Got 13 minutes? That may be enough for a strength-training workout!

No time to linger in the weight room for an hour or more? No problem! For everyone who scrambles to fit resistance exercise into a busy week, or who shudders at the thought of endless reps, we have exciting news.

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According to a recent study, you may be able to get an effective strength workout in 13 minutes flat. Researchers divided a group of fit young men into three groups, each of which did different numbers of sets of the same basic strength-training routine. One group did five sets (in about 70 minutes), one did three (in about 45 minutes), and the third did just one set (in about 13 minutes). The results were surprising: While the participants who completed more sets gained more muscle mass, that didn't translate to greater strength.

In fact, those who did one set of exercises gained as much strength and muscle endurance as those who did three or five sets. In other words, high numbers of reps may not be necessary to build strength. According to the study, you have to do that one single set to exhaustion — meaning it's not possible to do another rep — to get the benefits. More research is needed to explore these results, including studies on women, older adults, and beginning exercisers, but feel free to use this study as inspiration to strengthen your muscles!

- Cleveland Clinic Wellness


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