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Can Doing 5-Minute Workouts Make You Fit?

Today, a lot of people are unable to exercise regularly due to a hectic schedule. With that in mind, fitness trainers have designed workout programs that you can complete in five minutes or less. But, can doing five-minute workouts lead to a physically fit body?

5-Minute Workouts and their Effects 

1. The Tabata Training

The Tabata workout is one of the most popular training programs that you can complete in a short period – excluding a warm-up and a cool down.

In a study done by Dr. Izumi Tabata, he compared the effects of an intense four-minute workout to a steady-state cardio workout (60 minutes). According to the research, the group doing the quick workouts has greater gains in terms of anaerobic capacity and VO2 max.

Aside from that, intense workouts can also provide the so-called “afterburn” effect. This simply means that your body is still burning calories even hours after the intense exercise.

Because of these results, a lot of experts conclude that doing shorter yet more extreme activities could lead to more calories burned by your body.

So, how do you perform a Tabata workout? Basically, the main concept of this training program is to do an all-out exercise for 20 seconds followed by a 10-second rest. From there, you have to repeat the process eight times to complete a 4-minute workout.

Typically, the Tabata program involves full-body workouts such as cockroach, squat jack, single-leg burpee, and rotating jump lunge.

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Programs

Aside from the Tabata workout, you can also do a five-minute workout that involves high-intensity interval training (HIIT). As its name implies, you have to give your maximum effort in these kinds of activities. Aside from that, there is an alternating bouts of high and low-intensity exercises. Thus, the concept behind the Tabata training and HIIT is the same. The only difference is that the HIIT programs are more versatile. As such, you can find workout programs designed for longer periods – around 20 minutes or more.

The most common examples of HIIT workouts are sprinting, spinning, and swimming. But, you can also do bodyweight exercises such as burpees and lunges.

The Keys to Success

As presented, short workouts can offer various perks. However, you have to apply the following keys to effectively reap its benefits.

  • Intensity. For successful 5-minute workouts, you need to put all your energy in the activity. As presented by various studies, an activity’s intensity is far more valuable than the duration.
  • Warm-up. Basically, a warm-up and a cooldown are vital for injury-free workouts. This is especially true for all-out exercises. In fact, Dr. Tabata structured his program with a 10-minute warm-up to prepare the body for an intense activity.
  • Always follow proper form. Although these exercises are brief, they can exhaust your body. As such, you have to be conscious of your form to avoid injuries. You may not notice it, but your posture will be affected once the fatigue kicks in. Furthermore, if you feel any kind of pain, it is best to stop your activity.
  • Rest and recovery. Lastly, rest days are crucial components of any fitness regimen because it allows your body to heal and fortify itself. Thus, you should always monitor your body for any signs of too much exercise. As much as possible, give your body at least one or two days per week to recuperate.

Overall, five-minute workouts are great addition to your fitness routine, especially if you want to burn calories and get some of the benefits of cardio exercises. However, a short workout may not be effective if you’re aiming for other fitness goals – like building muscle or significant weight loss.

Keep in mind that some types of exercises require more time to get optimum results. Take strength training for example. Typically, a five-minute period is not enough to exhaust and damage your muscles. Another example is the euphoric feeling we get during exercises. According to studies, your body will normally release the feel-good hormones (endorphins) after exercising for about 10 to 30 minutes. Lastly, you will burn more fats or calories if you choose longer yet intense workouts. Thus, the ideal workout period is around 20 to 40 minutes.

Nonetheless, a brief workout can certainly provide some benefits, especially if you are new to exercising. Remember, four or five minutes is still better than nothing!


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