7 Minute Workout app Review
- Jumping jacks
- Wall sit
- Abdominal crunch
- Step-up onto chair
- Triceps dip on chair
- High knees/running in place
- Side plank
When the workout is performed at a high enough intensity, the developers claim the routine fulfills the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines for vigorous physical activity, combining both metabolic and resistance training into one session . While the team that designed the workout admits there’s no “ideal” number of stations in a bodyweight interval circuit, the 12 they included in the sample template hit virtually every major muscle group. The 30-second intervals were included to allow for most people to perform 15 to 20 reps of each (with good form).
Testing It Out
To test the circuit, I was joined by Greatist’s outreach director and resident marathoner Laura Schwecherl (who had actually performed a track workout earlier in the day). Full disclosure, I’m an active CrossFitter and do 4-5 WODs per week (CrossFit slang for “Workout of the Day, ” usually short and intense metabolic conditioning), so both of us are pretty familiar with HIIT and related methodologies.
Since the workout requires only bodyweight, a wall, and a chair for each person, setup was a breeze. (Beyond a few jump squats and some 10-meter jogs, we didn’t perform any significant warm-up.) I used an interval timer app on my smartphone to call out the prescribed work/rest periods, which kept us on pace throughout. I went about as fast as possible out of the gate and hit between 18 and 30 reps for each non-static move. Laura — who could probably smoke my pace when fresh — kept her moves in the 15 to 20-rep range for all seven minutes. While my pace didn’t slow during any of the 30-second work intervals, I did feel some muscle fatigue during the lunges and push-up-to-rotation set (the second move involving push-ups). By the end, my breathing was elevated and I was sporting an early layer of sweat, but nothing more than if I’d just completed a solid dynamic warm-up.
The researchers say their sample workout can also be performed two or even three times in a row depending on fitness level, and if I’d put a full 21 minutes into the circuit, I would have been pretty wiped. Just once through, and I felt like we were just getting warm. Laura suggested one or two rounds of the circuit would be a nice finish to a medium-length run.
While the intensity wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for — substituting harder moves like pull-ups, single-leg squats, and burpees would probably fix that in a hurry — I was pleasantly surprised how the circuit hit a large range of motion. And while it might not be the most obvious on paper, the exercise ordering was hardly random. For example, step-ups loosened up my hips prior to the squats, as did the high knees before the set of lunges. The planks at the end were deceptively tough since my core had already been taxed throughout.
The HPI circuit won’t revolutionize how I exercise, but at the end of the day, it’s a well-designed, beginner-friendly circuit busy people can perform in the privacy of their homes or offices. And while it will probably be relegated to my routine as a (well-designed) warm-up, if I’m ever stuck at home on a rainy day, I might just see how many rounds I can go without tapping out. It isn’t going to transform anyone from couch potato to elite athlete, but if programs like this can get more people exploring the realm of intense exercise, we’ll call it a win.