Sometimes you need (or just want) a ten minute workout. I think the guys over at Mind Pump (funny fitness podcast) would call these ‘trigger sessions’. Sort of micro workouts intended to offer a quick hit of stimulation, but nothing too intensive. Not sure if my workouts would be considered the same thing, but I like the term, so I’m using it.

Given the fact that most of us spend hours sitting each day, it’s beneficial to add small, frequent bursts of movement to wake up our body. This in contrast to exclusively engaging in only one or two intense workouts each week, with all remaining hours spent virtually motionless. That’s why I use these sessions. Well, that, and the following reasons:

  • I’m sometimes lazy, and 10 minutes is less than 11, 12, or even 20 minutes.
  • Alternatively, maybe I do really want to exercise, but happen to be at a stage where I need to reduce volume. Ten minutes lets me do something, just not too much.
  • I’m short on time. Something is better than nothing.
  • Again, I’m lazy. 

THE LAYOVER: Perform 10 minutes of suitcase carries with a kettlebell or dumbbell.

Suitcase carries are similar to farmers walks, except the weight is loaded asymmetrically (one side heavier than the other). This lopsided loading requires you to maintain an upright torso, fighting the urge to be pulled down by the weighted side. If you have the opportunity, this is a great workout to do in the backyard, barefoot, under some vitamin D delivering sunshine. Try to keep a steady pace with a solid posture for the entire 10 minutes, switching hands periodically (say every 50 metres or every 30 seconds). I personally use a roughly 60 lb kettlebell for my suitcase carries. 

This routine isn’t meant to blast you. It’s a little extra work you can throw in, especially on an ‘off’ day. For me personally, it allows me to feel like I’ve worked out, without really overtaxing my body. 

BAMBI LEGS: This is so easy it hurts. One plate (135 lbs) barbell squats: 3 sets of 20 reps. That’s it. That’s the workout. Get in. Get out.

BACK TO BASICS: To be honest, this one takes longer than ten minutes, because a little extra recovery is required between sets. That said, the total time actually moving is less than ten minutes.

The goal here is five supersets (back to back exercises) of 10 pull-ups and 20 push-ups (for a total of 50 pull-ups and 100 push-ups).

I’ll often perform this routine while cooking dinner. It’s a simple way to add a little exercise in without disrupting my day. For example, using my recent hamburger recipe, my session might look something like this…

  • Perform set #1
    • Chop some onions
  • Perform set #2
    • Prepare spices, form hamburger patties.
  • Perform set #3
    • Warm up BBQ.
  • Perform set #4
    • Place burgs on BBQ
  • Perform set #5 (final set)
    • Finish cooking the burgers, enjoy dinner.

These are but three potential workouts you can use. The main point is, sometimes all you really need is a quick burst of movement. It doesn’t need to be planned days in advance, and it doesn’t even have to involve changing into dedicated workout clothes. The fewer hurdles you encounter, the more likely you’ll actually engage in these activities. A few extra push-ups sprinkled in here and there will go a long way. Don’t overthink it, just give it a try.

Don’t forget to wash your hands after doing the push-ups!

We’re now on the eighth day of our Maritime vacation. This is the longest break from the barbell I’ve had in the past seven months. I’m a creature of habit, and I thrive off momentum. Vacations sometimes worry me because they can provide a sufficient interruption of routine. Although I welcome the break from heavy squats and deadlifts, I want to ensure when I return home I quickly revert back to my regular protocol.

This is why it’s so important for me to keep up a disciplined routine on the trip. Not because two weeks without exercise starts to get a little generous from a recovery standpoint, but primarily to ensure my habit ‘muscle’ doesn’t atrophy.

On that note, I’ll share this quick workout I’ll be undertaking today. Nothing complicated or intense. Just a little push, pull, and hinge. My wife and I have been doing tremendous amounts of walking (especially over hilly terrain), so I’m less concerned with adding any leg-dominant exercises. If we weren’t walking hills so much, perhaps I’d toss in some goblet squats, too.

Today’s workout, repeating the following for five rounds:

– 5 Pull-Ups
– 20 Push-Ups
– 20 Kettlebell Swings

I forgot to mention I brought our 35 lb kettlebell from home. It’s versatile and perfect for a road trip. Unfortunately a bit lighter than I’d like for swings, but the focus for these two weeks is lower weights with higher repetitions, so it’ll more than suffice for my purpose.

But there’s no pull-up bar!

One issue while training away on the road can be finding a spot to perform pull-ups. Although far from ideal, there’s a spot I can hang underneath the cottage rental’s back deck. Performing the pulls from this spot is a bit more difficult on my grip, but that just means it’s an opportunity for my body to try to adapt to a changing environment. I’ll aim to post a picture of where I’m completing them. In fact, I may try and regularly post pictures of ‘unconventional pull-up spots’ when I come across them.

No excuses and all that good stuff.

Update. Later that morning…