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These 5-Minute 'Micro-Workouts' Will Help You Build Your Best Body Yet

Maximize your gains when you have minimal time to spare.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

Effort, intensity, and making every repetition count becomes crucial when you're limited to just five minutes for a workout. Though it may seem brief, this time window is potent for achieving weight-loss goals and building your best body yet. I've curated some of the best five-minute "micro-workouts" to maximize your gains when you have minimal time to spare.

When you're short on time, each rep counts double. These quick routines incorporate proven techniques like EMOM (every minute, on the minute) and AMRAPs (as many rounds as possible) to torch fat and build muscle in a flash. Prioritize compound movements that hit multiple muscle groups at once for maximum efficiency.

Make every minute count with these power-packed workouts. Keep reading to learn all about the best five-minute micro-workouts to sculpt your dream body.

Workout #1: As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP)

In this five-minute AMRAP workout, the objective is to complete as many rounds as possible within the allocated time (five minutes). Pace yourself, but sustain high-intensity movements to kickstart your metabolism and torch calories. You'll complete the given reps for the first exercise, then immediately perform the reps for the second.

1. Kettlebell Thrusters

Thrusters are an excellent compound exercise for maximizing weight loss and sculpting your ideal physique in a limited timeframe. Blending a squat with an overhead press ignites calorie burn and elevates metabolism. Engaging various muscle groups such as the quadriceps, glutes, shoulders, and triceps simultaneously, thrusters efficiently build strength and incinerate fat.

Hold a pair of kettlebells in a front rack position, standing shoulder-width apart. Squat, and then press the dumbbells overhead while driving with your legs to stand. Lower them back to shoulder height as you descend into the next squat. Perform five reps for the AMRAP.

2. Med Ball Side-to-Side Slam

Side-to-side slams are a fantastic choice for honing your midsection while explicitly targeting your obliques and, more importantly, your transverse abdominis—those crucial muscles that cross your torso. This variation adds extra movement to each repetition, ramping up the intensity and demanding more effort for execution.

To execute med ball side-to-side slams, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a non-bouncing medicine ball at chest level. Engage your core, shift your weight to one side, and rotate your torso as you extend the ball overhead. Slam the ball down to the outside of that side foot, bending slightly at the knees. Next, ​​switch directions, rotating your torso to the opposite side and slamming the ball down to the outside of the other foot.  Complete three reps per side for the AMRAP.

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Workout #2 Every Minute On the Minute (EMOM)

Next up on this list of micro-workouts is all about EMOM (every minute on the minute). EMOM workouts are optimal for rapid weight loss due to their structured and intense nature. By allocating each minute to a designated task, EMOM workouts compel you to exert maximum effort, delivering high-intensity intervals that enhance metabolism and fat burning. These routines frequently feature compound exercises that engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, amplifying calorie expenditure and facilitating muscle growth—both essential components of successful weight loss.

Follow the prescribed repetitions and utilize the remaining time for rest.

1. Dumbbell Burpees

Dumbbell burpees are superb for a five-minute EMOM routine aimed at sculpting your body because they engage numerous muscle groups simultaneously, including the legs, core, chest, shoulders, and arms. This full-body engagement, coupled with the high intensity of the exercise, makes it incredibly effective for building strength, endurance, and burning calories. The EMOM structure ensures that you're consistently pushing yourself every minute, leading to efficient workouts that deliver impressive results in a short period.

To perform a dumbbell burpee, hold a dumbbell in each hand at your sides. Squat down, place the dumbbells on the ground, and jump back into a plank position. Next, do a pushup. Jump your feet back to your hands, grab the dumbbells, and stand up explosively, lifting them to shoulder height and pressing them overhead. Lower the dumbbells back down, and return to the starting position. Repeat for the desired number of reps, maintaining proper form throughout.

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Workout #3: HIIT Circuits

This five-minute HIIT workout features two exercises, each performed for 45 seconds with 15 seconds of rest in between. Over five rounds, you'll experience an intense and efficient session, completing high-quality reps to maximize results. It's a quick yet challenging routine designed to push your limits and yield impressive outcomes in a short amount of time.

1. Barbell Deadlifts

illustration of barbell deadlifts

Barbell deadlifts are a top pick for HIIT workouts to sculpt your ideal physique. This dynamic exercise engages numerous muscle groups in one go, including the lower body, core, back, and arms. Combining strength-building and calorie-burning, barbell deadlifts offer a potent solution for efficiently achieving your fitness goals.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart to perform barbell deadlifts, and grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Keep your back straight, hinge at the hips, and lower the barbell toward the floor while keeping it close to your body. Push through your heels to lift the barbell to a standing position, engaging your glutes and hamstrings. Repeat for the desired repetitions.

