-site for a client. Most offices here aren’t air conditioned, so when it’s warm you’re really going to sweat which makes you less presentable. I try to make it up by picking a hotel in walking distance (~45-60min ish). If there isn’t a private space to knock out a couple of body weight exercises there isn’t a lot you can do without becoming the resident office weirdo. Maybe someone has an idea?

    1. I have done many BW squats in toilet cubicles in offices. Yeah, it’s a little cramped, but it’s possible.

  11. The “grease the groove” protocol — several submaximal sets spread through the day — is my favorite way of doing microworkouts. If you do only one set at a time, you won’t work up a significant sweat and you won’t have to change in and out of your work clothes — “One Set, No Sweat!” as I tell my coworkers.

    Of course I sweat like crazy when I hike or do HIIT hill runs, evenings and weekends. Coffee break pushups are not my only exercise, by any means. But they sure are a nice stress reducer, and i don’t seem to get backaches any more, either.

  12. Pavel Tsatsouline talks about something very similar. He calls it Greasing the Groove. But the microworkouts are very moderate. Just do five reps of an excercise that you are able to do 10 reps max.
    So if you can do four pull-ups, just do two pull-ups several times per day on your off days. I did this last year and went from four pull-ups to 16 in 3 months. I did the same with the bench press and went from 200 pounds to 305 pounds. I’m 58 years old and that broke my personal best back when I was 18 years old.

  13. Best article in years! This perfectly fits with the original Primal lifestyle and makes far more sense that extreme, prolonged or complicated exercises (which Primal discouraged anyway). At 60, I know now that my body reacts better to short bursts of energy than long ones, and short exercises means you can be more varied and keep all of the “parts” moving rather than just a few. This is the true essence of Primal lifestyle and movement.

    1. Right on David great comment! I am finding these workouts more valuable the older I get and perfect for 54-year-old athletic development and avoiding burnout and injury!

  14. Great read today. As I have been trying to increase my ability to do pull-ups, I have been incorporating the mindset of everytime I walk by the bar I do as many as I can. I have seen improvement, but would always worry I am affecting my recovery for my twice a week powerlifting sessions.
    Puts my mind at ease, much appreciated. Now I will do this with squats and push ups as well.

  15. This is another piece to your minimum effective dose puzzle, Mark. I love it. Are there any studies that talk about what the actual minimum effective dose is? Is there a noticable difference between body weight squats and squats with a 40 pound kettle bell, for example? Weighted pushups? Just flexing? It’d be cool to get a collection of people’s ideas for micro workouts and create some kind of data base.

    1. layperson’s opinion, but yes, I think there is a difference if you use a weight or you don’t. Even yoga includes balance challenge positions because controlling a weight is different than strengthening muscle. And yet graceful movement combines them.

      Pilates was founded on the question, can I do (this exercise) totally controlled so that at any point I can stop there in that position and not be unbalanced? The modern buzzword “core exercise” is a pale shadow compared tot he concepts worked out by Joseph Pilates.

      I think that working out with some weights, even ones that aren’t the powerlifiting maximum for you, requires you to control that weight, while also doing an exercise. But for confirmation, I suppose any physical therapist would have a more accurate professional opinion on it.

      I’d expect a cross fit enthusiast to say that something like lunges with weights are just the beginning, the strength training required so you can eventually walk or even run with a weight on your shoulders. No physical therapist would tell you that was “safe” but it’s undeniably a functional exercise.

      So I would count the minimum effective dose to be whatever helps a person become more functionally fit with respect to what they need or want to do in life. That depends on, t if you’re elderly, an office worker, a farm laborer, or a sports enthusiast, etc.

      In my situation, (that would be fatigue syndrome), it’s what it takes to keep from constant ache in muscles that I can’t often use. But for my mom, it was physical strength and lung capacity, since she was a rower. later in life she had her hip replaced. Her physical therapist helped her exercise while lying down. She made it back to walking OK.

  16. Hi Mark,

    Primal/Keto for 13 months and counting…. never felt better at 50.

    You mention in your books “fractal” patterns from which I can extrapolate to eating times as well as exercising intensity and duration. Play and family time cannot be ignored either. This email makes sense to me. Thank you for inspiring me to take this journey with my wife and hopefully my son, someday.


    Erick R.
    Grover Beach, CA

  17. You had my attention with “sedentary recovery practices” I really enjoy sprinting and felt the classic pop. Followed by the classic limp. In two days it was back to 100% because I continued to move it as much as possible and stretch it. I really feared that I would be out for a couple of weeks. But the only thing that does that to me now is if there is gluten in a meal. It’s like kryptonite.

    Microworkout is a great word for it. I need to be better about making it more regimented, but once I’m rolling, it’s unbearable to sit still too long. I honestly think I only get grumpy if my body starts wishing it was moving more.

    You’re on to something here.

