I don’t know about you, but the first thing that flies out the window when I get busy is exercise time. So I’ve been super excited to try out the much hyped 7-minute workout.
The seven-minute workout is an exercise regime that’s been developed to work out your major muscle groups in a teeny-tiny amount of time. The developers of Seven claim that the plan is good for your heart, that it will reduce your body fat, and that it will improve your fitness.
Sounds too good to be true for this cynic, but let’s give it a chance, shall we?
What is the 7-minute workout?
The 7-minute workout is a high intensity interval training program. You do 12 exercises in total, each for 30 seconds, with a 10 second break in-between. The exercises include things like push-ups, triceps dips, jumping jacks, and crunches.
You’re supposed to do these near maximum capacity (an 8 out of 10), which should feel “unpleasant.” And by “unpleasant,” I mean that you will sweating like a pig and huffing and puffing like the Big Bad Wolf.
What are the workouts like?
I started these workouts thinking “7 minutes! You can’t break a sweat in 7 minutes!”
It turns out, you can. Between the frantic push-ups, crunches and wall sits, I was sweating up a storm by exercise number six, and by the final set, I was watching the countdown like a hawk, ticking off each agonizingly slow second until freedom. It may only take seven minutes, but you feel every second of it.
The really great thing about this workout is you don’t need any fancy equipment at all, so you can pretty much do it anywhere. The only things you need are enough floor-space for push-ups, a wall, and a chair.
After my first 7-minute workout, I was red and sweaty and my muscles were aching. After the second one (I’m a sucker for punishment), I even had that familiar euphoric buzz that endorphins give you—which is usually a pretty good sign that a workout is doing something.
The app lets you set yourself mini challenges, and it can remind you to take seven minutes if you haven’t worked out that day. If you do enough challenges, you get new workouts to do, which should help to keep you from getting too bored with your workout.
Does it work?
There’s been a bit of controversy on the interweb about the New York “Times” touting this as a “scientific” workout, when the actual 7-minute aspect of the workout hasn’t actually been tested in any clinical trials.
High-intensity interval training has been shown to have a host of health benefits—but it remains to be seen whether you’re going to get these health effects when you’re only doing seven minutes of it a day. The trials that have shown benefits tended to be a minimum of 20 minutes, and the people often used weights.
That said, I’m pro-pretty much anything that gets people moving, even if it’s only for seven minutes. Because you know what’s worse than a 7-minute workout? Nothing at all!
Weighing up the pros and cons
Who would benefit from the app?
Darlings on a budget: The initial full body workout is free, and the extra workouts (core, upper, and lower body) only cost about a dollar—much less than your average gym class.
Travelling Darlings: Including the 7-minute workout in your exercise repertoire means you don’t need to bring any equipment with you on trips—so no lugging your stinky gym shoes around in your suitcase. If you’re going to be travelling over the festive season, this could be a good app for getting some exercise in between all the office parties and family catch-ups.
Busy Darlings: Like it or not, it takes effort and time to get exercise into your regular routine, and sometimes you just don’t have a spare hour or so to go to the gym, get changed, work out, shower, get changed, and then carry on with your life. The 7-minute workout is great because you can do it pretty much anywhere and it takes so little time. That said, your best bet for getting the full health benefits is to do a couple of 7-minute workouts each day. You don’t need to do them back-to-back if you don’t have the time; if you’re time-poor, my advice would be to fit them in throughout the day when you have a spare seven minutes going.
And you’re like me and you work better once you’ve had a bit of exercise under your belt but you love the shit out of sleeping, fitting in a 7-minute workout first thing could be a good compromise.
Who shouldn’t try this at home?
- This workout probably won’t work for you if you’re significantly overweight, since you need to be able to support your own body weight—not easy for things like sideways push-ups.
- It’s also probably not going to be your scene if you’re really unfit, since the fast pace and constantly changing moves mean that you’d be more likely to injure yourself.
- The workout is also not recommended for people with existing heart problems (probably less of a problem for us millennials, but I’m sure that’s some of you!), or for people with high blood pressure.
If you’re keen to try it out but not sure if you meet the criteria, check with your doctor.
Have you tried the 7-minute workout? Tweet us @LitDarling.
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