The Hardest 10-Minute Workout You Can Do to Boost Cardio and Build Strength

High-intensity, compound movements offer many benefits for improving your heart health and overall fitness.
Image Credit: SimonSkafar/E+/GettyImages

If you're looking to fit a workout into your day but don't have the time to hit the gym for 60 minutes, you may be wondering: Do shorter workouts get the job done? The answer, thankfully, is yes!

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Quick workouts with a high intensity can produce real results. HIIT workouts, which alternate between max-effort bursts of exercise and short periods of rest, have a ton of benefits including improved cardio fitness, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, preserved muscle mass during weight loss and a higher metabolism for longer post-workout.

What's more, bouts of HIIT lasting 15 minutes or less were linked to improved cardio fitness and heart function, according to a March 2021 review in the ‌Journal of Physiology.

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So how do you do it? Well, in order to reap the benefits of a short workout, you need to be willing to push yourself harder than usual. This advanced 10-minute workout involves maximum work — using compound, high-intensity movements — with minimal recovery to not only boost your cardio fitness, but build strength as well. And in such a short amount of time, you'll feel amazing and ready to take on the rest of your day.

How to do it:‌ Perform each exercise listed below for 40 seconds. Rest 20 seconds before beginning the next exercise. Complete the sequence twice.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1 medium or heavy weight

  • An exercise mat is optional, but recommended

1. Sprawl With Push-Up

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  1. Start standing, feet hip-width apart.
  2. Place your hands on the ground slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, then hop your feet back into a high plank. Your body should make a straight line from your heels through your hips to the top of your head.
  3. Perform a push-up by bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body and lower your body until your chest reaches the floor (or as low as you can comfortably go).
  4. Press into your palms and push the floor away from you to come back up to a high plank, still keeping your body in one straight line.
  5. Hop your feet forward, then stand back up.
  6. Repeat.

2. Weighted Squat to High Pull

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  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your dumbbell placed on the floor between your feet.
  2. Perform a squat by keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back straight, brace your core and push your hips back and down until your thighs are parallel to the ground (or as low as you can comfortably go).
  3. Grab the dumbbell with an overhand grip.
  4. As you return to a standing position, raise the dumbbell up, keeping it close to your body, and power through your legs, glutes and back to explosively pull the weight under your chin with your elbow high.
  5. Return to your starting position by sitting your hips back into the squat position and lowering the weight back to the floor.
  6. Repeat, alternating hands as you go.

3. Dumbbell Swing

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  1. Hold the dumbbell vertically with both hands toward the top of the weight, and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Your arms should be straight, and the dumbbell should rest below your stomach.
  2. Keeping your back flat, bend your knees slightly, and push your hips back, swinging the weight between your legs. Keep your arms fully extended.
  3. Thrust your hips forward by engaging your glutes and swing the weight up to shoulder height.
  4. Allow the dumbbell to swing back between your legs and repeat.

4. Weighted Tap Back

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  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell horizontally with both hands on either end in front of your chest.
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees and lower down into a quarter squat.
  3. Keeping your knees bent, step your left foot back.
  4. Return your left foot to the starting position and repeat with your right foot.
  5. Continue alternating.

5. Weighted Squat Jack

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  1. Start standing in a neutral position with your feet close to one another. Hold your weight horizontally with both hands on either end underneath your chin.
  2. Hop your feet out a little wider than shoulder-width apart and land in a low squat position.
  3. Hop your feet back to your starting position.
  4. Repeat.

More Quick Workouts You Can Do When You're Short on Time

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