Even Tony Horton has caved.
The man who brought us the somewhat-revolutionary P90X routine, snubbing the get-fit-quick trend by offering hour-long workouts, is out now with his "10 Minute Trainer."
"Think you can't get a real workout in 10 minutes?" the DVD set proclaims. "Think again. Now you can get Tony Horton-style results in less time -- a lot less."
But open up the DVD set and unfold the training calendar to find Tony suggests not one 10-minute workout per day, but three.
So much for that.
Tony's not the only one, though. Do a Yahoo! Search for "two minute fitness" and you'll get plenty of results. But can you get actual results? Maybe in the short term. Novice lifters who begin a weight training program make progress very quickly. Their bodies adapt quickly to the new stimulus and they make rapid strength gains as they become more "neurologically efficient." But wait, there's less: This type of high-volume program will plateau at some point. That's when the intensity (weight lifted, volume, exercises, speed) must change to continue progress.
So how much time do you really need for a good workout?
Effective workouts that include a thorough warm-up can be done in as little as 20 minutes -- if you use some unique sequencing techniques.
If you rest for 30-60 seconds only between sets, instead of the usual chat-with-spotter-take-a-drink-and-check-Blackberry routine, you'll get improved strength and some cardio to boot.
Not only that, short and intense workouts will increase metabolism and allow you to be able to recover better and be ready for the next training session. The key is to keep the intensity high and the rest periods short. And use compound movements (i.e. movements that engage multiple muscle groups at the same time). That's how Tony Horton came up with "10 Minute Trainer." He jams two or even three moves into one.
But you don't need Tony. Here's a 20-minute upper body workout -- including warm-up -- that will have you looking better in the time it takes to watch "The Simpsons." (If you want the lower body workout to match, check out the YouTube channel below.)
Warm-up (5 min):
Cable pulls, 1 set of 20
Shoulder Stretches (various angles), 1-2 min
Rotator Cuff 'Y' (lie face down on incline bench and lift light dumbbells upward in line with torso), 1x12
Workout (15 min):
Alternate between dumbbell clean & press, 3x8, and pull-ups, 3x10.
Alternate between dips, 3x15, and barbell bent over rows, 3x8.
Repeat three times.
That's it. Twenty minutes to the new you. I really should market this. But I guess I just gave it away for free.
-- Jim Smith is a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his YouTube channel at youtube.com/smittydiesel.