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Quick Workout Ideas: One Minute Exercises to Build Muscle at Home

Updated on February 22, 2019
mikejhca profile image

Michael is an online fitness writer who's an expert in strength training exercises.

How Many Minutes of Exercise Do You Need?

The amount of time you need to exercise depends on the intensity of the workout, the results you want and how fit you are now. Doing the same exercise routine over and over again is not a good way to build muscle or lose fat. You should try to improve and increase the difficulty of the workout by increasing the duration or the intensity of the exercises. If you do endurance workouts and gradually increase the duration of the workout then your workouts could last for hours.

To get the results I wanted while biking outside and running on my elliptical I had to keep increasing the duration of the exercise. I started with a short 20 minute workout once a week. Each week I tried to last longer than the last time until I was working out for 3 hours. By the time I could bike outside for 3 hours in one day or run on my elliptical at a good pace for 3 hours I had the results I wanted.

If you focus on increasing the intensity of the workout then you do not need to keep increasing the duration of the workout. It took less than 30 seconds for me to do 10 push ups. Doing 10 push ups a day was enough to increase the size of my triceps. Recently I increased the size of my forearms with wrist rollers. Doing 5 wrist rollers took 1 minute. The ab exercises I did for really strong abs took less than 2 minutes a day.

Most people should be getting at least 180 minutes of exercise a week if they want to be in good shape. Ninety if the exercises are intense. If you are only working out for a few minutes a day then try to get some more exercise by doing other things. Some of my exercise is from yard work and housework, going for walks and playing motion controlled video games.

Doing side planks as part of a bodyweight workout.
Doing side planks as part of a bodyweight workout. | Source

Strength and Size

When weight lifting for strength 8 to 12 reps is usually enough. If doing 12 reps in a row is not challenging enough then increase the difficulty of each rep. Add more weight, change your grip or change the position of your body so your muscles need to work harder. For isometric exercises like planks holding the pose for a minute or two should be enough.

If you can hold a plank for more than a minute try walking or sliding your hands out. When doing an exercise like ab rollers on your knees becomes too easy try keeping your knees off the floor. If you can not find a way to increase the difficulty without doing a large number of reps then replace it with another exercise. I often use a weighted backpack or light weights with bodyweight exercises.

Doing intense cardio workouts for a few minutes at a time is a good way to build muscle. People tend to hold back when doing cardio so they can keep going for a long time. Plan on only doing the exercise for a few minutes and don't hold back. Make sure there is enough resistance and go at a fast pace. Work at increasing your speed and your strength. I like to think of short intense cardio workouts as power workouts. Speed plus strength equals power.

I increased my strength and the size of my muscles by doing exercises that took less than 2 minutes. The exercises were difficult enough that I could not last very long. Since my muscles needed time to recover I could only do 1 to 2 sets a day. Sometimes exercising less can give you better results.

Increasing the size of my forearms took less than 2 minutes a day.
Increasing the size of my forearms took less than 2 minutes a day. | Source

One Minute Exercise Ideas

 
 
 
push ups
squats
sprinting
pull ups
calf raises
jumping rope
wrist rollers
step ups
boxing punches
bench press
leg raises
exercise bike
bicep curls
plank
burpees
renegade rows
wall sit
mountain climbers
crunches
lunges
jumping jacks
shoulder press
yoga pose
bicycle maneuver
There are lots of variations for most of the exercises in the list.
wrist rollers
wrist rollers | Source

Quick Workouts at Home

There are lots of benefits to working out at home. One benefit is that you don't waste time. You could start working out right away or after quickly changing into your workout clothes and you don't need to wait for other people to stop using the equipment. Quick workouts tend to be home workouts because going to a gym increases the amount of time it takes to do the workout.

Create a workout plan by picking exercises that will help you get the results you want. Pick a time when you want to do the exercises. Then write out or type a list of the exercises and your workout time. I have a list of exercises in a to do list on my phone that are set to repeat. When I do an exercise I check it off the daily to do list. You could also write them down on a piece of paper and put it where you will see the list.

One exercise is not really enough by itself if you want to be in good shape. Add 3 to 5 different exercises to your workout routine. You could workout your calves, quads, hamstrings, triceps, biceps, chest, abs and shoulders in less than 10 minutes a day. I just picked 5 exercises from the list and did them as a workout. The workout lasted less than 8 minutes. I set a timer for 10 minutes but I could not last that long.

When you are not exercising to improve your endurance you do not need to hold back so you can last longer. The exercises does not need to take a long time. It just needs to be challenging. Work your muscles hard for a few minutes. Then rest to give them time to recover before you do the exercises again. Eight to 10 minutes a day is enough time but you will probably need to workout 4 to 6 days a week.

Doing diamond push ups as part of my quick workout.
Doing diamond push ups as part of my quick workout. | Source

Short Workouts vs Long Workouts

Are short intense workouts as good as longer workouts? To get in shape I started doing long workouts. I gained a lot of muscle and lost fat. One of the things I like about long workouts is that you only need to do them once or twice a week. You can increase your strength and endurance but you need to limit the intensity of the workout so you can last longer.

Short workouts can be a lot more intense than longer workouts. So they are better for increasing your strength and bulking up. I don't need to workout for 3 hours to get results. I can get a good workout in less than 10 minutes. The disadvantage is that quick workouts should be daily workouts. I went from working out once a week to working out almost every day.

Long workouts are better for burning calories and you need to do long workouts to improve your endurance. With interval training you can alternate the intensity of the exercises so you can last longer. Alternate between intense exercise and less intense exercise. I use interval training when I want to improve my strength and my endurance or when I want to control the length of the workout. You can make short workouts longer or long workouts shorter.

While doing short workouts at home I was able to do 9 finger push ups while wearing a weighted backpack. While doing long workouts outside I was able to bike long distances to provincial parks with beaches. I increased the size of my arm muscles doing short workouts. I increased the size of my leg muscles doing long workouts. If I had to choose between short or long workouts I would pick long workouts. I prefer training for endurance goals.

For a long workout I biked 60 km to the beach in the picture. It took 3 hours.
For a long workout I biked 60 km to the beach in the picture. It took 3 hours. | Source

Results in Less than 10 Minutes

Short intense workouts can be as good or better than longer less intense workouts. I got the results I wanted by doing 1 minute exercises at home. Doing an exercise for 1 to 2 minutes a day was enough to increase my strength and the size of my muscles. To work most of my muscles I did 5 exercises. The workouts took less than 10 minutes a day but working out for 8 to 10 minutes may not be enough.

After doing long workouts that lasted for over 2 hours I switched to really short workouts. I went from trying to workout for 3 hours to trying to finish the workout as fast as possible. Quick workouts that last less than 10 minutes are good for daily workouts. I recommend doing them 4 to 5 days a week. Longer workouts are good as a weekly workout. I recommend doing a long workout once or twice a week. When doing a long workout try to exercise for over an hour.

Get results faster by doing quick workouts most of the time. Don't just do quick workouts or long workouts. Do both and do a mix of cardio and strength training. Use interval training to make the longer workouts more intense.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2019 Michael H

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