How To Do Micro Workouts (And Benefits)

Date: October 28th, 2022
Author: Billie Bradshaw

In this video, Mark explores the ins and outs of micro workouts. A micro workout really is what it sounds like; it's the idea of doing several smaller (micro) workouts throughout the day rather than dedicating a full hour or more to a gym visit.

One that he suggests is push-ups using a countertop or wall. Simply doing a single set of 35 or so 4 or 5 times throughout the day. When doing this, we give ourselves more time to rest between sets to recover and really give each set the effort it deserves so we can maintain quality form.

This approach can help with overall health by reducing insulin resistence. This approach also reduces sweating, which means you can do this anytime, anywhere. Watch the full video to get the details.

yeah one strategy that I've used quite effectively is to not go to the gym and just bang out you know five sets of 35 press-ups benchpress ups in my house so I have like I have a kitchen counter that's you know whatever height it is I don't go down and do the full pushup but I might lean against the counter and do 35 or 40 or 50 of those five times in a day but but not five times in 20 minutes but five times over the course of a day so I might have an hour rest in between them and that's a very efficient and effective way of getting a workout done without having to go to the gym and but giving you sort of a complete recovery in between sets there's a whole new sort of philosophy about training art and that is maybe you take longer rests in between your sets so in the gym instead of taking a minute or 90 seconds in between sets you might even take three or four minutes now in between sets and and so one way to manifest that throughout the course of the day if you don't go to the gym and doing these multiple sets of say air squats and push-ups in your house just whenever you think about it you could set a timer or you could just whenever you think well I think I'll bang out a bunch of push-ups right now or a bunch of pull-ups if I have a bar or a bunch of air squats these add up to a full workout over the course of a day so rather than going to the gym and spending 45 minutes or an hour doing a concentrated focused workout and then maybe getting a little bit too tired because you probably did too much now you spread that same amount of work out over an eight-hour day or a ten-hour day and do it more one activity at a time with lots of rest in between I think it has the same sort of net effect on your muscle growth and your strength your power and your you're recovering more fully in between so it's probably a more legitimate way if you think about it these micro workouts are more legitimate way of of avoiding this sort of overtraining black hole that we fall into if we're just like wedded to going to the gym for an hour and I have to be there for an hour and I can't leave in 50 minutes you know it's got to be a full hour of work right yeah this active couch potato syndrome is you know I think a lot of people are swaging their guilt by saying I went to the gym for an hour and now I'm allowed to sit at my desk and and and you know not do much and you know overeat because I've earned it because of the time I spend at the gym well another way to kind of maybe get the best of both worlds is to again spread that work out over the course of the day micro workout set here a set there throughout the day walking around in between I mean I try to make phone calls when I'm walking to lunch for instance or if I'm walking back from lunch or even if I just take a 45 minute break and I walk outside that's when I might make a business call but I'm walking I'm moving I'm trying to find ways to move I don't have a chair at my desk at the house at all and now I don't even have a leaning post I used to have a leaning post so I just hate either have a stand-up desk or a complete low down sit desk so I have a desk where I can kneel on the ground sit cross-legged on the ground because it's a whole new realm of stretches that we call archetypal rest postures that you can literally be the stretching fashion and connective tissue and ligaments while you're working because of the way you are kneeling or side sitting or cross-legged on the floor not on a chair but just these what we call archetypal rest postures that are sort of ancestral in nature before we had chairs before we had beds and sofas and things our ancestors where you're standing or sitting or squatting or side sitting or cross-legged or whatever and those have a very beneficial effect on our health we're you're suggesting as a downside that would be that you can't get bigger if you do these micro workouts and I would suggest that you that you can get bigger doing these micro workouts that one way to look at this is that you just you've taken the hour that you would have spent doing a workout in which you might have done 15 total sets combined of whatever you gonna do and instead of compressing it into an hour now you spread it out over eight hours you're still doing the work the muscles are still getting the benefit of the overload but you now you're allowing ATP to recycle itself fully so you some people say it takes three minutes for ATP to fully recycle so when you're doing a three sets of say bench presses you know in the first set and then you rest 90 seconds or maybe you know whatever maybe two minutes it's not quite enough to recover the ATP and then by the time you do the third set you haven't fully recovered as well now the thought is well now you if you fully recover that you're getting the benefit of maximum work and by the way you're not sweating because that you know 35 seconds or 40 seconds it took you to do that set isn't enough to generate the kind of heat that you're going to sweat so you could do it with your you literally could do it the workspace with a coat and tie on if you had to run a bet so you're not you're not sweating as much and you're not accumulating this this overload and this potential for you know doing a little bit too much just because you had an hour that you had to fill with with workout and I see people in the gym who spend two hours in the gym and are you know hitting it hard the whole time and leave exhausted and then come back and do it again the day after that you know day after day after day and there's a point at which you just stopped improving my whole goal for going to the gym is to get stronger and fitter and more powerful and and burn more fat I don't want to just go for the sake of doing work at the gym and not benefiting from it so I asked myself what's the least you know what's the minimum of effective dose of work and one way to do that is to spread that work out over the course of the day yeahit's if we look at the ancestral patterns again they're you know they're doing a little bit of something all day long with with with rest periods thrown in there so one of the metabolic effects of that is you you you don't drop into this insulin resistance state which you can achieve in as little as twenty minutes of inactivity if you're sitting still you can you can demonstrate some amount of insulin resistance and over time that can be that can accumulate so now you're you're constantly sort of just just on the edge of ramping up your metabolism a little bit enough to certainly improve insulin sensitivity because the work that you're doing is more high-intensity for shorter periods of time short bursts of time you know some some people would say I made a mistake and I ate you know way too much of this chocolate cake you know what do I do and and some some some of the people in our space would say well just do 100 air squats right now you know the the Glueck you'll burn the glucose off right away and and you'll get back to that that metabolic efficiency and metabolic flexibility that you were that you're seeking you