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Sure, it's not hard to find definitions, but I'm finding them contradictory (thanks, Internet).

Microworkouts - most efficient way to benefit:

Micro-workouts, also referred to as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises, involve engaging in several sets of short bursts of exercise, followed by a rest period. Usually, sessions last between 10 and 30 minutes in total, including warm up and cool down.

Clear enough - but elsewhere, I find Microworkouts at home and Benefits of Microworkouts:

Microworkouts are quick strength moves that you do throughout the course of the day. They can take a few seconds or a few minutes, they can be structured or unstructured [...]. These brief, at home workouts don’t seem like much while you’re doing them, but the effects compound over time.

Armed with the insight [that] no workout is too short, and any kind of movement delivers a health and fitness benefit, you can elevate microworkouts to the forefront of your fitness plan. Reject the all-or-nothing mentality that causes you to fail with fitness commitments because you get too busy with work and life. We all have time for a set or two or three of deep squats during the workday or during leisure time.

At my age/health, I'm not up for Tabata-pushups. :) So the second definition feels better. But I'm still not clear on what you have to do to get any benefits from it - do X low-intensity pushups (well, I'm at the wall-pushup stage) divided over 10 hours? Or do Z high-intensity pushups every 2 hours, reaching the point of failure each time?

Granted, MarksDailyApple proposes that any activity is good, as it breaks up periods of inactivity. So by benefit, I'm really thinking of getting stronger/making progress towards harder exercises (like getting from wall-pushups to, you know, actual pushups). It's not clear to me how that type of microworkouts, will work for progression, assuming it does.

I will admit I don't really understand the whole equation for sets/reps/intensity/time yet, so this is just another solution to an equation that already confuses me. :)

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  • I'm surprised there's not even a tag for microworkouts, it seems to be trending a lot - maybe someone can create one? – John C May 10 at 15:44
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    The latter sounds a lot like "greasing the groove", coined by Pavel Tsatsouline, which is used to train your nervous system into being able to complete heavier lifts. I am not sure about the validity of this, although it did help me complete my first pull-up, so I won't be able to write a complete answer. However, googling for greasing the groove may help. – Avatrin May 10 at 17:27
  • Please dont use code blocks for regular text. – Thomas Markov May 10 at 17:57
  • @ThomasMarkov I thought I did use BlockQuotes - but I then put newlines in, as it scrolled off the screen, maybe that converted it to a Code Block. Wups. – John C May 10 at 18:24
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    @Avatrin I'm not sure if he's right or not, but the guy at the Red Delta Project site, claims that GTG is not the same as microworkouts. In a video where he talks about microworkouts: youtube.com/watch?v=uh5agTrEb1Q – John C May 19 at 0:27
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Strength can be viewed as the product of muscle mass and neurological efficiency, with muscle mass being the most important factor in the long term (1). These two factors are trained differently. For increasing muscle mass working each muscle 2-3 a week is optimal. The muscles need sufficient rest to grow. Neurological efficiency benefits from more frequent training (eg. GTG). If you do push-ups every day you get really good at push-ups.

We therefore have to balance these two aspects. For general health I think you should combine high intensity strength training 2-3 a week with (daily) microworkouts. However the microworkouts should not be challenging. Instead they should merely practice a movement pattern so that you get good at it.

Say you do heavy bulgarian split squats 2x a week. Doing a few bodyweight or light goblet squats (2) throughout the day will have minimal impact on your recovery and will accomplish:

  • Break up periods of inactivity. Prolonged sitting and inactivity is bad for the health.
  • Benefit your mobility.
  • Practice the squat movement pattern.

Likewise say you do heavy deadlifts 2x a week. Doing a few light kettlebell deadlifts troughout the day will have minimal impact on your recovery and will accomplish much of the same as above except for practicing the hinge pattern instead of the squat pattern.

Likewise a few pushups a day may be a good idea.

Some other ideas:

  • One legged unweighted deadlift.
  • Plank and sideplanks. I like to do these against the cabinet in my office or hand rails in the park.
  • One armed push-ups against hand rails.
  • Facepulls using elastic bands.
  • Rows using elastic bands (attached to the cabinet in my office).
  • Climbing the stairs fast in order to get the heart rate up. Good for the heart.

I think everyone owe it to themselves and their employer to try to squeeze in a fair amount of microworkouts each day in the office. It takes minimal time and promotes health (which prevents sick leave) and increases mental focus.

(1) Factors in strength

(2) A Set Of Goblet Squats Per Day Keeps The Doctor Away

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