As you may recall, the Australian Institute of Fitness has recently released its list of upcoming health and exercise trend predictions for 2022. The list is packed with interesting ideas about what is likely to consume the fitness world next year, and one such example is ‘micro workouts’.
If you’re looking at that term and thinking, “what in the hell is a micro workout,” you’re probably not alone. So, for that reason, we’ve chatted with Brodie Hicks, General Manager – Training at the Australian Institute of Fitness over email to gain a little insight.
So, what is a micro workout?
As the name indicates, a micro workout is essentially “a short, sharp and intense workout,” Hicks shared.
These kinds of workouts, he explained typically last “between four to 12 minutes”.
“They are usually a mixture of body weight/minimal resistance strength exercises combined with cardio exercises, however, micro workouts can also be completed using exclusively one of the two options previously mentioned.
“These sessions are perfect for those who are time-poor but are still looking to kick serious health and fitness goals,” he said.
What do these workouts look like?
Examples of micro workout types include Tabata Training, 1-minute HIIT Intervals and Resistance Training Complexes.
These could be broken down into the following workout styles, Hicks said:
Tabata Session: 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest, 2 rounds (4 min)a. Burpees, Restb. Kick-Sits, Restc. Step-Ups, Restd. Skipping, Rest
After the first four-minute block, take a 1-min rest and repeat 2-3 times.
HIIT Intervals: 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest, 6 rounds (6 min)Your choice of:a. Assault Bikeb. Row Ergometerc. Ski Ergometerd. Spin Bike
After the first six-minute block, take a 2-min rest and repeat again.
Kettlebell Complex: Complete 6 reps of each micro workout exercise without rest in between (i.e. transition from one movement to the next)a. KB Bent-Over Rowb. KB Swingc. KB Cleand. KB Squate. KB Push Press
Rest 60-90 seconds and repeat 4 times!
Why is this trend gaining more attention?
In short, there are loads of reasons why people are interested in the micro workout exercise option. Shorter sessions can hold a lot of appeal if you’re short on time.
“Due to the minimal equipment requirements and the efficiency in which someone can complete a session, individuals are able to both find the time and complete sessions from the comfort of their own home,” Hicks explained.
In addition to that, Hicks highlighted that this style of workout can easily be tacked onto the end of a regular training session. Folks can use micro workouts as a kind of “conditioning block”, which can be particularly useful “for those who don’t really enjoy large amounts of cardio or conditioning work but are still keen to increase their heart rate within their usual session”.
Okay, but are these workouts effective?
Trendy workout styles are all well and good, but there’s no point introducing them to your health routine if they’re ineffective, right?
On this, Hicks explained that “if used correctly” micro workouts can be pretty damn great for you.
“The primary key to utilising micro workouts is that they must be of high intensity. This short, sharp, high-intensity burst of activity is a great way to increase caloric expenditure throughout the day,” he said.
He went on to share that “working at a high intensity” forces the body “to produce energy through a means called anaerobic metabolism”. This process will see your body burn calories in overdrive, which will help with fat loss.
“…so much so that it has been shown that often individuals will burn the same, if not more, calories in a 10-15 minute high-intensity workout compared to a 45-minute light-moderate intensity session, Hicks shared.
The way this kind of workout pushes your body to obtain energy also means you’ll often continue to burn calories for as much as 24 hours afterwards, he explained.
Not too shabby, hey? In the end, like with any form of exercise, you’ll get out what you put in with micro workouts. But if the data indicates that me busting my butt with cardio for less time can be more effective, I won’t need much convincing to give it a try. Just be sure to chat with a health professional before starting any new strenuous activity you may not be used to, okay?