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This Tiny Bit Of Exercise Can Up Your Muscle Strength By Over 10%, New Study Says

Strengthening your body has never been easier.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

You might think that you need to spend a significant amount of time lifting weights if you want to build muscle and get stronger, however, new research has found that's not necessarily true. It turns out that a simple workout and shockingly little exercise can actually benefit your body and up your muscle strength, based on a new study. Read on to learn the specifics, and next, check out The 6 Best Exercises for Strong and Toned Arms in 2022, Trainer Says.

This study found that a relatively tiny amount of exercise can make your muscles much stronger

Woman holding dumbbell bicep curls

A new study by Edith Cowan University (ECU) with Japan's Niigata University of Health and Welfare (NUHW), which was published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, examined 39 university students who were in good health. The students spent just three seconds per day for five days each week over a four-week time period doing one muscle contraction (a concentric, isometric, or eccentric bicep curl) while putting in as much effort as they could. The researchers discovered that this relatively tiny amount of exercise resulted in over a 10% increase in muscle strength for the participants who performed the eccentric bicep curl. (There was still an increase in muscle strength in the students who performed the other bicep curls, just a lower percentage.)

Related: Muscle-Building Exercises You Can Do at Home Right Now

"Short, good quality exercise" can still benefit your body

middle-aged woman working out with dumbbells
Shutterstock / misfire_studio

"Many people think you have to spend a lot of time exercising, but it's not the case," lead researcher Professor Ken Nosaka from ECU's School of Medical and Health Sciences said, according to EurekAlert! "Short, good quality exercise can still be good for your body and every muscle contraction counts."

Of course, being a muscle building enthusiast is one thing, but if you don't currently have a fitness regimen, this new study really changes the game. There's no better time than the present to get started building muscle, doing a little bit of exercise each week.

Indeed, Joseph Rayner IV, PT, DPT, who is the founder of as well as a physical therapist
at QOL Health & Performance, tells Eat This, Not That!, "Those findings are a testament to the saying something is literally better than nothing. We should think of exercise as a way to stimulate adaptations in the body, regardless of how big or small."

Related: Want a Lean Body for Good? Adopt These 4 Exercises ASAP, Trainer Says

But it's also important to progressively up the challenge

woman lifting weights

At the same time, Rayner explains that while "there are initial benefits for someone starting a new exercise routine, those improvements tend to fade as the body adapts. This is why we need to progressively increase the challenge. This is known as the progressive overload principle."

Rayner also notes, "Based on the American College of Sports Medicine, [adults should] strive to achieve 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week." Rayner suggests "splitting up your exercises from cardio days to strength days."

"We should aim to strength train at least two times a week, and hit all targeted muscles of the body by the end of the week," according to Rayner. "For cardio exercise, we should aim to do this three to five times a week at moderate intensity. Moderate intensity would be keeping your heart rate at around 50 to 70% of your maximum heart rate. An easy calculation for your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age."

For more…

older man stretching in gym
Shutterstock / Mladen Zivkovic

To find out more about easy and effective ways to work out, be sure to read Do These Simple Exercises to Keep Your Weight Down for Good, Trainer Says. Then, don't forget to sign up for our newsletter for more of the latest mind and body news.

Desirée O
Desirée O is a freelance writer who covers lifestyle, food, and nutrition news among other topics. Read more about Desirée
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