Does the 7 minute workout really work?

So have you heard the buzz about the 7 minute workout?  A recent New York Times article highlighted a publication from the American College of Sports Medicine that describes a workout that helps you increase your metabolism and burn fat in just 7 minutes. Since everyone seems to be looking for the shortcut to getting fit, the article gained a lot of attention and tools to help you try the 7 minute workout started popping up everywhere.  Sounds too good to be true right?  Well there is more to the story. Let’s take a look the truth about the 7 minute workout.

(photo credit –

The 7 minute workout is a series of exercises that targets the upper and lower body, as well as the cardiovascular system.  You do each of the 12 exercises for 30 seconds with only 15 seconds (or less) of rest between exercises.  The entire workout is about 7 minutes long.  So what makes this workout effective?

Intensity – This workout is a form of High Intensity Circuit Training (HICT), similar to HIIT and Tabata workouts, which we discussed a few weeks ago, HICT is only effective when you do each exercise with very high intensity and have a very short period of rest between each exercise. Bottom line, it may only be 7 minutes, but you should be working your butt off during those 7 minutes. Many people cannot sustain the high level of intensity needed to experience the benefits of this workout in just 7 minutes, which is why the authors of the publication suggest repeating this circuit 2-3 times. So about 20 minutes total.

Another thing to note is that the 12 exercises shown here are just one example of a HICT workout. You can substitute other exercises, but there are a few things you need to consider. There needs to be an even number of upper body and lower body exercises.  The order is crucial too. The sample circuit follows this order:  cardio, lower body, upper body, core (and it repeats).  The reason for this order is so that you are alternating the muscle groups you are working. That’s why you are able keep going with just a 15 second rest period. So after you finish the wall sit, you do a push up, which allows your lower body to rest and prepare for the next exercise.

There are several things I really like about this workout. First of all, it uses only body weight and a chair and wall, so you don’t have to get special equipment. Second, everyone can challenge themselves with this workout because you can adjust the intensity by adjusting the speed with which you do the exercise and how long you rest. Finally, it is efficient and as you Tailored Fitness members know, that is at the core of my exercise philosophy. Get the most out of every minute!

So go ahead and give the 7 minute workout a try this week.  Then head over to Tailored Fitness and try this week’s Tailored Workout, which is a High Intensity Circuit Workout (HICT) as well! With both workouts, you’ll be getting great benefits for your health in the least amount of time possible.