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The "One Minute Rule"

There are countless protocols that you can use to great effectiveness at the end of a training session. The “One Minute Rule” is just one of these protocols, simple in design and application yet highly effective in achieving the desired response and result.

I first learnt about the “One Minute Rule” from one of my mentors Tom Hibbert, who in turn learnt it from Canadian Strength & Conditioning Coach Andre Benoit, former Olympian who competing at the 1988 and 1992 Games in the doubles luge. I have had the pleasure of learning from and being mentored by both of these coaches. I have utilised this protocol with many clients and have also used it to great effect in my own training and can attest to its effectiveness.

The Protocol

15 seconds maximum effort, 45 seconds rest/active recovery

30 seconds maximum effort, 30 seconds rest/active recovery

45 seconds maximum effort, 15 seconds rest/active recovery

30 seconds maximum effort, 30 seconds rest/active recovery

15 seconds maximum effort, 45 seconds rest/active recovery

Five Minutes to Fat Loss

Evidently this is a five minute protocol. When the primary focus of training is geared towards fat loss, the goal is to increase growth hormone (HGH), through lactic acid production. The more HGH the higher the potential for fat loss. For individuals who are new to training or who have had a prolonged period away from training and are de-conditioned it would be advised to do no more than three of the phases compared to all five, allowing for progressive overload.


It's maximum effort!! Don’t hold back so you’re be able to finish with ease, go all out from when your rest/active recovery is over. The most challenging phase is the third phase, when 45 seconds of effort/work is required, but keep pushing through.

This protocol is best done with a coach to hold you accountable for the timings and to push you beyond where you would normally call it a day. If you don’t have a coach, do this with a training partner who will keep timing and push you through to the end.

You get out what you put in, or if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got. At the end if you feel like the grim reaper is hovering over you ready to take you to hell's gate, that’s a great day at the office, awesome job!

Exercise Selection

You want to use exercises utilising dynamic movement, such as a prowler or sled. Stationary cardio equipment such as a treadmill are not suited as you are unable to change the speed or intensity rapidly enough, however if you do not have access to astro turf, prowler or sled I recommend using a rowing machine.

Photo of man in a gym pushing a prowler loaded with weights

Alternatively, you can utilise certain exercises using dumbbells such as walking lunges or heels elevated squats.

During the active recovery phase, you can drop the dumbbells and continue the exercise using bodyweight.

Why the “One Minute Rule?”

Fat loss

  • Your metabolism will be raised for up to 72 hours after completion due to Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC)

  • You will improve insulin sensitivity by up to 23% (compared to 6% with steady state aerobic work)

  • Growth hormone (HGH) will increase due to lactic acid production

Time Efficient

The "One Minute Rule" is great if you’ve got five minutes at the end of your normal session as a finisher. It also works well if you only have a limited amount of time to train and is far more effective than steady state aerobic work.

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