Could three seconds a day of resistance exercise really increase muscular strength?
That question was at the heart of a small-scale new study of almost comically brief weight training.
In the study, men and women who contracted their arm muscles as hard as possible for a total of three seconds a day increased their biceps strength by as much as 12 percent after a month.
The findings add to mounting evidence that even tiny amounts of exercise — provided they are intense enough — can aid health. I have written about the unique ways in which our muscles, hearts, lungs and other body parts respond to four seconds of strenuous biking, for instance, or 10 seconds of all-out sprinting, and how such super-short workouts can trigger the biological responses that lead to better fitness.
The three-second workout could also be useful as a stopgap to help maintain or even add to our arm strength for those of us who are buried under work or family commitments and are unable to get to the gym.
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