2. Air Bike Sprints

air bike

Are you looking to supercharge your weight-loss journey? Look no further than air bike sprints. These intense cardio bursts are a fantastic way to torch calories and shed unwanted pounds quickly. With their high intensity and full-body engagement combination, air bike sprints are efficient and effective for achieving your weight-loss goals.

First, to kick off your air bike sprints, adjust the seat height and resistance to set up for a challenging yet manageable workout—think leaving a bit of gas in the tank. Then, ease into a brief warm-up, spending two to three minutes on easy movement to prep your muscles for the intense effort ahead.

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Workout #4 Tabata

Next up on this list of the best micro-workouts to build your dream body is all about Tabata. Thanks to their structure and intensity, Tabata workouts pack a powerful punch for weight loss in minimal time. Each session comprises 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for nine rounds per exercise, totaling a mini five-minute workout. Complete the first exercise for five rounds and the second for four, totaling nine rounds altogether.

1. Kettlebell High-Pulls

Kettlebell high-pulls are an explosive and stellar choice for weight loss workouts, presenting a comprehensive challenge for the lower and upper body. This exercise promotes calorie burning and engages multiple muscle groups, including the legs, glutes, shoulders, and back. Mastering kettlebell high pulls enhances strength and coordination and elevates your heart rate, establishing an optimal weight-loss environment.

Position your feet at hip-width, and grasp the kettlebell between them in a squat position. Initiate the movement by pushing your legs through the floor to stand tall, explosively extending your hips and knees while pulling the kettlebell toward your chest, keeping your elbows high. Lower the kettlebell back to the starting position under control, maintaining proper form throughout.

2. Pushups with Mountain Climbers

Combining pushups with mountain climbers creates an effective Tabata exercise that targets the upper body while enhancing weight loss, strength, and muscle endurance. Don't forget about stability—it's crucial here. This dynamic workout engages your lats, upper back, and abs and works your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Perform pushups with mountain climbers by starting in a high plank position, lowering your chest toward the ground with elbows close to your body, and then pushing back up. As you return to the plank, quickly alternate, bringing each knee toward your chest in a running motion. Continue alternating between pushups and mountain climbers, ensuring proper form and maintaining a controlled pace.

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Workout #5: 5:00 Time-cap

Try an ascending ladder rep scheme with two powerhouse exercises for an efficient five-minute workout aimed at sculpting your body. Begin with one rep of each movement, then add +1 rep with each set, working through the ladder for five minutes. This structure boosts fat burning and maximizes muscle engagement and endurance. Take breaks as needed to maintain intensity throughout.

1. Dumbbell Push Presses

push press exercise

In a quick, five-minute ascending ladder workout, the dumbbell push press is an excellent choice. This dynamic exercise leverages both lower and upper-body strength. By initiating the movement with a powerful leg drive out of the dip, you emphasize the "push" phase while your arms execute the pressing action with force. This exercise engages critical muscle groups, including the quads, glutes, shoulders, and triceps, making it an efficient option for sculpting your body quickly.

Position yourself with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing inward. Squeeze your core, initiate a slight knee bend to create momentum, then explosively push your legs upward, driving through your feet to propel the dumbbells overhead. Simultaneously press the dumbbells upward, extending your arms until they are straight overhead. Your legs should provide the primary force, with your arms finishing the movement. Pause momentarily at the top position, then lower the dumbbells back down to shoulder height with control.

2. Two-Dumbbell Ski Swing

The two-dumbbell ski swing is a top choice for efficient fat burning because it's high-intensity and works multiple muscle groups at once, like the posterior chain, shoulders, and core. This engagement ramps up calorie burning during and after the workout. Its dynamic movements also boost heart rate, improving cardiovascular fitness and optimizing fat-burning capacity.

Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand between your legs with a slightly wider than hip-width stance. Next, hinge at the hips with a slight bend in the knees, then drive your hips forward and swing the dumbbells up in front of you explosively while engaging your core. Control the descent as you lower the dumbbells back down between your legs. Focus on generating power from the hips and maintaining stability throughout the movement.

Jarrod Nobbe
Jarrod Nobbe is a USAW National Coach, Sports Performance Coach, Personal Trainer, and writer, and has been involved in health and fitness for the past 12 years. Read more about Jarrod
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