Lift Slow to Get Fit Fast?

Can you get results in 20 minutes a week? Here's what the experts say.

By Barbara Russi Sarnataro
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD

How about this for an exercise resolution: "I promise to lift weights once a week for 20 minutes."

Sound like a pledge you could keep?

According to Adam Zickerman, author of Power of 10: The Once-a-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution, 20 minutes of very slow weight training weekly is all the exercise you need to burn calories, build bone density, and stay fit.

Twenty minutes a week is a much less intimidating commitment than the standard recommendation of at least three days of cardiovascular exercise and two days of strength training. But does it work?

Many in the fitness industry are skeptical, saying that the short weight workouts are so intense that people have a hard time sticking with them, and are likely to cause soreness. They also take exception with the idea that exercising once a week is enough and that aerobic exercise isn't necessary to stay fit.

But some who have used the Power of 10 workout are convinced it works for them.

Last November, 50-year-old Gail Markels of New York was diagnosed with osteopenia (thinning of the bones). She was working out with weights, but she didn't think she was challenging herself enough to get good results. In September, she started doing the Power of 10 fitness program with a trainer.