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The 7-minute Workout

"Fitness on the Go!"
By: Jose Maria M. Villarama IIThe 7-minute Workout

Nowadays, 24 hours do not seem to be enough to complete the day’s undertakings and responsibilities.   Even exercise routines, which usually have to be painstakingly performed for at least 2 hours several times a week, have now been reduced to mere minutes.  In fact, there is now a 7-minute workout.  But just like the other condensed tips and hacks, does this actually work?

7 minutes, 5 reasons

Chris Jordan, the Director of Exercise Physiology at the Human Performance Institute Division of Wellness and Prevention, Inc., designed the workout, combining high-intensity interval as well as circuit training exercises.  He lists 5 reasons why the 7-minute workout works:

· It includes aerobic and resistance exercises.  The combination of exercises in the routine not only elevates the heart rate but also targets specific muscles in the body, providing a well-balanced exercise program. 

· It is high-intensity exercise in less time.  High intensity simply means that one pushes the muscles and the body to work safely at its peak, but in much less time than health buffs spend in gyms every day or week.

· It is scientifically organized. While some exercise programs are designed to target only specific parts of the body, with the sum of these exercises rendering a “total body” workout, the exercises in the 7-minute workout are deliberately organized to give benefits for the “whole body” (aerobic), the “lower body,” the “upper body,” and finally, the “core.”

· It has short intervals for rest. To be sure, resting is important to help catch one’s breath or help one gain momentum.  However, minimal rest between these exercises helps keep the routine intense, benefitting the entire body in just a short duration.

· It requires no equipment. Many people who want to achieve certain fitness goals are usually deterred by expenses, specifically by gym membership fees or sports equipment purchases.  Except for a chair and a wall, the 7-minute exercise does not require any equipment. 

12 exercises, 100% workout

The workout is composed of 12 exercises, each performed for a period of 30 seconds and a rest interval of 9 seconds each in-between.  The exercises need to be performed in rapid succession. In specific order, the exercises are:

· Jumping jackWhether one’s forearms go all the way above one’s head or bent arms are raised to shoulder height, this exercise serves as a good warm up. 

· Wall sit – Press one’s back flat against a wall and slide down into a squat position until the legs are bent at a 90-degree angle.  Hold this position for 30 seconds even if fatigue sets in.

· Push-up – There  is a variety of push-up techniques that can be followed.  What matters in this case is that the body is completely flat on the floor as one moves up and down.

· Abdominal crunch - To perform a proper crunch, keep feet flat on the floor, place hands at the side of the head and lift the chest.  Do not round one’s back or pull elbows inward.

· Chair step-up – Stand two feet away from the chair and then step up purposefully and powerfully. Repeat this for 30 seconds, alternating the legs which step up first.

· SquatA proper squat requires placing the feet shoulder-width apart.  Raise arms forward and go down until the thighs are parallel to the floor.  Do not let the knees go past the toes. 

· Triceps dip on chair – With hands on the edge of the chair, keep the torso straight as one lowers the body until the arms are bent at a 90-degree angle.

· Plank- Assume a push-up position with the forearms in front of the chest and with fists (palms) facing each other.  The length of one’s feet determine the level or height at which one should maintain the position.

· High knees runningThis is done by simply running in place but with knees deliberately going higher than the usual stride.  The exercise is made more intense with coordinated arm movements.

· Lunge – With feet side-by-side, take a step forward with one leg then lower the hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.  Do not let the front knee go beyond the toes and the hind knee should not touch the floor.  Push back to starting position.  Alternate the leading legs.

· Push-up and rotation - Lower down into a push-up position but on coming up, extend an arm and turn the body to the side of that arm (left or right).  Lower down again and extend to the other side.

· Side plank – This exercise is basically a plank with the body turned on one side.  The forearm that is on the floor supports the weight of the body in this position.

While these exercises are scientifically-proven, its benefits can only be achieved if the routine is repeated at least twice (making it a 15-minute workout).  Also, like all other workouts, proper form and execution are required to achieve proper results.  It is therefore advisable to look at videos of how the 12 exercises are correctly performed.  

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