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12 Minute Pulse Raiser


Image source gregorrohrig

Firstly, I would like to thank those who took time to comment on my first post here at GearFire and provide me with some topical ideas for future posts. There were various suggestions ranging from 15 minute exercise routines to stretching to preventing illness prior to exam week, all of which I will gladly write about.

This post is centred upon the 12 minute exercise routine as requested by Martin in a comment:

If a student is pushed for time, what type of exercises would you suggest for a simple, yet beneficial, 10-15minute session each day?

To me this is a $64,000 question. Primarily, a student takes up the opportunity to go to college/university to enhance their academic qualifications and specialise in a topic they enjoy. Or at least this is the way it should be. All other motives for attending further and higher education should be lined up, in no particular order, behind academic motives. How does this relate to the comment by Martin? Well, assuming that as a student you have your priorities in the right places you will be a busy person. As a rule of thumb, for every hour you spend in lectures or the laboratory or other learning environment you should match it with one hour of study in your own time. So, if you receive 20 hours of lectures then 20 hours should be reciprocated by you in your own time, the equivalent of working a full time job. Speaking of jobs, a lot of students have to balance their studies with some sort of work to pay for food, rent, clothes, amongst other things. Now the 40 week of studying becomes 40 hours study plus # hours employed work. Let’s not forget socialising, girlfriends/boyfriends, travelling to/from Uni/work, and sport.

Returning to the comment, Martin touches on the 3 key aspects to an exercise routine for students:

  1. time
  2. simplicity
  3. beneficial

My answer – body weight circuits also known as calisthenics. They take no time to set up, the movements can be as simple or complicated as you desire, they benefit the body as a whole.

The routine template


  • Whole body
  • Upper body
  • Core & trunk
  • Lower body
  • Whole body

The order of the exercises in this routine are designed specifically to prevent injury, promote the circulation of blood and oxygen to the working muscles, and to allow individual muscle groups time to recover before subsequent exercise.

The exercises

  • Whole body: burpees, alternate squat thrusts, squat thrusts, star jumps, walk arounds, and running on the spot
  • Upper body: press ups, triceps dips, pull ups, inclined/declined push ups and handstand push ups
  • Core & trunk: crunches, back extension, supermans, cross over crunch, and sit ups
  • Lower body: squats, single leg squats, box step ups, forward lunges, and backwards lunges

Using this exercise list you can substitute in any exercise from a particular category into the routine. Variety is the spice of life and this is also true of exercise. If in life you repeat the same routine day after day, week after will soon become disheartened and search for new and exciting experiences. Similarly, when you exercise it is imperative to mix things up, following the same routine will inevitably lead to cessation in search of something more stimulating. Chop and change the exercises every now and then, you will notice that you stay on task, and that you body does not have time to adapt thus stimulating improved fitness.

An example

  1. squat thrusts
  2. press ups
  3. sit ups
  4. squats
  5. running on the spot

How to use the routine

This all depends on the desired intensity you strive for. As a generic routine suitable for all, I suggest a 1:1 work:rest ratio. So, 30 seconds of squat thrusts followed by 30 seconds of rest. Then move on to press ups using the same principle, and so on. After exercise 5 rest for 1 minute and then commence a second circuit.

This routine is by no means set in stone. My advice is to give the outlined routine a try, assess its suitability to your requirements, adjust it, and retry. You can manipulate the difficulty of the exercises, the work:rest ratio, duration of recovery, and the number of circuits.

I would be interested to receive your feedback on this, positive or negative, so long as it is constructive and beneficial to others. Maybe you already perform a similar routine, if so, let me know how it compares. Your input is worthwhile to both me and the readers of GearFire.

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4 Responses to “12 Minute Pulse Raiser”

  1. Martin says:

    Thanks for such a helpful post. Glad to hear I was only asking a $64,000 question. I’ll aim for the $1million next time. ;-)

    I’d never considered a 1:1 work:rest ratio. That will certainly form part of an exercise routine for me from now on.

    I aim to complete a short routine using this approach every day and see where it takes me. Hopefully I’ll remember to add some feedback here too. It only needs to be a short routine, so I hope it drives others to look after their bodies more.

  2. danielb says:

    @Martin – No worries. When you think of that million dollar questions be sure to fire it at me. Short and sweet is a great starting point, so long as you put the effort in you’ll reap the rewards.

    Give 1:1 a try see what it’s like then assess. If it’s too difficult do not hesitate to increase the rest period or decrease the work time to suit you better. That said, it should not be easy to complete.

    Please do let me know how it goes for you, I’m keen to hear these things.

  3. eve isk says:

    Fantastic article and great context too. Integrating exercise into a study routine is a great tip.

  4. SOG knives says:

    SOG knives…

    Interesting ideas… I wonder how the Hollywood media would portray this?…

  5. Belts says:

    This an excllent idea, it seems that to affect change on your body mass and muscles you have to cause a sort of body confusion and not let your muscles be ready for whats coming… Great concept