The Pomodoro Exercise Hack

I recently got hooked on the Pomodoro Method for projects at work. While it was initially created to encourage more focus and productivity at work, it serves really well as a fitness hack too!

What is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro technique sets 25-minute intervals (a free online timer can be found at for you to focus on a task such as answering emails, working on a spreadsheet or writing a blog. At the end of 25 minutes, you are meant to take a short break to move around for a minute or two. This is called a Pomodoro. After 3 Pomodoros, you are meant to take a longer break.  You can portion out your time around these blocks, for instance, you might need 2 Pomodoros to craft an important letter, 3 to begin writing a manual or only 1 to check and respond to emails.

How I Hacked the Technique to Increase my Activity

While the Pomodoro Technique raised my productivity, I still had one challenge: I wasn't getting enough movement in each day. While I was thinking about this, I came up with a way to make the most out of my breaks between Pomos. Now, instead of just going to refill my water bottle, I add-in some movement to help me increase my daily activity rate and improve my focus. Give it a try.

My Pomodoro Routine

Since each block of time that I work is just shy of 90 minutes and I use 4 blocks so that you have a full day. This allows some wiggle room and if I have a job where I get interrupted a lot (I've been known to make the offenders do these with me, try it and see if it helps reduce the interruptions). 

Here is my routine:

Pomo Break #1 - 25 Push-ups - yes you can do them on the wall or desk

Pomo Break #2 - 15 Reverse Lunges with Rotation

Pomo Break #3 - Walk around the office or up and down stairs for 5 minutes. Worst case, jog in place, remember this is a longer break.

Pomo Break #4 -  20 bodyweight squats 

Pomo Break #5 -  15 Side Plank with Hip Raises

Pomo Break #6 -  1 Minute Plank, 1 Set of 30 Jumping Jacks, repeat, three times if you are game.

Pomo Break #7 - 2 Minute wall sit

Pomo Break #8 - 15 Side Lunges

Pomo Break #9 - 1 Minute Standing Cris Cross, 2  Minute (1 each side) Leg Extension, 1 Minute Bounce or jumps, Repeat 2 to 3 times. 

Now, walk to lunch and eat mindfully.

Pomo Break #10 - 1 Minute Chair pose (I know, I get the irony)

Pomo Break #11 -  25 Side Leg Lifts, not holding on to the chair if you can 

Pomo Break #12 - 1 Minute Side Shuffles, 20 Lateral Reaches, 20 Push Ups, Repeat 2 times.


Now, take a look at your movement tracker, doesn't your activity level look a lot better? And, I bet you feel great!

Katharine SantosComment