Depending on your perspective, seven minutes is not a lot of time — or it’s a ton of time. When it comes to a quick bodyweight workout, there’s a lot you can accomplish as long as you keep moving and spike your heart rate. Designed as a hybrid between bodyweight strength training and interval training, this nonstop workout is useful on your days off from the gym or when you’re traveling.
A May 2015 study published in The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness investigated the effectiveness of seven- and 14-minute workouts. The researchers tested males and females, measuring muscular endurance by counting the number of pushups the subjects could do. In both the seven- and 14-minute groups, muscular endurance improved.
The researchers also found males were able to increase their strength, and women improved their aerobic fitness. This study illustrates that even seven minutes of exercise three times per week is far better than doing nothing.
For this workout there are six exercises. Each exercise should be performed for 30 seconds, except for the long-lever front plank, which should be performed for one minute. While technique is important, you should go as fast as possible during the first five exercises. These exercises should leave you breathless, so the long-lever plank gives you a chance to catch your breath while working your core. Try to maximize the number of repetitions in every round. Once you complete every exercise you’ll repeat the entire circuit.
LATERAL PUSHUP WALK
If you struggle with pushups, you can do them from your knees during this exercise.
The move: Start in a pushup position. You should have at least 5 feet on either side to move. Take two steps to the right with your arms and legs, then perform a pushup. When you come back up, take two steps to the left and perform another pushup. Repeat until time is up.
This exercise is taxing for your leg muscles and leaves you breathless. If the impact hurts your knees, ankles or hips, switch to bodyweight squats.
The move: Quickly stand up from the pushup position and begin your second exercise. Throw your arms down and squat with your feet flat on the ground. Your knees and hips should be bent. Then, jump up and throw your arms up in the air. Jump as high as you can, then land softly on the ground in a squat position and jump again. You should stay in a rhythm throughout the exercise, moving continuously for 30 seconds.
Taking a break from the leg exercises, supermans work your lower back muscles. Strengthening your core helps with your posture and protects your lower back from injury.
The move: Return to the ground and lie flat on your stomach. Reach your arms in front and keep your legs straight behind you. At the same time, lift your arms and legs off the ground and hold them in the air for a second before returning to the ground. Immediately lift them back up. Repeat for 30 seconds, pausing for at least one second at the top of every rep.
After the supermans you should be ready to get back into the zone with some cardio. High knees performed quickly elevate your heart rate again.
The move: Stand up and start jogging in place. Your goal is to get your knees as high as your hips with every step. You can hold your hands out in front of you at hip-height to give yourself a target. Move as quickly as possible during this exercise.
The full burpee includes a squat jump and pushup, but since you’re already doing those during this circuit, you only need half of the burpee.
The move: Start standing, then plant your hands on the ground in front of you and kick your legs back. Now you’re in a pushup position. Next, hop your feet up under you and stand up tall. That’s one repetition. Complete as many as possible within 30 seconds.
LONG-LEVER FRONT PLANK
The majority of this workout increases your heart rate and makes you breathe heavily. Think of the long-lever plank not only as a core exercise but a chance to catch your breath. With only seven minutes to exercise, this is as close as you should come to a true rest period.
The move: Get down on the ground in a plank position. Only your forearms and feet should be touching the ground. Keep your body in a straight line. Your shoulders, hips and ankles should all line up. This is the regular plank position, but you can make it more challenging.
Walk your arms forward so your elbows are in front of your shoulders. Keep your body in a straight line. This is the long-lever plank position, and it’s noticeably more challenging. The further you walk your arms forward, the harder it is. Try to maintain the plank position for one minute.