The New York Times has a new super quick workout routine that you can do anywhere, even if you can’t make it to the gym today. I tried it, though, and… hey, wait, am I the only one actually doing these?
Short, intense workouts seem like a good idea on paper. If you’re not already working out, it’s probably because you feel like you don’t have time to get to the gym. But does anyone do these short workouts? Sure, I have nine minutes and some floor space, but do I want to get my work clothes sweaty? And if I’m going to the trouble of changing, why wouldn’t I just head out the door for a run, or turn on Sworkit or Nike Training Club and get something a little closer to a full workout?
After all, the seven-minute workout that got the New York Times started on their repertoire of super short workouts has an odd history. It was published in a scientific journal, but that doesn’t mean any scientists tested whether it was easy to stick to or whether it gave the promised results. Instead, it was designed using hints from previous research, aiming to give people a mini strength workout at a fast enough pace to count as cardio. The designers were coaches at a corporate wellness institute. In other words, people that your boss pays to make you exercise.
We love to talk about these short workouts, but I’m not seeing any evidence that people care to get in a quick couple of minutes of strength or circuit training. The new nine-minute workout dropped earlier this month, but I’ve scoured social media and found almost nobody enthusing or complaining about what it’s like to do this workout—just post after post sharing the fact that it exists.
So, How Is the Nine Minute Workout?
First of all, the nine minute workout actually takes 11 minutes. I just want you to know that going in. There are nine exercises, though, and you do each for one minute. Here’s the structure:
One minute of squats, one minute of push-ups, one minute of mountain climbers.
Rest one minute.
One minute of forearm plank, one minute of jumping split squats, one minute of single-leg hip bridges.
Rest one minute.
One minute of burpees with push-ups, geez, hardcore. One minute of single leg toe touches. One minute of leg raises.
This seems like an exercise program that doesn’t know what it wants to be. The NYT touts it as a strength program, but then says it’s designed according to the “principles of high-intensity interval training—known as H.I.I.T.”
It ends up being a hybrid that doesn’t accomplish either. If you want to build strength by fatiguing your legs doing split squats, you’ll be done before the minute is out. But if you try to stretch out the exercises to fill a full minute, you’ll have to do them at a slower pace than HIIT requires.
And that’s exactly how this workout went. One minute felt way too long for some exercises, too short for others, and overall it didn’t really feel like a strength session or an interval workout. It was fine for what it was, though! A little something that challenges your body in a much better way than sitting at your desk or on your couch for the same amount of time. Still, if that’s your goal, you can find better exercise plans than this awkward one.