  18. Simply great stuff, Mark.
    You’re a phenomenal resource and writer.

  19. There’s a 280lb bar on my verandah. I deadlift it half a dozen times every weekday. It’s something that I can do that prepares me for the unplanned heavy lifts and strenuous moments in work – which is farming – without reducing the available energy that I have for that.

    A chin-up bar across the entrance sounds good, too.

  20. I’m doing the nitric oxide routine. Three times daily. It’s good to increase repetitions and use weights too.
    I’m 80 years and I like this.

  21. Big fan of this type of training. I do Pavel’s Grease The Groove every day with pull-ups and handstand pushups. Never sore, always ready…

  22. Mark, thanks for the terrific article! This simply makes so much common sense. Had intuitively begun incorporating the microworkout idea into my daily life very recently. Am receiving wonderful benefits. Have been utilizing primal movements, especially ground movements, squatting/squat walking in particular. In less than 1 week my hips now have much greater mobility and more explosive power when required. Feels fantastic! Thanks again and keep the excellent information coming.

  23. I often think if I spent my gym time scrubbing my floors etc I would be richer and my house would shine! Another simple tip is to put groceries, plates, cups etc on higher shelves so you have to reach each time rather than making it easier.

  24. Great article. I’ve recently been setting my phone timer for 30 mins and each time it goes off I get up from my (extremely sedentary job) and do a micro workout – jumping jacks, squats, curls with a band, push ups etc, etc. Glad to know it’s a good thing and this has motivated me to keep doing it. Thanks Mark – always such practical wisdom.

  25. I’ve been doing these microworkouts for quite a few years now. I’ve never been one to go to the gym to workout…….just not for me. Instead, I do various things throughout the day at home, as Mark suggests. For example, I do about 16-18 chin-ups every morning (I have a chin-up bar in the bathroom doorway) while I am waiting for the shower water to warm up. I always carry groceries myself, and I don’t park very close to the store. I work in my garden daily during the summer, which usually involves squatting repeatedly while I pull weeds and harvest veggies, etc.. I haul plenty of heavy things around the house and yard, when things need to be moved (which is fairly often). I am a big believer in just moving as much as possible, and occasionally doing these little microworkouts throughout the day.

  26. I worked a rotating shift and did 5-10 minutes of burpee variations ever hour. It helped.

  27. Thank you so much for this. This is exactly what I needed to read right now. I have never been able to stick with a strict, planned 2-3 days a week workout routine. The time I worked out most consistently (and also the only time in my life when I’ve ever achieved a pullup) is when I was implementing the “grease the groove” training method which is just like what you explain. It just makes so much more sense to me too. Maybe after doing microworkouts for a while consistently I will feel more ready to commit to bigger workouts.
    Thanks again, Mark. Your work continues to benefit my and many others’ lives.
    Also that new book about longevity sounds great, I’ve never actually read one of your books, but this one I’ve gotta get my hands on! Thanks for giving us a heads up about it. 🙂

  28. Great! Love this idea. I agree with Linda Sand’s comment that daily house hold chores can also be part of work out routine if done intentionally. Adding micro workouts to your routine is much better than doing nothing at all

  29. This is a great idea. I’ve frequently recommended that people, who say they don’t have time to exercise, develop the Art of the One Minute Workout … everyone has a spare minute that they can use to exercise at intervals throughout the day. Pavel Tsatsouline popularized the idea he calls Greasing the Groove, which is essentially the same thing.

  30. I love the idea that any exercise is better than none at all. But I wonder if this style of workout would interfere with recovery from other more regular/scheduled workouts (weightlifting, etc…)?

  31. This is wonderful news! I am a microworkout fan. I’ve been doing it for awhile now and have found that it causes me to do more activity than I have in years. It no longer feels like a chore to get some exercise it. Rather, it motivates and energizes me. Microworkout on!

  32. I have fibromyalgia, so all the terribly energetic exercises and hugely heavy weight lifting ideas are beyond me. But not the concept of micro workouts. I tolerate tai chi, walking and light housework, and try to get all this in each day, with the usual suspects like parking the car further away to walk, setting a timer when I’m working to practice my tai chi, walking the dogs every day.
    If I do too much I pay: big time, but this mindset will help. Thank you.

  33. I think this article is a fantastic reminder that little movement opportunities matter. Take the stairs, walk or cycle instead of drive, randomly lift heavy things. What great advice!

    The only silly part was the suggestion that lions don’t stretch.

  34. So practical and doable!! I appreciate Brad sharing his morning “start the day” routine. Hell, I cant wait to put my lap top away just to get some steps. I appreciate this Daily Apple a lot.

  35. Workouts are great but the focus on daily, ongoing activity (e.g., go for a walk, take the stairs rather than the elevator, do x pushups several times during the day followed by y squats) to stay fit is, as you point out, necessary to overcome the problems associated with a sedentary work/lifestyle. Besides, think of all the time you do not waste getting to the gym and back …

  36. Measuring muscular effort/output via mechanical work/power is a flawed approach. This is a misunderstanding of physics and physiology. Muscles do not perform mechanical work, they perform metabolic work.

