The Best Workouts if You Only Have 10 Minutes

Getting in a workout can be tricky if you don’t have much time to spare. Why? Well, there’s the matter of which workout to choose that can be effective in just a mere 10 minutes, and then there’s also being able to get in the zone ASAP, as there’s no real “warmup” when the whole workout time is so slim. Luckily though, there are ways to get active and burn calories in a mere 10 minutes, and you’ll still get that after-burn effect to strengthen muscles and keep your heart rate up following the workout. That means, yes, more minutes of fitness effects! 

Here are some moves and types of workouts that require zero or very little equipment to make it possible to do at work, on vacation, or on the go and in a super small time frame, says Jamie Hickey, CPT and nutrition coach. 

active woman checking watch at the track

The Best Workouts If You Only Have 10 Minutes

1. Easy core moves, any time, any place

These are simple core exercises you can do on the floor of your office or at home with limited space, and you can do one for 10 minutes total or do all three, splitting up the time. Do each move until complete muscle failure, and rest for 30 seconds in between, and then repeat.

Helicopters: lay down on the floor with your knees up and your feet flat on the floor, arms extended out to your side with your palms down. Take a deep breath in and bring your knees to your chest, then push them up, letting your body and legs create a 90-degree angle. Now start to circle your legs clockwise while keeping your core contracted. Do this for 30 to 45 seconds rest for a little bit and repeat, he says.

Plank: place your hands on the floor about shoulder width apart like you're about to do a push up. Use your toes and glutes to stabilize your body and make sure not to hyper-extend your knees. Keep your head in line with your back and stare at a fixed point about a foot in front of your hands. Hold this position for 30 seconds to start, and once you become comfortable, add time to it, normally in 10-second intervals, he says.

Tuck and Crunch: lie down with you hands behind or on the side of your head with your legs raised and knees bent at a 90-degree angle. At the same time you want to lift your head and bring your knees into your chest. Do not jerk your head up or let your feet touch the floor throughout the workout.

2. Morning blast

“This is a quick morning exercise routine you can do to start off the day on the right foot,” he says. It has a ton of good cardio to wake your body and mind up fast, and it’ll boost your heart rate to give you that after-burn effect.

  • High knees
  • Burpee with push up
  • Squat Jump
  • Plank with shoulder tap
  • Mountain climbers

Pick your intensity and intensity level for the above workout. For beginner, do 30 seconds of high intensity followed by 30 seconds of rest. For intermediate, do 40 seconds of high intensity followed by 20 seconds of rest. And for advanced do 50 seconds of high intensity followed by 10 seconds of rest.

Do this circuit for ten minutes, and you’ll be panting and sweaty for sure!

man doing mountain climbers

3. 10-minute circuit with dumbbells

Stash dumbbells in your office or home so you can do these moves by your desk or in a stairwell at work or in the living room at home. Or, keep them at home or in your car or suitcase if you’re traveling and on the go. Do each move for 30 seconds, and you’ll find the circuit to be a perfect total of 10 minutes. And if you don’t have dumbbells, you can use resistance bands, says Hickey. 

  • Reverse crunch
  • Straight leg curl up
  • Dumbbell plie squat
  • Glute lifts
  • Mountain climbers
  • Step up kick backs
  • Dumbbell squats
  • High knees
  • Step ups
  • Bicep curls
  • Knee push ups
  • Dumbbell hamstring curls
  • Jump squats
  • Dumbbell front arm raises
  • Push ups
  • Single leg deadlifts (left then right)
  • Plank
  • Bicycle crunch

4. Jump rope

Another great option is to do 10 minutes of jump rope, which is a total body workout, gets your heart rate up, and torches in calories in a short period of time. Plus, it’s easy to stash a jump rope in your desk drawer or to carry in a bag. Once you find a place that has some room—you don’t want to whack anyone in the face!—jump away for ten minutes, timing it on your phone. 


Isadora Baum

Isadora Baum is a freelance writer, certified health coach, and author of 5-Minute Energy. She can't resist a good sample, a margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. She writes for various magazines, such as Men's Health, Women's Health, SELF, LIVESTRONG, POPSUGAR, Allure, Health, Cooking Light, and more. Learn more about her on her website: isadorabaum.com.


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