I tried the science-backed 7-minute fitness routine and was blown away by how well it works
When I first heard about an app that promises the benefits of a sweaty bike ride or trip to the gym in seven minutes, I assumed it was all hype.
Designed by exercise physiologist Chris Jordan, the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout gets your heart pumping and helps build muscle. The app is a great introduction to a trendy type of fitness routine called interval training, and it's ideal for weekends or days when I can't make it to my regular yoga class.
Since it first debuted five years ago, the app has soared in popularity, something Jordan told Business Insider he didn't see coming.
"To be honest I don’t think we realized the popularity that this app would have," he said. "We've been incredibly pleasantly surprised that this has worked for so many."
Here's what the latest version of the app is like.
The entire workout really takes just seven minutes. I was initially sceptical about whether I could accomplish this much in such a narrow time frame.
The program consists of 72 exercises like jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups. Ten require nothing but your body, and for others, you just need a chair that can support your weight. The latest version of the app lets you do each exercise along with Jordan.
To do my workout, I set up a yoga mat on the hardwood floor of my office and used a stool.
The first four exercises I did — 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, wall sits, push-ups, and crunches, with 10 seconds of rest in between — were easy.
But by the time I got to planks, I was starting to feel a bit winded. At this point, I'd also done step-ups onto a chair, squats, and tricep dips. Four more exercises to go.
Next came running in place while lifting my knees as high as I could, lunges, alternating push-ups and rotations (raising one arm in the air while balancing on the other), and side planks (aligning your body sideways and balancing on one hand and the side of one foot).
Full set of 12 exercises complete!
In the end, the workout was actually a workout. But I wasn't totally wiped, so I did a second set.
Instead of doing what I did and repeating the workout, you can also adjust the difficulty by tweaking your intensity level, which I've found to be incredibly useful as I've improved my performance over time.
The concept behind the workout is called interval training — a term that refers to short, intense periods of exercise broken up by brief periods of rest. Jordan, who envisioned the regimen, told Business Insider that he based the workout on his experience as a fitness consultant for the US Air Force in Europe.
Studies suggest interval training may be more beneficial for building muscle and protecting the heart than some other forms of exercise. "High-intensity interval training can provide similar or greater benefits in less time than traditional longer, moderate-intensity workouts," Jordan said.
I'm satisfied overall with the 7-Minute Workout, and I've been doing it as an addition to my regular yoga routine every so often. But don't take my word for it — it doesn't take long to try it out yourself.
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