Think you haven’t got enough time to exercise? Think again!
If you’ve got time to scroll through your Facebook feed, I guarantee you’ve got time for this supercharged workout. All you need is a chair, a wall and your body weight. With those three things, you’ll condense a long run and a round in the weight room to just seven minutes.
Intrigued? Of course you are!
Now, as awesome as I am, I can’t take the credit for coming up with this exercise. So please, direct your applause to researchers at McMaster University in the Canadian city of Hamilton.
They found that with just seven minutes of extremely intense physical activity, you can produce molecular changes in your body that rival those caused by more drawn-out forms of exercise.
You ready? Let’s dive in.
You’ll be doing each exercise for 30 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds after each.
It’s important that you follow the order outlined below.
Step #1 – Jumping Jacks
This is a great whole-body exercise that will boost your cardiovascular health and increase blood flow to the various muscle groups you’ll be working out in the following steps.
Stand with your feet together and let your hands hang down by your sides. In one motion, jump and extend your legs outwards while raising your arms above your head. Reverse this motion and jump back to the starting position.
Step #2 – Wall Sits
This will strengthen your quads, glutes and calves. To perform a wall sit, begin with your back against a wall. Your feet should be two feet away from the wall.
Slowly slide your back down the wall until your thighs are in a sitting position. Make sure your knees are right above your toes. Hold this for the full 30 seconds. Feel the burn. Love the burn.
Step #3 – Push Ups
Begin by getting your body into a high plank position. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Make sure your feet are stable and tighten your core, as if you’re bracing for a punch.
Lower your body, making sure your back stays flat. Your elbows should stay tucked in closely to your body.
Repeat this as many times as possible for 30 seconds.
Step #4 – Abdominal Crunches
As the name might suggest, this exercise will strengthen your abdomen.
Begin by lying flat on your back. Place your feet flat on the ground and point them inwards so your toes touch. Next, place your hands on either side of your head and keep your elbows tucked in.
Roll your shoulders off the floor, making sure you push down as much as possible with your lower back. Once you reach the apex, hold this for a second before lowering yourself and repeating the process for the full 30 seconds.
Step #5 – Step Ups
Grab your chair and place it against a wall so it does not move during the exercise. Begin by placing your right foot on the seat. Press down on your right foot and pull yourself up until both feet are resting on the chair.
Then, lower yourself back to the floor and alternate – this time using your left foot to pull yourself up.
Fit as many of these as possible into 30 seconds.
Step #6 – Squat
If you’ve got knee and back pain, squats will help you strengthen those muscles.
Begin by standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips. Point your toes slightly outward. Look ahead at a spot on the wall in front of you and stay focused on that spot for the whole exercise.
Put your arms straight out in front of you, keep your back straight and push your butt back. Then, squat down slowly until your knees are in line with your feet. Your feet should not move at all.
After squatting down, lift yourself back up and repeat.
Step #7 – Triceps Dips
Grab that chair again – this time, it’ll be helping you tone your triceps.
Place the chair against the wall and rest your hands on the seat a shoulder-width apart. Slide your butt off the seat and keep your legs extended out in front of you.
As you lower yourself, bend your elbows until they are at 90 degree angles. Once you’ve reached this point, press down on the chair to pull yourself back up to the starting position. Get as many of these reps into the 30 seconds as you can.
Step #8 – Planking
Here’s another way to feel the burn! This will be absolutely explosive for your abs.
Get into the pushup starting position. But this time, bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be right beneath your shoulders and your body should be straight.
Hold this position for the full 30 seconds.
Step #9 – Running In Place
It’s relatively straightforward – run without actually running. Now, I don’t mean jog – I mean run. Lift your knees, swing your arms, the works.
Step #10 – Lunge
No, not lounge! At this point in the workout, you’re still about a couple minutes away from being able to do that.
Lunges will help you tone your legs and backside. Keep your upper body straight and look forward. Step forward with one leg and lower your hips until both of your knees are at 90 degree angles. Your front knee should be directly above your ankle.
Push back up, reverse your legs and repeat the motion.
Step #11 – Push Up + Rotation
Let’s get creative, shall we?
Remember the push up? Well, it’s back with a twist!
This time, get into the standard push up position and begin the motion. But this time, rotate your body so your right arm lifts and extends upwards. Return to the starting position and repeat, this time lifting the left side of your body.
This will strengthen your torso and make activities involving it (like tennis) easier.
Step #12 – The Side Plank
Like the standard plank, this will strengthen your abs. As an added bonus, you’ll also workout a muscle called the quadratus lumborum.
Start by laying on your side with your feet together. One of your forearms should be directly below your shoulder. Contract your core and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your head to your feet.
Hold this position for 15 seconds before dropping and switching sides.
And that’s it!
How It Should Feel
This isn’t going to be easy – as one New York Times article warns, “those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant.”
And that, basically, sums up how the 7 minute high-intensity workout works.
When you spend an hour at the gym, you’re not pushing yourself to the absolute limit with every single exercise. Rather, you’re spreading that muscle deterioration out over an hour. By the end, you’ll feel pretty worn out – and that’s how you know you’ve done a good workout.
With this exercise, you’re really just condensing the muscle deterioration. It’s sort of like benching more weight for less reps!