Is a 7-minute HIIT workout too good to be true? | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


When I first read about The Scientific 7-Minute Workout, I scoffed. Out loud. I practically guffawed at the thought of getting in shape/getting healthy with only 7 minutes of exercise per day. Even writing this, I’m using self-control to NOT roll my eyes. …..didn’t work – I rolled them.

What the article so conveniently left out – no doubt to generate readership and website traffic, which I’m sure worked flawlessly – is that the 7-minute HIIT workout is ONE set of what should be a TWO to THREE (or more!) set exercise routine. And it’s not easy. Known as a High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workout, it couples intervals of extremely intense activity with short periods of rest (see our HIIT blog post). This particular workout threads 12 different exercises using only body weight, a chair, and a wall – each exercise should be completed for 30 seconds at an 8 to 10 level intensity with a 10 second rest before moving on to the next exercise. And you should be seriously sucking wind by the time you’re done.

This exercise routine is based on an article published in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s (ACSM) Health & Fitness Journal, authored by Brett Klika and Chris Jordan of the Human Performance Institute. Research indicates that just 4 minutes of all-out, hauling ass, going as hard and fast as you possibly can can make a difference in overall fitness. Often, individuals cannot sustain this level of intensity, so the ACSM recommends at least 20 minutes of exercise at a 9 or 10 intensity level (or as high as you can). Ideally, 9 to 12 different exercises targeting several different muscle groups should be incorporated. Once completed, the body can continue to reap the effects of an HIIT workout for up to 3 days.

(HIIT) can be a fast and efficient way to lose excess body weight and body fat. The incorporated resistance training contributes significantly to the amount of fat burned during a workout. When resistance training exercises using multiple large muscles are used with very little rest between sets, they can elicit aerobic and metabolic benefits. Research has found that these metabolic benefits can be present for up to 72 hours after a high-intensity exercise bout has been completed.

An HIIT program can be developed and created with a variety of exercises. There are several examples of these on the internet and a few in our HIIT blog post (see above). The 7-minute HIIT workout sample in the ACSM article is as follows:

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

Image courtesy of NYTimes

This next week I challenge each of you to complete an HIIT workout and tell us about it! We want to know what you did, how many reps, and your total time (if you want to include that). HIIT workouts can be modified if needed – please only complete safely and at your level. Never compromise good form and correct execution in order to go faster – it’s better to do something right once than to do it 30 times the wrong way. I plan on doing this one, but there are several out there (I’m pretty sure I won’t be scoffing or guffawing after I’m done with it).

And just remember, whether it’s 4 minutes or 7 minutes or 20 or an hour, any sort of exercise is better than none at all!

**So, after I wrote this post, I decided I shouldn’t really challenge our readers to take on something like this without trying it first. I did it, and I’ll tell you it wasn’t exactly a breeze – I was definitely huffing and puffing. Also, for the last exercise I spent 30 seconds each on BOTH sides for side planks – I didn’t see the point in doing just one side. Additionally, if you have a hard time with level-changing workouts (down on the floor and back up again over and over), take more time to adjust, or alter/change the exercises that don’t work for you. I did 3 sets in about 28 minutes – I took 1 minute recovery between each full set. Let us know if you decide to do this one!

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