Sunday, May 25, 2014

The 7-Minute Workout

A year ago Gretchen Reynolds reported for the NY Times on a "scientific" workout program that can be completed in 7 minutes.  Brett Klika et al. studied  the effects of high intensity circuit training as a substitute for the normally prescribed 150 minutes/week of moderate -- or 75 minutes/week of high --  intensity exercise.

The rationale for the study is that busy adults may not be able to fit the prescribed weekly workouts into their schedules.  Klika et al. sought a program that would replace the prescribed weekly minimums while accomplishing the same goal.

Here is the 7-minute workout.  (Note: it takes 8 minutes if done as prescribed.)

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
(Quoting Klika et al.)

The Reynolds summary in the Times gives pictorial illustrations of the various exercises, though most are well known to all of us here at RP.

P__ found this program a few weeks back and shared it with me.  I've been on a 7-minute workout frenzy for the past 14 days and P__ has found it sufficiently convenient to make her a daily practitioner.

My assessment is as follows:  this is a kick in the pants.  Doing it two or three times (I take ~90"-2' rest in between) is a 20- or 30-minute blast similar to a good day at the track.  And the creators accomplished their goal of making something that fits into a busy schedule:  since finding this P__ has been on a 6-day-per-week frenzy that seemed impossible when the workout was "run for 30 minutes."

But it's not a magic bullet, either.  Note the fairly modest goal -- create a workout that serves most purposes but still fits with busy schedules.  Like any new program, this one to me feels hard because it is new; when it starts getting easier it will probably be time to move on.

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