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I have a desk job which involves a frankly ridiculous number of phone meetings. As a generally hyperactive person, I take advantage of my wireless headset and pace back and forth, do dips using my office chair, go to the restroom, etc.

I recently had the idea that, once each meeting, I would do 10 pushups, something I can do without difficulty. My thought was that if I do this each meeting, I would end up doing somewhere between 60-120 pushups over the course of a day, with about 30-60 minutes between each "set". My question is, would there be any benefit to "working out" like this? Given that each set doesn't stress the muscles so much, would the compounded fatigue have any benefit?

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Cure for insomnia. –  BigHomie Nov 13 '13 at 19:53
Why only 10 pushups? Why not go the threshold of becoming difficult, or something like that? –  Kate Nov 13 '13 at 20:28
@Kate Two thoughts behind that: (1) do something that won't cause me to max out each set, and (2) do something that won't put me too out of breath, as I am supposed to be able to talk on the phone if necessary, and it would just be weird if it sounded like I was running. The exact number isn't as important; I'm more curious about the benefit of mini-exercises. –  eykanal Nov 13 '13 at 21:12
They'll burn more calories than not doing them. However, unless you tax your body in some way, you're not asking it to adapt. While the exact number doesn't matter, how "mini" the exercise set is relative to your capacity does matter. –  Kate Nov 13 '13 at 22:42
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2 Answers

This sounds a lot like Greasing the Groove by Pavel Tsatsouline to be. As explained at this link, it is about training the movement patterns and efficiency, especially around bodyweight exercises. If 10 push-ups is 50-80% and you're not going to failure or overtraining you should be good. I'm not sure if the compounded fatigue is supposed to have any benefit, but I could see how training movement patterns could provide significant benefits.

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Absolutely yes!

One, it constantly elevates your heart rate, burning more calories.

Two, the pushups work your entire body (increasing the reps over time will be ideal as it allows your body to get stronger).

Three, do that everyday and people will start thinking you're on steroids because of the consistent energy level you'll develop.

Four, as long as you're not pushing your body to the max every time, you shouldn't feel any (much) fatigue.

Five, this will allow you to incorporate the exercises in your regular workout sessions and train your body to want to workout constantly.

Awesome! Go for it.

Mind your nutrition as doing that doesn't give you the license to have a bad diet.

Also, don't make them substitutes for your regular workout sessions.

Now, drop down and give me 10 push-ups :).

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