This article is verified by 2 studies/publications.
If you’re looking to get fit but can’t find the time to exercise, there’s some great news from the USA: A recent study has demonstrated that ultra-short training intervals can improve aerobic and anaerobic strength and various health markers in just a few weeks.
The University of Texas enlisted six men and five women, averaging 21 years old, to participate in an 8-week training program, consisting of 30 consecutive 4-second sprints on a bike at maximum intensity, three times a week. The initial rest periods between sets were 24 to 30 seconds, making the total training time a mere 17 minutes.
Too long; didn’t read (Summary)
- A study at the University of Texas investigated the effects of ultra-short training intervals on physical performance.
- Participants completed 30 four-second sprints on a bicycle, with an initial rest interval of 24 to 30 seconds, resulting in a training time of no more than 17 minutes.
- Over the course of eight weeks, the rest interval was reduced to 15 seconds, and the training time was less than 10 minutes.
- The results showed improvements not only in training time, but also in maximum oxygen uptake, blood volume, and maximum anaerobic power.
- Overall, ultra-short high-intensity training was found to be effective in improving fitness.
Improved performance and fitness after 8 weeks
Over the 8 weeks, the rest periods were gradually reduced to just 15 seconds between the 4-second work sets, bringing the total training time down to under 10 minutes.
This clearly shows that good results can be achieved in a short time with brief high-intensity training.
The participants experienced not only a drastic improvement in recovery time, but also significant enhancements in various health markers: maximum oxygen uptake increased by 13.2 percent, blood volume by 7.6 percent, and maximum anaerobic performance by 17.2 percent.
Old concept, new times
While high-intensity training isn’t a new concept, previous studies have shown that just 7 minutes of daily exercise can boost fitness. Circuit training can improve different health markers using simple bodyweight exercises like push-ups or squats.
The ultra-short four-second sets have only recently been specifically investigated for their effects. Although the weekly training time initially starts at around 51 minutes, similar to older circuit training studies, it’s eventually reduced to under 30 minutes per week, offering significant time savings despite the already short duration.
The study’s findings can encourage more people to engage in physical activity since the training time is so brief, explains one of the study’s authors in a press release. “We offer a workout that takes just 10 minutes in total and shows results when performed three times a week,” he comments on the study’s outcomes.
It’s important to remember that this study involved healthy 21-year-olds. If you’re considering a similar training program, make sure to adapt it to your own physical condition.
- Four-Second Power Cycling Training Increases Maximal Anaerobic Power, Peak Oxygen Consumption, and Total Blood Volume. Satiroglu R, Lalande S, Hong S, Nagel MJ, Coyle EF. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2021 Dec 1;53(12):2536-2542. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002748. PMID: 34310498.
- HIGH-INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODY WEIGHT. Klika, Brett C.S.C.S., B.S.; Jordan, Chris M.S., C.S.C.S., NSCA-CPT, ACSM HFS/APT. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal: May/June 2013 – Volume 17 – Issue 3 – p 8-13. doi: 10.1249/FIT.0b013e31828cb1e8