Microworkouts: Extend Your Life & Increase Gains

Microworkouts: Extend Your Life & Increase Gains

By Ryan Jones, NASM, PTAGlobal, Spartan SGX, ISSA, PES

Microworkouts: Extend Your Life & Increase Gains

Whether you are just trying to start your health and fitness journey or you are looking to take your results to the next level, “micro workouts” could be the answer. Too often the intimidation, time commitment, and stress of a 60-90 minute gym session can lead to unstarted fitness routines or chronically fatigued and under-recovered individuals. 

What are micro workouts?

Micro workouts are short bouts of activity, generally split up and done throughout the day.

The three main benefits of micro workouts are:

  • Better recovery
  • Increased performance
  • Reduction in prolonged sedentary time (which leads to better health)

Why they work

Micro workouts are a great strategy to send targeted signals to the body that we are trying to recover. Though there is benefit to rest for recovery, these workouts can be an effective tool when applied correctly.

The micro workout method is an extremely powerful, yet simple way, to accumulate more volume or work done over time (i.e. allowing more reps, sets, and weight moved, while limiting the risks of over training, which can lead to diminishing returns on your progress). Additionally, studies show splitting up work might contribute to better adherence and/or performance at a given exercise.

Lastly, the reduction in sedentary time through micro workout application could be the least recognized but most powerful outcome that people realize. Chronic and prolonged inactivity can be the primary cause for countless chronic diseases. It should be no surprise that the research shows increasing activity throughout the day greatly improves these outcomes. 

Where should you start?

Depending on your goal or desired outcome, these workouts can look a bit different. The first step is to figure out what that goal is, and then establish a game plan from there.


The primary focus here should be to increase blood flow without causing more fatigue or damage.

This can look like:

  • Light banded isolation work
  • Balance or bodyweight exercises
  • Joint mobility & soft tissue extensibility//flexibility training
  • Walking, biking, swimming, etc…


Better recovery often leads to better performance. With this in mind, we can utilize micro workouts for enhanced performance by splitting up “main” and accessory work throughout the day such as:

  • Back squats in the AM, calf raises in the PM (or visa-versa)
  • Core or abdominal workouts separate from main work 
  • The addition of balance/coordination training
  • Mobility work (which can reduce warm up times)

Sedentary time:

This area can be a bit more broad. The primary goal should be to do these micro workouts throughout the day to break up sitting time or inactivity. Examples are:

  • Ten minute walks
  • Bodyweight exercises (air squat, push-ups, walking lunges)
  • Stretching
  • Other physical activities (yard work, recreational sports, playing with kids, etc...)


The biggest takeaway here should be that gym sessions do not always have to be one to two hours.  Whether you're someone trying to navigate ownership of your health, or just trying to take your health and fitness to the next level, micro workouts can be an amazing place to start your fitness journey, or improve your current results.