Can you really get a good workout in only seconds? According to new research, yes you can and you can even lose weight.
Why HIIT workouts work
At the beginning of the pandemic when people were turning their closets into at-home gyms, the New York Times-hailed 7-minute workout was all the rage. Even though at that point we had nothing but time on our hands, everyone loves a condensed workout.
When you break down the 7-minute it consists of 12 high-intensity exercises (HIIT) that are only 30 seconds to a minute long with a 10-second rest period in between segments.
Last week research presented at the Experimental Biology conference argued for these seconds-long short but intense workouts. “The health benefits of our protocol are comparable to continuous training, where people exercise for over 30 minutes,” Remzi Satiroglu, the lead author of the study told Inverse.
In the Satiroglu study, a sample size of 11 physically fit subjects, both men and women around the age of 21, were asked to do short cycling sessions. The sessions were made up of 30 rounds of 4-second super intense cycling followed by a short rest for three weeks.
As time went by the rest period decreased going from 30 seconds the first week then to 24 on the second week and finally only 15 seconds for the final week of the study.
Measurements of blood volume, maximal anaerobic power, maximal oxygen consumption were taken before and after each segment.
It was discovered that the subjects’ fitness levels improved with these 30 four-second rounds over the weeks. Blood volume is really the key to improving cardiovascular health Satiroglu said.
Major health benefits of second-long workouts
Short HIIT workouts when done consistently can also help with lowering one’s risk for diabetes as well as mental health. Plus, when you do a micro-HIIT workout it cleans out your damaged cells and helps to regenerate newer, healthier ones.
And even a 10-second workout has been proven to help with weight loss. Plyometrics, an explosive exercise often used by athletes to improve their “ground reaction force” (often referred to as jump training) can help with weight loss. Though it is only 10 seconds, because your body is working so hard against the ground it is using a lot of energy which helps to burn calories.
Some plyometric workout examples are squat jumps, jump lunges, medicine ball slams, lateral power skips, lunges, and tuck jumps to name a few (there are great instructional videos in this article.) But you need to do a few rounds of these back to back with short breaks in between (similar to the study.)
Experts say you should not do plyo workouts every day as your body needs at least 48 hours to recover and be sure to take rests between sets.
The main appeal is that you are getting the same or close to the benefits of a longer workout but in a condensed amount of time and that includes weight loss.