A small, recent study has demonstrated that four second workouts of high intensity, repeated through the day, will counter the unhealthy sedentary behaviour of many Australians. Given “sitting is the new smoking”, and sitting jobs prevail in many industries, this finding is helpful for time-poor schedules.

Inactivity is well documented to be unhealthy. It increases risks of diabetes, heart disease and high triglycerides in our blood stream. And exercise is known to be the antidote but often we don’t fit it into our daily routines. Did you know, that the 45 and up study in NSW, show that 8 hours of sedentary behaviour accumulates cardiovascular risk (e.g. risk of heart attacks) and going to the gym for 45 minutes will only get you back to baseline level of risk that you had that morning?

High intensity interval training (HIIT) has gained popularity in recent years and has been proven to work even in elite athletes. It consists of “going all out” for short periods of time. The exercise is typically high energy expenditure and simple, such as:

  • Jogging lightly for 3 minutes, then
  • Running hard for 1 minute, then
  • Repeating this cycle 4 more times

There are many popular HIIT workouts, here’s a 10 minute one by All Out Studio:

  • Close-Grip Chest Press – 30 seconds
  • Close-Grip Chest Press with Crunch – 45 seconds
  • Close-Grip Chest Press with Crunch and Leg Lowers – 75 seconds
  • Squat Hold – 45 seconds
  • Renegade Rows – 30 seconds
  • Weighted Walkout to Renegade Row – 45 seconds
  • Weighted Walkout to Renegade Row to Knee Raise and Twist – 75 seconds
  • Squat Hold – 45 seconds
  • Dumbbell Over-the-Shoulder Chops – 30 seconds
  • Squat and Over-the-Shoulder Chops – 45 seconds
  • Squat Thrust and Over-the-Shoulder Chops – 75 seconds
  • Cooldown Stretch – 45 seconds

Here’s another one endorsed by the Mayo Clinic in the US and formulated by the so-called father of interval training (Martin Gibala, author of One Minute Workout):

  • Warm up – jumping jacks for 1 min
  • Burpees for 1 min
  • Walking on the spot for 1 min
  • Jogging with high knees for 1 min
  • Walking on the spot for 1 min
  • Split lunges and jump for 1 min
  • Walking on the spot for 1 min
  • Squat jumps for 1 min
  • Cool down – walking on the spot for 1 min

Another common HIIT is sprinting, on treadmill or at a park: the workout involves jogging for 3 minutes as warm up, then sprinting as fast as you can for 20 seconds, then walking slowly for 1 minute, then repeating 10 times over.

For a slightly more spread out workout, check out this routine: https://www.self.com/gallery/hiit-cardio-workout

Overall, high intensity interval training has shown to help people lose weight, reduce blood sugar and improve overall heart health. So whether it’s 4 minutes or 4 seconds, every bit counts!


  • https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/four-second-workouts-could-undo-damaging-effects-of-being-sedantary-study-20200505-p54pu1.html
  • https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/3-hiit-workouts-for-beginners-how-to-start-interval-training/
  • https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a25424850/best-hiit-exercises-workout/
  • https://www.eatthis.com/news-quick-workout-proven-to-work/