I recently read an interesting article titled “7 minutes to get fit” with the catch line “Do twice a week. Job done”. Instantly I was intrigued, fit in two 7min sessions, this ought to be good, or too good to be true. So I began to read.
Studies have found you don’t need to spend hours in the gym to achieve your fitness goals. By following a quick, tight regime you can make a big difference to your overall fitness. The 7 minute work out is a form of high intensity interval training (HIIT) which means extremely intense bursts of activity followed by brief periods of recovery. Research suggests 7 energy sapping minutes broken down into 12 exercises is comparable to a run and weights session combined.
As a strong believer in hard work and time spent in the gym, or park, I was a tad sceptical of a quick fix solution. It sounded a little like a short-cut way of getting fit and I therefore questioned its impact.
So I decided to put the 7 minute workout to the test. I selected a reasonably balanced set of exercises to begin with. Well I’ve got to say it’s a pretty tough 7 minutes. The combination of aerobic and resistance moves gave me a very balanced and challenging workout. It has been said that HIIT has shown time and again to “deliver numerous health benefits in much less time than traditional programs”. This all sounds very intriguing and exciting but it’s time to let the public decide.
Having tested it on myself I decided to let my clients decide if it’s a way of training they’d be interested in. I selected a couple of willing participants and designed a program based on the 7 minute workout structure. Carefully mixing a variation of cardio and resistance movement patterns and timing each exercise at the desired 30 second length (with a 10 second reset between).
My guinea pigs, whom have a fairly good level of fitness, found the session “pretty challenging” but really enjoyed the variation and tempo, finding competing against the clock both fun and exciting. They really felt they’d worked hard and gained a lot from this way of working. As I had a full session to fill we did 3 sets of 12 exercises with a two minute rest between each set. This added another level to the challenge.
Only time will tell if the 7 minute workout will return the fitness goals we’ve set but it was certainly a good start.
See below an example of a structured session containing 12 exercises:
This way of working, I believe, is best done as part of a 3 set, 2-3 times a week routine. Doing two 7 minute workouts per week will undoubtedly improve your fitness levels but I’d suggest doing 2-3 sets twice of three times per week
(if time allows) for maximum potential. So give it a go and see how you get on. I’d be very interested to know your thoughts on this training approach and if you feel it’s working..
A little bit of advice when attempting the 7 minute workout. It’s pretty tough and only recommended if you have a fairly good base fitness due to it’s high intensity nature. If you’ve not exercised in a while then I would suggest a more gentle approach to begin with and build up to the 7 minute workout.