The Truth About the 7-Minute Workout

Transform your body in just 7 minutes.

The idea seems to be something you would see on TV at 3 am, with a little guy in shape, who would make statements too good to be true. As you deal with reported benefits – more muscle, less fat – everything in your body screams "scam", but the source is not QVC – it's the New York Times and the rage that is 7 minutes workout.

We are not talking about equipment that seems to have been dreamed by 13-year-old boys, it's a research published in the Health and Fitness Journal of the American College of Sports Medicine.

The next thing you know, Forbes writes about the workout and the buzz has spread to Good Morning America. The 7 minute workout is real and it works … at least that is what the mainstream media would have you believe. And yet, is not it a little played? I mean, have we ever forgotten "8-Minute Abs?" It has been almost 20 years since its release, and during that time obesity rates have almost doubled.

Here's a warning: I do not have a problem with the 7 minute workout. I do not agree with the formulation of unrealistic expectations that make people believe in a "minimal effective dose" that can lead to optimal results. It's the foundation of frustration.

New scientific discoveries are capable of discovering new information that modifies what we believe and believe to be true; in fact, it happens all the time. The problem is that we often trust what we want to believe rather than trying to prove if it is true. That's the problem with the recent release of the 7 minute workout. We have been misled by a catchy title that has some benefits but does not meet the long-term promise.

There can be no denying that exercise – whatever the dose – is good for your body. In fact, when I travel, I constantly install for workouts of 10 to 15 minutes instead of my normal 30 to 60 minute workout. And you can have a good workout in less than 10 minutes.

But do not confuse part of the whole: it is very difficult (and unlikely) to build a healthy body by working 7 minutes a day and performing only bodyweight exercises, which are the basis of 7 minutes training. And I will note that you would have a hard time finding someone who did it. After all, it only took 7 minutes to get in shape, the fight to lose weight would be less problematic.

Before you start doing exercise at home and expect spectacular results or participate in the inevitable 7-minute session coming into a gym near you, here is what you can really get out of the search. can reasonably expect to achieve if you follow this routine.

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Where the 7-minute training study failed

Understand that research in the field of exercise often falls into two categories: Studies that use previous research to validate earlier concepts or designs that test something new while relying on on previous research. The 7 minute workout is more of the old; he reviewed the perceived benefits of a 7-minute training session and derived many benefits from it based on research already done.

This does not make the search bad or inaccurate, if it's not for a small problem: The studies used to "prove" the concepts do not reflect the drive that is praised as the fix of 7 minutes for your body. It's like saying that because there's research showing low carb diets help weight loss that a diet without carbs will guarantee that you'll lose fat. It does not work like that. As always, the devil is in the details.

In the case of this circuit training program, the claims go beyond reality. That's why I reached out to Brad Schoenfeld, author of the Max Muscle Plan. Schoenfeld is one of the leaders in bodybuilding research, and a guy who literally wrote the book on packaging on muscle. Here are some of his takeaways:

All Circuit Training Is Not Equal

The general idea of ​​the 7 minute workout is that you perform 12 bodyweight exercises in circuit. This type of exercise is categorized as "high intensity circuit training". There is no problem, but once we have gone over how to label the type of exercise that is causing the problem. "The authors make big leaps that are not justified," says Schoenfeld.

Remember, the rationale for this program is validated by previous research explaining why this type of workout will build muscles and burn fat. And yet, three of the four cited references are based on high intensity workout types – not on interval training. "And the single circuit training study they cited by Murphy et al., 1992 used a protocol that was almost 3 times longer than that proposed by the authors," says Schoenfeld.

Even then, this study found a boost in EPOC (consider this your metabolism) which resulted in a whopping 25 extra calories burned. I do not know about you, but I do not consider an extra 25 calories a grease-shredding workout.

Mistake # 1: The type of workout in the 7 minute workout is not as good for fat loss as claimed.

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Not all exercises are equal

The other great flaw of this training session – besides the fact that the benefits are based on different types of training – is that the design of the program does not lend itself to some of the important claims. No matter what anyone tells you, not all exercises are created equal. Some require more effort, activate more muscle fibers and generate more results. Does anyone really think that bodyweight squats are as hard as heavy squats of dumbbells?

The authors rightly state that "when resistance training exercises using multiple bulky muscles are used with very little rest between sets, they can produce aerobic and metabolic benefits." C & # 39; is right. But if you look at the 7-minute solution, a lot of exercises – crunch, board, side board – are not big muscle exercises, Schoenfeld says.

Another problem is that these exercises are all movements of body weight. This is not to say that exercise of body weight can not be effective. I've seen enough crazy YouTube videos to know that bodyweight moves makes a good body. And they are also very convenient for anyone who does not have access to a gym. But the biggest benefit of high intensity training – not to mention the mentioned circuit training study – has not been achieved with bodyweight exercises; they were made with extra resistance, says Schoenfeld, where the weight could be manipulated to match a given rep-max. (In other words, a percentage of your maximum strength.) The use of body weight does not provide this benefit, and for those who are fit enough, it would be difficult to reach a level of constant maximum intensity for 30 seconds which would be comparable to a similar duration with additional resistance. To use the squat example: Making 80% of your maximum 1-rep on squats for a similar period of time would be a lot harder than doing 7 minutes of bodyweight squats.

The use of body weight does not offer this benefit, and for those who are fit enough, it would be difficult to reach a maximum level of constant intensity for 30 seconds which would be comparable to doing a similar duration with increased resistance. To use the squat example: Making 80% of your maximum 1-rep on squats for a similar period of time would be a lot harder than doing 7 minutes of bodyweight squats.

In addition, from the point of view of aerobic endurance, it has been shown that high intensity interval training (HIIT) can be a great alternative to conventional exercise regimen. permanent. "However, the types of exercises performed here are not ideal for accomplishing the task," says Schoenfeld. Exercises such as crunching, boarding and boarding will have minimal effects on energy expenditure and the amount of calories you can burn.

To further weaken their claims, the 30-second duration is not ideal for building muscle endurance. Generally, you would like it to be twice as long to really focus on local muscle endurance, Schoenfeld adds. Even in terms of muscle building, research is extended to muscular limits

Mistake # 2: The 7 minute workout exercises are not as effective at achieving the reported benefits.

Strength (and muscle building) requires additional resistance

Just in case you're wondering, it's also very unlikely that this routine will optimize the strength. Studies of low intensity (low body weight) consistently showed suboptimal strength gains compared to heavy weight training, says Schoenfeld. "It's because the big problem with bodyweight exercise is that you're limited to what you're weighing – there's no way to overload the muscles in a given repeat range." Thus, this routine would be a bad choice for anyone seeking to maximize their strength. "

Mistake # 3: According to the cited research, to benefit from the optimal benefits suggested by the 7-minute workout, one must add resistance.

What does the 7 minute workout really accomplish?

The 7 minute workout undeniably has advantages. In fact, I had him give it a try and it was difficult, I increased my heart rate and I have been training regularly for over 15 years. To this end, there is nothing wrong with the workout, and this can be a great solution for those seeking a quick workout.

The problem comes from the claims. The suggested benefits are very overestimated for anyone who even has a modest muscle shape, says Schoenfeld. More importantly, it's not a well-designed routine for anyone who wants to maximize specific fitness goals such as burning fat, building muscle, or increasing strength. The fun part? The science used to "support" the claims is the same science that proves that the claims are inaccurate.

Even though I wish the promises to be true, changing your body will require even more than 7 minutes a day.


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