The 7-minute workout is a high-intensity workout that is meant to mimic High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Created by two researchers from the Human Performance Institute in Orlando Florida and published in The American College of Sports Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal report in 2013, this workout has been shown to improve the health of participants similar to an HIIT workout, when done correctly.
This workout combines strength, endurance and aerobic training and includes 12 exercises that target and challenge the large muscle groups, for a full-body workout in the span of about seven minutes. It can help support weight loss, strengthen the heart and lungs and increase muscle strength, and the best part is, it’s free. You can do it at home, and the only equipment you need is a wall and a chair.
This workout is not meant to go easy on you and needs to be performed with a consistent level of high intensity. Most reports say that if you are rating your discomfort during this workout on a scale of one to ten, your discomfort should be sitting at around an eight.
This workout consists of 12 exercises that are meant to be performed for 30 seconds each, with a 10 second rest in between each exercise. In cases where you would be required to repeat an action, the goal is to do as many as you can for the allotted 30 seconds. For exercises that do not require repeated actions, the goal is to hold the action for the entire 30 seconds.
There are many places online, from videos to images, that walkthrough how to perform each exercise. Some walkthroughs online are modified for specific types of participants, but the exercises in the original 7-minute workout are as follows:
- Jumping jacks
- Wall sits
- Push ups
- Step up onto a chair, alternating legs
- Triceps dips
- Forearm plank
- High knees or running in place
- Lunges, alternating legs
- Push Ups with rotation, alternating sides
- Side plank
You can perform this once and then leave it at that, or you can repeat the circuit two to three more times. If you plan to repeat the circuit, take a break for one to two minutes before starting again.
Now, there are some things to keep in mind. While it’s called the 7-minute workout, this is a bit of a misnomer. In order to reap the full benefits, you should be repeating the circuit two to three times, bringing the workout to a more realistic 14 to 21 minutes. In addition, it’s always a good idea to start any workout with a warmup, and end with a cooldown. Which means that this will add an additional ten or so minutes to your workout. It is also recommended that you perform this workout three times a week, with rest days in between.
This workout can be modified based on needs and fitness experience, but it’s always a good idea for beginners to work with a trainer first to learn proper technique and avoid injury. This exercise is not low-impact and participants may become injured more easily and will not reap the full benefits of the exercises if they are not being performed correctly. Monitoring is also important to ensure that participants are truly keeping up with the high intensity required of the workout, as any variances in intensity will decrease benefits.
If this workout is being used to lose weight, only performing the circuit once will not be enough and repeating it two to three times is required. Also, if you are someone who has specific fitness or performance goals, then this workout may also not be for you.
Overall, for beginners with monitoring, or if you are someone who already works out and wants to make sure you still have time for exercise on days where you may not have time to make it to the gym, this is perfect for you. It’s quick, will help get your heart rate up, and will ensure that you’re still getting many of the same benefits as going to the gym.
Lauren Schwartz | Staff Writer