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The 7-Minute Workout That's Scientifically Proven To Get You Fit

Photo: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock
couple exercising

When you haven't exercised for a while, it can be difficult to get back on track. You have to schedule in your workout time, force yourself to start moving, and basically rewire your thinking about fitness and working out.

Even if you're a devoted gym-goer, finding the time can feel exhausting. But luckily, there is a workout regimen that takes less than 10 minutes to complete, but offers amazing results: the 7-minute workout.

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What is the scientific 7-minute workout?

The 7-Minute Workout is made up of 12 exercises — jumping jacks, wall sits, push-ups, abdominal crunches, chair step-ups, squats, tricep dip, planks, high knees, lunges, push-ups with rotation, and side planks.

There's no need for any expensive equipment or gym membership as the whole workout is made up of body-weight exercises that only require a chair and a wall.

The exercises are performed for 30 seconds, each with 10-second rest periods in between. On an intensity scale from 1 to 10, the exercises are done at around an 8. It's important to follow the order of the exercises and not change it around as you see fit.

The workout combines two of the most popular fitness routines: high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and body weight training. It burns roughly 117 calories and certainly doesn't take much time to complete.

A sedentary lifestyle can lead to a variety of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The only way to stay healthy is to get off the couch and get active.

What are the benefits of the 7-minute workout?

While the 7-minute workout may sound like it's simply too good to be true, health and fitness experts say it works, especially if you've become more of a couch potato than a gym rat.

Brett Kilka and Chris Jordan introduced the 7-Minute Workout to the fitness community in May 2013, and since then a number of studies have backed up their initial claims.

According to Donovan Green, celebrity fitness trainer and author of "No Excuses Fitness":

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"The 7-minute workout exercise is exactly just for that — it is designed for beginners or busy people to be able to perform this intense, short workout... They can do it at home or work. Seven minutes is easier to do and is more efficient than a one-hour workout. It will boost your metabolism and increase strength during the workout. To see similar fitness and cardiovascular benefits, you can do calisthenics to martial arts."

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How to Do the 7-Minute Workout

1. Jumping Jacks

  1. Stand with your legs together, arms at your sides.
  2. Jump into the air and spread your legs to be about shoulder-width apart while stretching your arms over your head.
  3. Jump back to where you started, legs together and arms at your side.

Exercise type: Cardio

Targets: Full body

Duration: 30 seconds

2. Wall Sit

  1. Place your back flat against a wall.
  2. Next, place your feet shoulder-width apart and make a 90-degree angle with your knees. Make sure your knees are above your ankles.
  3. Hold your position for the allotted time while contracting (squeezing) your abs.

Exercise type: Cardio, strength

Targets: Quadriceps, core, lower body

Duration: 30 seconds

3. Push-Ups

  1. Start on the floor with your arms a little wider than shoulder-width (if you want to increase intensity, place them closer together).
  2. Lower your body so you are close to but not touching the floor.
  3. Push yourself up while keeping your form as flat as possible and your core tight.
  4. Make sure you breathe through each round.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Core, chest, triceps

Duration: 30 seconds

4. Crunches

  1. Lay on the floor on your back. Cross your arms at your chest so you don't use them as leverage.
  2. Bring your upper body up, raising your shoulders and scapulas off the floor.
  3. Crunch straight up as high as possible, making sure to keep your lower back on the floor and refrain from scrunching your neck.
  4. Lower your shoulders back to the floor.
  5. Immediately continue. Try not to rest between each rep.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Core

Duration: 30 seconds

5. Step-Up

  1. Place a bench, box or chair a few inches in front of you.
  2. Step onto the chair with one foot.
  3. Then, bring your other foot up with you while you raise your knee as high as you can.
  4. Lower your knee and then step back on to the floor.
  5. Repeat with your other foot, alternating between your right and left for the allotted time.

Exercise type: Cardio, strength

Targets: Lower body, core, glutes

Duration: 30 seconds

6. Squats

  1. Position yourself with your arms straight out in front of you, your back straight, shoulders back, and your chest up.
  2. Then squat down, bending at the hips and thrusting your butt back.
  3. Make sure you keep your knees in line with your feet. And be sure to maintain a tight body and core during the entirety of the set.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Glutes, quadriceps, lower body, hamstrings

Duration: 30 seconds

7. Tricep Dips

  1. Place two chairs apart, a bit farther than the length of your legs.
  2. Hold the chairs and slowly bend your arms, sinking your upper body towards the ground, but stopping right before you touch it.
  3. Then, bring your body back up. Be sure to keep your back straight.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Triceps, core, chest

Duration: 30 seconds

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8. Plank

  1. Position yourself like you are about to do a push up, but put your forearms on the ground instead of your hands. Keep your elbows lined up with your shoulders.
  2. Squeeze your glutes and tighten your abs while keeping your neck and spine aligned. This should create a straight line.
  3. Hold the plank position for the duration of time.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Chest, core

Duration: 30 seconds

9. High Knees

  1. Place your hands in front of your body with your elbows at a 90 degree angle.
  2. Run in place so your knees touch your hands.

Exercise type: Cardio

Targets: Core, legs

Duration: 30 seconds

10. Lunge

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while engaging your core.
  2. Take a big step forward with your right leg and shift your weight forward so your heel hits the floor first.
  3. Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor, making a 90 degree angle.
  4. Come back to your starting position and do the same with your left side.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Glutes, quadriceps

Duration: 30 seconds

11. Push-Ups with Rotation

  1. Start by placing yourself in a push-up position.
  2. Keeping your back flat, lower your body toward the floor but stop before you touch the ground.
  3. Push back up to your starting position. Once there, rotate your body 90-degrees from the floor and fully extend your arm up. You should have one arm in the air and the other on the floor.
  4. Repeat on the other side: Down, up, rotate.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Core, shoulders, chest, triceps, glutes

Duration: 30 seconds

12. Side Plank

  1. Begin on your side with your feet together and one forearm taking the brunt of your weight below your shoulder.
  2. Tighten your core while you raise your hips to make your until your body is in a straight line.
  3. Hold your position for a duration of time, making sure your hips don't drop.
  4. Repeat on the other side.

Exercise type: Strength

Targets: Obliques, core

Duration: 30 seconds

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Christine Schoenwald is a writer and performer. She's had articles in The Los Angeles Times, Salon, Bustle, Medium, and Woman's Day. Visit her website or her Instagram.

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