The daily grind seems to be getting longer and longer, and as we get older, it feels like there are fewer hours in the day. For busy people on the go, the new 7-minute workout trend is a godsend, and, even better, you don’t need gym equipment, which means you can exercise anywhere! Research has revealed that high-intensity interval training and the 7-minute high-intensity circuit training sequence burns more calories than traditional longer workouts did, so it’s a win/win – for your schedule, and for your waistline. But, as with any trend that sounds too good to be true, there is a catch…
What Is HIIT
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has become increasingly popular in the last few years. It is a training technique that pushes participants to their physical limits through cardio and resistance training using body weight in short intense bursts of exercise, with even shorter intermittent recovery periods. HIIT works by raising your heart rate and keeping it up, burning more fat in less time. High intensity training with interval recovery periods also helps people increase their physical energy and prevent fatigue.
HIIT For Weight Loss
This short intense interval exercise regime with resistance training (using body weight) is one of the fastest and most efficient ways of losing excess body fat. Intensively working large muscle groups through cardio and resistance with very little rest between sets results in EPOC, which increases your metabolic rate for up to 72 hours post-workout, meaning you will continue to burn fat, even after you’ve stopped exercising. And, not only will a HIIT workout burn more calories than a traditional workout in a shorter amount of time, but it will also trigger your body’s repair cycle. HICT-style resistance training with short rest periods may also increase catecholamine and growth hormone levels when compared to traditional steady aerobic training, which is believed to have a greater impact on subcutaneous fat loss.
What’s The Catch?
Traditional HIIT is usually about 30 minutes, between the intense bursts of exercise and recovery periods, which means the intense bits total at least 15 to 20 minutes. So, can you do it in just seven minutes? Well, not necessarily – that’s the catch. The 7-minute interval circuit training was developed by researchers from the Human Performance Institute in Orlando. They suggested that people repeat their 7-minute HICT program two or three times for maximum benefit. That still means you can complete a great and very effective workout in just 14 or 21 minutes, but seven minutes perhaps isn’t quite enough. However, on days where you really don’t have time, seven minutes is still far better than none!
Types Of 7-Minute Workouts
When it comes to short workouts in quick bursts, the best option is high intensity. Nothing beats the scientifically-researched HICT 7-minute workout, which has a number of benefits, from weight loss to muscle building. However, there are other options if you don’t have time for a long session, or if you don’t have the energy for a HIIT workout.
Anything from pilates to yoga to weight lifting can be done in 7 minutes, or in succession to make them 14 or 21 minutes, and they are all great options if you feel like a change from the original high intensity 7-minute workout. It’s hard to make yourself do the exact same workout every single day, even if it is only 7 minutes, so mix it up with these four fantastic options…
7-Minute HICT Sequence
The researchers who developed this original 7-minute workout used the latest exercise science to create this superior HIIT program that targets every major muscle group and can be practiced anywhere, without the need for weights, props or equipment, except for a chair. The sequence includes 12 exercises, practiced for 30 seconds using your own body weight, with 10 seconds of rest before the next 30-second exercise. The moves include jumping jacks, a wall sit, push-ups, abdominal crunches, step-ups, squats, triceps dips, plank, knee raises, lunges, push-up rotations, and side planks.
7-Minute Yoga Wake Up Sequence
If you want to exercise in the mornings before breakfast but don’t have long and find it impossible to do vigorous exercise before breakfast, then this 7-minute yoga workout is the perfect option for you. HIIT and HICT may not be recommended for people who are overweight or obese, extremely unfit, elderly, previously injured, or with comorbidities. Some people also suffer from low blood pressure, which can cause them to faint, especially in the morning before breakfast, so intense morning exercise may not be suited to them either. This yoga sequence is a lot gentler and more achievable for people with those conditions, however, it still wakes the body up, increases the heart rate, massages the lymphatic system, and increases oxygen intake and circulation.
The sequence begins with part of the joint release series, which wakes up your body, lubricates your joints and stretches your muscles. That is followed by two sun salutations (surya namaskar), which were designed as part of a morning ritual to wake up and get the whole body moving, encouraging good posture for the day, and stretching out muscles. Sun salutations will also increase your heart rate and kick start your metabolism for the day, without causing you to feel faint like a HIIT workout would.
Joint Release Series
Head And Neck Rolls – Slightly raise your shoulders to avoid straining your neck and complete a slow head and neck roll for the length of an inhale and exhale. Do three rolls in each direction.
Shoulder Rolls – On an inhale, move your shoulders forward and up, then on and exhale, move them back and down. Think of those four points as you roll your shoulders around three times and then reverse directions – back and up on an inhale; forward and down on an exhale.
Elbow Rolls – Lift your arms out to either side and then, keeping your upper arms still, draw big circles with your hands, rotating your elbows – again, three in each direction.
You may also like: