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Your Guide to the Science-Backed 7-Minute Fitness Routine

For most busy professionals and individuals, finding time for exercise, much less a full workout can be a challenge.

This simple yet critical concern prompted professional fitness coaches to look into ways to address the problem. Their emerging research suggests that a quick and efficient workout in as little as 7 minutes can still deliver significant health benefits. 

Here we’ll delve into the science-backed 7-minute fitness routine, examining the research behind it and exploring its effectiveness.


What Is the Research Behind the 7-Minute Workout?

Your Guide to the Science-Backed 7-Minute Fitness Routine

The 7-minute fitness routine has gained popularity in recent years due to its time-efficient nature and promise of remarkable results. 

The American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal published an influential study in 2013, co-authored by Brett Klika and Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute.

It presented a 7-minute workout protocol targeting major muscle groups. By engaging multiple muscle groups simultaneously, the workout effectively promotes cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength, and endurance.  

The workout is rooted in the principles of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which has been extensively studied for its numerous fitness benefits. High-intensity exercise involves short bursts of intense exercise for large muscles and alternates with brief recovery periods. 

In the 7-minute workout program, there are 12 exercises performed for 30 seconds each with 10 seconds of rest in between, aimed to maximize results within a short time frame. The exercises recommended in the routine include well-known movements like push-ups, wall sits, abdominal crunches, tricep dips, and jumping jacks, among others.

The study also emphasized the importance of body weight exercises, which require no additional equipment and can be performed anywhere.


Does the Scientific 7-Minute Workout Work?

Effective 7-Minute Fitness Routine

Now, the burning question is: does the scientific 7-minute fitness routine actually work? The answer lies in the science and the experiences of those who have adopted this time-efficient routine.

The high-intensity circuit training provided by the 7-minute workout routine has shown promising results in terms of weight loss and overall fitness improvement. By working with different major muscle groups in rapid succession, the workout effectively elevates heart rate, boosts metabolism, and enhances calorie burning both during and after the exercise session.

Research indicates that such high-intensity workouts not only help reduce body fat but also provide cardiovascular benefits and changes in muscles comparable to more prolonged endurance training. This is particularly significant for individuals with limited time or those looking to optimize their workout regimen.

It’s worth noting that the 7-minute workout should be combined with a balanced diet and a commitment to an active lifestyle if you aim to lose weight. Also, individuals with pre-existing health conditions should consult with their healthcare professionals before starting any new exercise program.


What Are Exercises To Do in a 7-Minute Body Weight Exercise?

7-Minute Fitness Routine

Let’s discuss each exercise included in the workout. Notice how the exercises are arranged in a way that works major muscles alternately. This is to give one major muscle group time to rest before giving it another burst, while you work on the next muscle group.  

Jumping Jacks (Full-Body Workout)

Jumping jacks are a classic exercise that engages the entire body. Jumping jacks elevate the heart rate and engage different muscle groups, providing cardiovascular and muscular benefits. They improve coordination, agility, and stamina.

To perform jumping jacks, follow these steps:

  • Start in a standing position with your feet together and arms by your sides.
  • Jump up, spreading your feet wider than hip-width, and simultaneously raising your arms overhead.
  • Jump again, returning to the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement in a continuous and rhythmic manner.

Wall Sit (Lower Body)

Wall sits are an isometric exercise that helps strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They are beneficial for developing leg strength. 

Here’s how to perform a wall sit:

  • Stand with your back against a wall and walk your feet forward, keeping them hip-width apart.
  • Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the floor, forming a sitting position.
  • Hold this position, ensuring your knees are directly above your ankles and your back is against the wall.

Push-ups (Upper Body)

Push-ups are a classic exercise that primarily targets the muscles of the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. They improve core stability and enhance overall torso strength.

Here’s how to perform a push-up:

  • Start in a plank position with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lower your body towards the floor by bending your elbows while keeping your back straight.
  • Push back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms.

Abdominal Crunch (Core)

Abdominal crunches help strengthen the core muscles, improve posture, and enhance abdominal definition. They are an effective exercise for targeting the abdominal muscles, specifically the rectus abdominis. 

Follow these steps to perform an abdominal crunch:

  • Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Place your hands behind your head or cross them over your chest.
  • Keep your core engaged and squeeze your glutes as you lift your shoulder blades off the ground.
  • Slowly lower back down to the starting position.

Step Up Onto a Chair (Full-Body)

Step-ups engage large muscle groups and provide a cardio-strengthening workout at home or in the office.

Here’s how to perform step-ups using a chair:

  • Stand facing a sturdy chair or step.
  • Place one foot on the chair, ensuring your entire foot is in contact.
  • Push through your heel to lift your body up onto the chair, fully extending your leg.
  • Step back down to the starting position and switch legs or repeat with the opposite leg.

Squat (Lower Body)

Squats are a compound exercise that targets the muscles of the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. They are highly effective for developing leg strength and power, promoting mobility, and improving functional movements.

