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A Researched-Backed 12-Minute Workout

It's the perfect one-exercise workout.

A Researched-Backed 12-Minute Workout

Post summary

  • Scientists recently had a group of athletes do just one exercise in the gym.
  • They'd do the exercise for 12 minutes twice a week. That's it.
  • Yet this single-exercise workout significantly improved strength, power, and performance.
  • We're diving into the details of this all-powerful, single-exercise workout and how to do it well so you can run, ruck, lift, and live better.


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The post

Most exercise studies aren't very practical. They examine obscure protocols and measure in ways that aren't meaningful to the average person.

But now and then, a study comes along that is awesomely practical. It shows significant benefits from something we can all do and fold into our lives.

I recently came across one of these studies. It's already changed how I approach my workouts—particularly on those inevitable days when I'm pressed for time and can't get a "full" workout in.

Researchers in the U.K. recruited a group of student-athletes and had them limit their gym training.

The students athletes did just one exercise for 12 minutes total. That was the entire gym workout—one exercise, conducted for 12 minutes. And that 12 minutes included rest breaks.

They did that just twice a week. That's 24 total minutes in the gym per week.

After six weeks, the athletes:

  • Improved their squat strength by 11 percent.
  • Improved their jump height by 15 percent.
  • Improved their explosive strength by 19 percent.

Those are wild improvements for such little exercise in a group of people who were already active. And those improvements matter.

  • Have a stronger more powerful lower body carries over to an active life—making you better at sports ranging from golf to tennis to trail running and rucking.
  • They're also supremely relevant for living long and well:
    • One study found older people with more lower body power were less likely to die or be hospitalized over a six-year period.
    • Another found that a stronger and more powerful lower body reduced the risk of death even in people who were overweight, a phenomenon the researchers (oddly) call the "fat but powerful paradox."
    • A data set of nearly 2 million healthy people showed that those with the strongest legs were 14 percent less likely to die.

The workout

The exercise was a surprising one.