    If it is unclear how significant the difference is, consider these two scenarios:

    1. Stand and push against a wall as hard as you can. Neither you nor the wall moved. Zero mechanical work and zero mechanical power. Did your muscles do nothing?

    2. Perform a bodyweight squat, taking maybe 2 seconds to descend and 2 seconds to rise. Now perform a bodyweight squat taking 10 seconds to descend and 10 seconds to rise (if you can even do it, as this is more challenging than most people realize). Same mechanical work and the 10-second variation has 1/5th the mechanical power. Which one was more muscularly/systemically demanding?

    It’s also unfortunate that this “microworkout” concept is, indirectly, perpetuating the myth that “standard” workouts require significant amounts of time. That is the marketing model of gyms and a host of other flawed approaches to “fitness.” A proper and complete exercise program can easily be executed with (at most) two 30-minute sessions per week, it’s just that hardly anybody knows how to execute this.

  37. Fantastic! Thank you, Mark! You do not realize how much your wonderful advice changes lives for the better!

  38. The great thing with micro workouts is a complete lack of excuses to not do them.

  39. Well I stand at my computer most of the day 6a-2p with several sets of stairs during that time–I duck into an empty meeting room to run off 15-20 pushups a few times a day, and at lunch a few days a week ( i usually IF til 3-4p ) I do some heavy weights at the local gym for about 20 minutes or so–then comes the yard work on occasion and would you count shopping with the wife at a Big Box store as a micro workout? So How an I doing? I know Mark, Just keep moving!

  40. I love this! I am an occupational therapist and a primal health coach. I’ve been telling my patients for years and it is actually every surgeons prescription post-operatively. Move what you can every hour you are awake. Even if it is just your arms up over your head. Just move more! This goes back to my childhood even. If we were sick as kids and had to stay home from school or practice, she made us do chores. Laundry, dishes, etc. etc. She would say, “if you just get up moving you will feel better” Boy was she right. I move so much personally that I find it more of a chore to sit down and write or get on social media than to move and do things. Now if I am sitting down to write blog posts or respond to emails or simply document in my patients’ charts-I make deals with myself. I sit for 20 minutes and do whatever then carry 12 pound dumbbells up and down my deck stairs through the basement door and up my basement stairs 5 times. I feel better. I can focus more on the task at hand. It’s great! Just fucking walk!

  41. This is why I will never pay someone to mow my yard – it’s free exercise.

  42. What about muscle recovery time. How does that change when you’re doing micro workouts. Is it recommended to for example to only do upper body micro workouts every other day to allow for repair?

  43. I really like this concept! I used to do it without knowing I was doing it and found that it gave me good benefits. I had a “doorway” pull up bar in the doorway to my office and every time I’d walk through I’d reach up and do 10 quick ones. Fantastic…no sweat, no soreness, little time investment, no mental prep…just good tone! Thanks for the reminder and in-depth look at Micro!

  44. What about microworkouts during recovery after trainings? Won’t they break the recovery process of micro tears?

  45. Great ideas! Any recommendations on where one might find a list of recommended micro workouts (preferably ones that do not require any equipment) that might be incorporated into a schedule that is not confined to a single office/room/location? Thanks

  46. Any suggested examples of what, when, how, where, and quantities?

  47. Anyone working in an open plan corporate office cracked how to get these in without getting stink eye from everyone around? Looking for suggestions!

  48. Another fantastic message here!

    Something will always outperform nothing. Incorporating more HIIT, interval or circuit training workouts into your routine will not suck out your valuable time while delivering great results at the same time.

    Thanks for this article! A really valuable advice here.

  49. This was very insightful. I’ve been an all or nothing type of fitness enthusiast for over 20 years. As I got older and started a family a couple years ago, finding time to exercise regularly has been challenging. With this covid crisis that has forced us to stay at home, I started doing micro workouts throughout the day and see definite benefits of doing so. This article and the accompanying video has reinforced the progress I have been making since starting this practice. Thanks so much for this wealth of knowledge.

  50. Really awesome no preparedness – just decide what to do and bang with a determined effort and commitment – wonderful micro workouts. If adopted with zeal – it will prove really healthy

  51. Inactivity, sedentary lifestyle, prolonged sitting and a high-pressure and stressful lifestyle are making us suffer from lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Micro workouts will indeed prove beneficial for working professional. I recommend all to take it seriously.

  52. The information is prompting me to do these micro workouts. It is really amazing as it is meant especially for busy workaholics. Taking intermittent breaks and getting some time out of the hectic day for the much-needed workouts is the need of the hour.

  53. An exceptional piece of information. I love it. You must indulge in some sort of activities as you can’t sit working for hours. Micro workouts are really good for your heart health.