Here’s how to perform a squat:

  • Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly forward.
  • Bend your knees and lower your body as if you were sitting back in a chair.
  • Keep your chest lifted, hips stacked, and knees aligned with your toes.
  • Return to the starting position by extending your legs up.

Triceps Dip on Chair (Upper Body)

Triceps dips primarily target the tricep muscles, located at the back of the upper arm. They also engage the muscles of the shoulders and chest. This exercise is effective for improving the upper body’s pushing strength.

Follow these steps to perform triceps dips using a chair:

  • Sit on the edge of a sturdy chair or bench with your hands gripping the edge, fingers pointing forward.
  • Walk your feet forward and shift weight off the chair.
  • Bend elbows, lowering your body towards the floor while keeping your back close to the chair.
  • Push back up to the starting position, extending your arms.

Plank (Core)

The plank is a core exercise that targets the muscles of the abdomen, back, and shoulders. Planks are highly beneficial for developing core stability and improving posture.

Here’s how to perform a plank:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your feet together.
  • Engage the core and squeeze the glutes.
  • Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels, ensuring your neck and spine are neutral.
  • Hold this position for the desired duration, focusing on maintaining proper form and breathing steadily.

High Knees/Running in Place (Full-Body or Major Muscle Groups)

High knees or running in place is a dynamic exercise that engages the entire body. High knees elevate the heart rate, provide a cardiovascular workout, and engage major muscles. They enhance endurance, coordination, and total body strength.

Follow these steps:

  • Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Lift one knee towards your chest or bring your thighs parallel to the floor while simultaneously hopping onto the other foot.
  • Continue alternating legs at a rapid pace, pumping your arms to mimic a running motion.

Lunge (Lower Body)

Lunges are a lower body exercise that targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes to improve strength, balance, and stability.

Here’s how to perform a lunge:

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a step forward with one foot, lowering your body until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle (the left thigh is parallel to the floor and the right shin is vertical to the ground).
  • Push off the front foot and step back to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg.

Push-ups and Rotation (Upper Body)

Push-up and rotation is a compound exercise that targets the muscles of the upper body, including the chest, shoulders, and core. It enhances overall stability and rotational power.

Follow these steps:

  • Start in a push-up position with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Perform a push-up, then rotate your body to the side, raising one arm towards the ceiling.
  • Return to the push-up position and repeat on the other side.

Side Plank (Core)

The side plank is a core exercise that targets the muscles of the obliques and the stabilizers of the shoulder and hip. Side planks are effective for developing core strength, improving lateral stability, and enhancing overall core endurance.

Here’s how to perform a side plank:

  • Begin by lying on your side with your forearm on the ground, elbow directly under your shoulder.
  • Stack your feet on top of each other or stagger them for additional stability.
  • Lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your head to your feet, while your feet are stacked.
  • Hold this position, engaging your core and maintaining proper alignment.

Can You Get Fit With a 7-Minute Workout?

Get Fit with 7-Minute Fitness Routine

Yes, you can significantly improve your fitness level with a 7-minute workout. The science-backed 7-minute fitness routine, which incorporates high-intensity exercises targeting major muscles, offers a time-efficient way to enhance cardiovascular fitness, build strength, and improve overall fitness. 

Although some critics argue that 7 minutes won’t give the same benefits as a traditional HIIT program, engaging in intense movements and maximizing effort within a short duration can also stimulate muscle growth, boost metabolism, and improve endurance.

Proponents of the 7-minute workout suggest doing the whole routine in 3 sets to get the most out of the exercise.


How Many Calories Does a Scientific 7-Minute Workout Burn?

The number of calories burned during a 7-minute workout can vary depending on factors such as body weight, intensity level, and individual fitness levels.

Estimates suggest that an average person can burn approximately 8-12 calories per minute during a high-intensity workout. Therefore, a 7-minute workout may result in burning around 56-84 calories. 

Keep in mind that the calorie burn can be influenced by the specific exercises performed and the effort exerted.


How Often Should You Do a High-Intensity Interval Training?

The frequency of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) depends on various factors, including your fitness level, recovery ability, and overall exercise routine. It is generally recommended to include HIIT workouts, such as the 7-minute workout, in your exercise regimen 2-3 times per week. This frequency allows for adequate recovery between sessions while still reaping the benefits of the high-intensity effort. 

However, it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust the frequency as needed. If you’re a beginner, gradually build up to this frequency and consult with a fitness professional if you have any underlying health conditions.


Final Note

While the 7-minute workout alone may not be a complete fitness solution, there is very good evidence that it can serve as an excellent starting point or a valuable addition to an existing workout regimen.

The key to reaping the benefits of the 7-minute fitness routine lies in maintaining proper form, challenging yourself within your fitness level, and gradually increasing the intensity as your fitness improves. 

With just seven minutes of your time and minimal investment, this science-backed routine offers a convenient and effective way to enhance your physical fitness and overall well-being.