Monday, May 13, 2013

The 7-Minute Workout. Really?

Is this the workout of your dreams?  In your own home?  No gym required?


The latest research from the American College of Sports Medicine's Health and Fitness Journal indicates all you need is a high intensity, seven-minute workout for fitness.  Again, we're not talking about professional athletes or people who need to look a certain way for their jobs.  This is about the average person.  The key is you have to WORK for those seven minutes.  Don't donkeyjack. 

The study is pretty intensive in its scientific jargon.  Sunday's New York Times Magazine does a good job putting the results in layman's terms.

In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science. 

Photo: American Council on Exercise
I love that wall squats are included in this.  I have been doing them since I was 14 years old.  Professional athletes in all sports do it to this day.  I spent a morning wall-squatting in a hotel gym with Jason Kidd on an offday during the Mavs championship run.  

After training for marathons and spending hours in a gym, I've learned it's truly the quality of the exercise that counts.  Forty-five mindless minutes on an elliptical aren't quite as effective as 25 quality minutes of running sprints.  But, sometimes you need that 45 minutes on the elliptical to read a magazine, watch a movie or just get the blood flowing.

I think this shorter, quality workout advice is great to take to heart but don't make it your mantra.  It's a solid concept to incorporate into an overall routine that works for you.  For me, I need that hour-long walk or lengthy pilates class for my mental well-being as well as the physical part.

  • Here is a link to my quickie workout that is very similar to the seven-minute workout philosophy.  This is my "pressed for time, I didn't get to the gym but still need a booty kick" routine.  

Here is a sample workout from ACSM:
The following is an example of a 12-station HICT program. All exercises can be done with body weight and implements easily acquired in almost any setting (e.g., home, office, hotel room, etc.). The exercise order allows for a total body exercise to significantly increase the heart rate while the lower, upper, and core exercises function to maintain the increased heart rate while developing strength.

Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. Total time for the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes. The circuit can be repeated 2 to 3 times.

1. Jumping jacks Total body
2. Wall sit Lower body
3. Push-up Upper body
4. Abdominal crunch Core
5. Step-up onto chair Total body
6. Squat Lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair Upper body
8. Plank Core
9. High knees/running in place Total body
10. Lunge Lower body
11. Push-up and rotation Upper body
12. Side plank Core
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