The last 18 months or so of quarantines and lockdowns hasn’t been great for most of us. In many cases, it includes messed up exercise routines and even binge drinking and Netflix marathons. Finding the time or motivation to exercise has ironically waned but its difficult to make excuses when you can workout in a very short period of time. In fact, a 7 minute exercise is all you need! It won’t turn you into Chris Hemsworth but it will burn fat and build strength. Some exercise is always better than none but especially when it is intense.
Why a 7 minute exercise?
The key here is intensity, according to research at the Human Performance Institute in Florida. A study from 2013 in the Health & Fitness Journal showed that intensity is key. The study, built around high intensity circuit training (HICT) can be very effective. The researchers created a workout combining total body aerobic and resistance training in a fast-moving circuit. Participants improved their strength and endurance and burned fat.1 In fact, they could obtain these results with as little as 4 minutes but this means impossibly hard training. To make this fast of a workout effective, they had to train at more than 100% of VO2 max (a measure of output). But 7 minutes allows you to train at more like 90%.
The 4 exercises that were selected are meant to combine fun moves while hitting a host of fitness goals. Two of them destroy fat and build strength and another crushes your cardio. The last exercise focuses on recovery. Each workout keeps you moving for the vast majority of the 7 minutes. You should do this once a day to improve your fitness and health. Do it more than once a day to really get a blast of fitness!
How to do the 7 minute workout
Warm up with a 30-second plank, 10 reverse lunges and 10 jumping jacks. Then set a 7-minute timer. Do 10 sets of the 4 exercises (described below) in a descending fashion. First, do 10 reps of each, then 9, then 8 and so on until you reach 1. If the timer hasn’t gone off already, start over. When you are done you should feel totally wiped out.
Exercise 1 – Squats
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart with your abs tight. Bend at the knees and hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Then stand back up, squeezing your glute muscles. That’s 1 rep. Do each rep relatively quickly, but slow enough to maintain good form.
Exercise 2 – Half burpee
Being in a pushup position. Keep your hands on the floor and “jump” your feet forward. Stand up, then reverse the motion. From the push-up position, up to standing, and back down to the pushup position is 1 rep.
Exercise 3 – Reverse fly
Stand with your torso at a 45 degree angle with the floor. Let your arms hand naturally. Raise your arms until they for a “T” with your torso. Lower them again to finish the rep.
Exercise 4 – Push up
Start in a pushup position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Bend at the elbows and shoulders and lower your chest to the floor. Press back up and you’ve done 1 rep.
Intensity is the key here. This study did not necessarily prove that the 4 exercises above are somehow magical. Instead, it showed that intensity is necessary to benefit from short duration exercise. What you do is less important than how you do it. Of course, short, intense workouts will not train you adequately for the Olympics, marathons or bodybuilding contests but if you want, or need, to get quality exercise in a short amount of time, high intensity is a necessity.
- Mattar L, Farran N, Bakhour D. Effect of 7-minute workout on weight and body composition. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2017;57(10).