The 6-Minute Sweat Workout
In a world where the demands of deadlines, long commutes, and loved ones in need of dinner loom alongside the pervasive myth that exercising for less than an hour isn’t worth the trouble, speedy workouts that truly work are a blessing.
Welcome to our six-move circuit, which can expand from just six minutes to 12 or 18 to suit your schedule and fitness level. High on intensity, low on equipment, and variable in impact, this workout is designed with the time-crunched in mind. But the benefits far exceed the convenience.
Fast workouts improve power — your ability to complete a lot of work in a short period of time — says workout designer Artemis Scantalides, founder of Iron Body Training Systems in Las Vegas. And power, she explains, is an oft-neglected skill essential to both athletics and everyday life, whether you’re chasing down a forehand shot or running to catch a bus.
Scantalides created this workout around time constraints rather than a prescribed number of reps. In this way, you’ll work as hard as you can (with great form, of course) for a set amount of time, and then you’ll rest briefly before moving again.
A single round takes six minutes, but if you have the time and energy to do more, you can add rounds as your fitness and schedule allow.
If you choose to count your reps, you can try to increase them from round to round or workout to workout. Or you can choose not to count reps at all and simply do your best. Rest assured that you’re getting fitter anyway — six minutes at a time.
Select the appropriate work period, rest period, and number of rounds for your workout from the chart above. Beginner exercisers will use a 1:1 work-to-rest ratio. More experienced exercisers will spend more time working and less time resting within each minute of the workout.
Begin with a short, dynamic warm-up (such as the one at The Perfect Warm-Up) or spend five minutes on a cardio machine of your choice.
Then, when you’re ready, start a timer (or use an exercise-timing app like Rounds or a clock with a second hand) and complete as many good-form reps as possible of the first exercise for the duration of the selected work period. Rest for the remainder of the minute and then move on to the next move. Complete exercises 1 through 6 in order, then return to exercise 1 to begin again, if desired.
Repeat until you’ve completed the chosen number of rounds, resting the same amount of time between rounds as between exercises.
To progress over time, try to complete more reps of each move each time you do the workout. You can do this in one of two ways:
1) Go faster within the same work period without sacrificing great form. For instance, if you complete 10 burpees in 30 seconds your first week, try for 12 reps in that same amount of time in your second week.
2) Progress to a longer work period; the tradeoff is less time to rest between rounds.