Short on time? Turn that to your advantage and make speedy progress with these ten-minute tests.

When it comes to training, quality tends to trump quantity. That’s why, even if you only have ten minutes, you can still complete a useful training session.

The key is to use the time that you do have as effectively as possible and keep the intensity of your session high. That means focusing on fat loss and either power or strength endurance.

The following three challenges all involve working for the whole time period with minimal rest, so they will challenge your cardiovascular system as well as your muscles.

Kettlebell Snatch Challenge

What: Do as many kettlebell snatches as you can in ten minutes.
Why: This will test your power endurance, your grip strength and your determination.

How:

  • This challenge is simple and effective but far from easy.
  • It’s inspired by Kettlebell Sport challenges, which typically involve maximum reps done for time.
  • In this instance, you’ll do as many snatches as you can in ten minutes using a 16kg kettlebell.
  • Start with the bell on the floor, swing it back between your legs, hinge at the hips, then snap your hips forwards to put some momentum into the kettlebell.
  • As it passes chest height, pull your elbow back and ‘slide’ your hand around and under the bell to catch it on the back of your wrist.
  • Return to the start and repeat.
10 minute fitness tests Men's Fitness UK

Photo: Getty

Press-Up Ton

What: Do ten press-ups on the minute, every minute, for ten minutes. (To make it harder, simply up the reps completed each minute.)
Why: This is a brilliant chest and arm builder that you can do any time, anywhere.

How: 

  • This is another deceptively difficult workout.
  • All you need to do is ten press-ups every minute, on the minute for ten minutes, which sounds pretty achievable when it’s written down.
  • Initiate the move by bending your elbows to lower your chest towards the floor. Flaring your elbows out to the sides works the chest harder but ups pressure on the shoulders. Keeping them at your sides works the triceps more.
  • You will naturally try to conserve energy, but you should still make sure that you complete full reps with a good range of motion, by lowering until your chest nearly touches the floor and pressing up until your arms are straight. 

Barbell Tremor Circuits

What: Do as many rounds of the circuit as you can in ten minutes.
Why: This tests your strength endurance and your grip strength. 

How:

  • They’re called tremor circuits because that’s how you’ll be feeling at the end of them.
  • They’re inspired by Romanian weightlifting coach István Javorek, who used them to condition his athletes.
  • All you need to do is grab a bar and perform 10 reps of the following, for as many rounds as possible…without putting the bar down.

1a. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)

– Hold the bar on the front of your thighs with hands shoulder-width apart.
– Hinge at the hips and keep your weight on your heels to send the bar down the front of your legs, then return to the start. 

1b. Clean 

– At the bottom of an RDL, snap your hips forwards to power the bar up and ‘catch’ it in the top of a front squat position.
– Reset and repeat. 

1c. Overhead Press

– With the bar at shoulder height and elbows under it, press directly overhead until your arms are locked out.
– Lower under control and repeat. 

1d. Back Squat 

– After the final overhead press, lower the bar behind your head so it’s resting on your upper back.
– Bend at the hips and knees simultaneously to lower, keeping your knees in line with your toes, then return to the start.