Fitting in 7 minutes may boost fitness


You might have heard about the fad of developing fab abs in eight-minute sessions.

Then, the “seven-minute abs” came along.

Now there’s a scientific, seven-minute general workout coined by author Gretchen Reynolds. Its bold claims are throwing yet another wrench into all we believe about exercise.

For instance, many presume that to get super fit you need to bike for hours, lift for hours and eat nothing. But that’s not the case, according to new findings in an article published in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.

“There’s very good evidence” that high-intensity interval training provides “many of the fitness benefits of prolonged endurance training but in much less time,” according to co-author Chris Jordan, director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla.

The study came about to address the needs of folks who travel, can’t afford equipment or gym memberships, or who just don’t have time to commit to several hours a week of exercise.

This type of training doesn’t cover every goal a person may have, but it’s a workout philosophy that might have something to it for people without much time.

Here’s the explanation from the authors:

“To address the limitations of traditional exercise protocols and provide an effective and efficient program for our clients, one of the exercise strategies we use is high-intensity circuit training (HICT) using body weight as resistance.

“Our approach combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately seven minutes. Participants can repeat the seven-minute bout two to three times, depending on the amount of time they have.

“As body weight provides the only form of resistance, the program can be done anywhere.”

It sounds easy enough, and it sounds too good to be true. But I find it pretty intriguing and will have to give it a try. I like the idea of feeling terrible or uncomfortable for only seven minutes. Decide for yourself.

Here is the workout (See photos online at to ensure you are using proper exercise forms):

Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. The circuit can be repeated two to three 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)

Alyssa Latham is Health Seekers program director at the Walla Walla YMCA. She can be reached at


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