The 7-minute workout that everyone can do

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By Abhilasha Katoch 

A busy life is a sign of being successful and having a thriving bank account. But it also signifies less devotion towards one’s health. Although, there are people who spend hours in the gym, flexing muscles, lifting weights, yelping all the way while doing it and making shrivelled faces like a child tasting lemon for the first time; but a large number of individuals have negligible fitness routine. So what is the cure for this seemingly insurmountable issue?

Enter: 7 minute workout. Now, as one takes a gander, the phrase seems to yell “SCAM” at your face. It sounds like one of those fake news article where National Report stated that Breaking Bad had been renewed for a sixth season. Everyone knew that news was fake. Why? Because it was too good to be true. But apparently, this workout is shattering the dominance of gyms and equipment-training, globally.

This sensational workout program first came into light when it was published in May/June 2013 issue of American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal by Brett Klika and Chris Jordan. It’s a rigorous High-Intensity Circuit Training (HICT) program which requires the use of body weight, a chair and a wall.

The exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. Total time for the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes. The key is to strategically order the exercises so you're working on different major muscles groups (upper body, lower body, core) each time. This allows for one major muscle group to rest while you work the next muscle group, resulting in a super-efficient, super-effective routine.

The workout includes:

  • Jumping jacks (Total body)
  • Wall sit (Lower body)
  • Push-up (Upper body)
  • Abdominal crunch (Core)
  • Step-up onto chair (Total body)
  • Squat (Lower body)
  • Triceps dip on chair (Upper body)
  • Plank (Core)
  • High knees/running in place (Total body)
  • Lunge (Lower body)
  • Push-up and rotation (Upper body)
  • Side plank (Core)

So, does this actually work? Research by scientists at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and other institutions shows, for instance, that even a few minutes of training at an intensity approaching your maximum capacity produces molecular changes within muscles comparable to those of several hours of running or bike riding.

I personally have tried this intensive regimen after I became aware of the hue and cry it had raised worldwide. I consider myself to be reasonably fit, although I have never worked out before because of my sheer laziness and my deep-seated loyalty towards my bed. But me being the curious creature I am, I gave it a try. I have no shame to admit that those were the seven longest and most agony filled minutes of my life. The NYT article appropriately warns, “Those 7 minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant.” Just five minutes into it and I was already huffing and puffing and shaking like a leaf on a stormy night. But after I finished it and was done sweating like a farmer waiting for Monsoon, I realised two things. One, never wear a grey t-shirt while working out because it shows how visibly sweaty you are. Second, I figured that I should definitely integrate this workout into my otherwise bone-idle lifestyle.

Summing it up, for those who don't enjoy spending too much time on exercise, such a short and intense workout is no doubt appealing and beneficial.


Klika, B., & Jordan, C. (2013). HIGH-INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING USING BODY WEIGHT. ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal17(3), 8-13.

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