Is 13 minutes long enough for a workout?

What can you do in 13 minutes? Just 780 seconds. A short workout, perhaps?

Not a lot I’m guessing. You can hardly watch a show in 13 minutes, you probably can’t cook dinner, some of us would barely be able to load a washing machine in that amount of time.

However, new research has arrived that has said a 13 minute resistance workout can result in you building and generating great load of strength. (Ok, truth be told, you might have to do it more than once).

New research in exercise

Researchers at CUNY Lehman College and other institutions set out to determine the impact various set and repetition combos would have on strength, endurance and hypertrophy.

The researchers divided the men in to three groups and had them all perform and exercise routine including 8-12 reps of just seven upper and lower body exercises. One group performed five sets of each exercise with 90 seconds rest – a high volume approach that had them in the gym for over an hour. Their second group, the medium volume done three sets of each exercise, taking 40 minutes to complete. Finally, the low volume group performed just one set of each exercise – doing a short workout and getting them out the gym in around 13 minutes.

Each group done this three times per week for eight weeks and, not surprisingly, all three groups got stronger and improved their muscular endurance.

However, the big surprise was that there were no significant difference among the groups in strength and endurance gains. The quick in-and-out lifters had the same improvements in strength as those who spent five times as long in the gym.

What was the big difference – those who spent longer in the gym got “thicker”. Those lifting for over an hour saw bigger muscular size gains. The more sets the bigger muscles, but strength was similar.

Summary of workout groups:

High volume – Five sets of 8-12 reps – took about an hour
Medium Volume – Three sets of 8-12 reps – took about 40 minutes
Low Volume – One set of 8-12 reps – took about 13 minutes

Each group performed the same seven exercises, each group rested 90 seconds between exercises.

What can you take from this?

– Long distance runner, biker, or endurance athlete? You can make strength and endurance gains without having to add lots of muscle weight with a short workout.

– If you’re trying to lift your kids, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to get stronger (admittedly, 13 minutes is a very short workout but it gives you a start point).

– In short, if you want strength gains, lift heavy weights.

It remains that the study did not take in to account food intake (science, just wants to change one factor at a time to test the difference on that factor alone) so we expect that the food intake was thought out beforehand as well (in order that none of the groups were restricted). However, it goes without saying, lifting heavy weights, increases your strength – even if you only do it for 13 minutes.

We usually take clients individual circumstances in to account when thinking about macro breakdown. We would normally recommend a healthy adult would have a protein intake of at least 1 gram per pound of bodyweight Рcarbs and fats might be broken up differently depending on your lifestyle, job, activity levels etc. Our FREE TRIAL might help which helps you calculate your TDEE.