Sick of the gym? Science says this 40-second workout could make you fitter than manic classes

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

Are you a grunter?

Perhaps you're just a groaner, with a little talking-to-yourself thrown in.

You can do it, Phelony! Three more!

Push it, Jethro! Push it!

Me, I'd keep quiet about having names like that. But some people believe that you have to address yourself, as you cause yourself real anguish in order to feel good about enjoying the evening's steak, fries and lashings of ketchup.

This is the gym obsession that's been sold to us for so many years.

You have to work out hard. You have to strain, endure the pain and come out at least a quarter-pound lighter.

Now along comes the University of Stirling and says: "Och, we're not sure you're being too wise."

This Scottish university has just published research that offers a tantalizing tease of a headline: "Workouts With Fewer Reps Could Yield Better Results."

Now that I've got you at least vaguely interested, I'm going in for the true joy. The researchers say that, to offer the dry words of Dr. Niels Vollaard : "The optimal number of repetitions appears to be just two, so workouts based on supramaximal sprints can be kept very short without compromising on the results."

Please allow me to translate from the Scottish: Two all-out sprints of 20 seconds each, plus a 10-minute walk can make the laziest of bones 12 percent fitter, if done three times a week.

This particular research specifically refers to sprints on high-intensity bikes.

The underlying premise is, though, enticing. The marginally nutsoid individuals you see (and hear) at the gym doing thousands of reps may not be helping themselves too much at all.

Or, at least, not as much as they're shouting.

Indeed, the university's press release offers marginal schadenfreude towards these rattiest of gym rats: "Scientists found that after performing two maximal sprints, each additional sprint in a training session reduced the overall improvement in fitness by around 5% on average."

Of course this research, like any research, needs more research.

But we've fallen into either conventional forms of working out or fads that involve ropes and machines and strange belts that hang from the roof.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if something as simple as is being suggested here could be a marvelous -- and quick -- way of becoming a lot healthier?

Now, can we do something about people who bring their phones to the gym, play a show on them at full volume and don't even bother to wear headphones?

RELATED: Best home workouts

New year, new you: Best home workouts
See Gallery
New year, new you: Best home workouts

This amazing tool is a lightweight, portable total body gym that gives you resistance on both sides of your muscle groups during each movement. Eliminating the need for bulky weights, you'll be using a technology originally developed for NASA as their resistance exercise for the International Space Station. 

DoubleFlex, $99


A personalized workout program for older adults who have limited mobility, are overweight, or are simply looking to workout while being kind to their joints, it includes 7 low-impact workouts.

Body Dynamix, $59.85


This set of dummbells -- ranging from 2 to 5 pounds -- is really just an addition to your at-home workout. Many workout DVDs will ask you to grab some weights, and it never hurts to do a little arm work while you're cycling, either. 

20-Pound Dumbbell Set with Stand, $24.99


If you want a killer cardio workout at home, look no further. The elliptical is a favorite for many at the gym, and the ability to bring it home with this portable version from InMotion (complete with resistance bands!) is a win-win situation.

InMotion Elliptical with Resistance Bands, $149


Developed by mother-daughter team, the Simply Fit Board is a uniquely designed balance board that makes it easy to get in an efficient workout almost anywhere. It engages your core, legs, and back in one -- and can be used almost anywhere in your home. 

Simply Fit Board, $39.99


Finding a really good yoga mat can transform almost any workout. Whether you're doing pilates, crunches, squats, or... you know, yoga, it's the essential piece to make your home workout space complete.

Fit Spirit Premium Printed Yoga Mat, $14.99


More on
The Biggest Threat To The Big Mac Might Just Turn Your Stomach
American Airlines Comes Last in Rankings (and Its Pilots Pile On)
I Tried The New Sous Vide Egg Bites At Starbucks And, Well, Ah. Or, Rather, Oh

Read Full Story

From Our Partners