7 minute workout: 12 exercises to shape up

7 minute workout: 12 exercises to shape up

And if 12 exercises and just 7 minute workout is enough to improve your physical condition, would you try?

This famous 7 minute workout was created by 2 Americans, Brett Klika and Chris Jordan, to answer their customers’ requests:

  • being able to play sports everywhere, without tools
  • be able to integrate physical activity into everyday life even when you are super busy.

The only accessories you need are a stopwatch, a chair and the wall.

7 minute workout : What is it?

It is a HICT (High Intensity Circuit Training) program published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal and popularized by the New York Times . A group of scholars selected 12 exercises to be performed for 30 seconds and interspersed with 10 seconds of recovery .

This high intensity 7 minute workout would increase your metabolism and would be the equivalent of a workout of more than an hour , condensed in just 7 minutes!

It is an ideal program for those who want to try HICT training and it is progressive. It is suitable for both healthy men and women .

So, you can start from 7 minutes and reach 21 minutes , depending on your fitness and the time you can devote to sports. But, if you are not very trained , it is better to do the circuit only once, instead, if you already practice an activity like running, for example, you can decide to repeat it 2/3 times.

Does the 7 minute workout work? To be effective, it is essential to perform the exercises correctly. For each exercise on the 7 minute circuit, indicates a less demanding variant because the important thing is not to get hurt.

7 minute workout : benefits and strengths

These exercises have been chosen to develop the strength of the main muscle groups but also to do cardio work.

So, the aim is to be able to maintain maximum intensity with each exercise. The exercises must be performed for 30 seconds (try to do at least 20 repetitions) with 10 seconds of recovery between one exercise and another .

According to the researchers who designed the circuit, performing this high intensity 7 minute workout would be more effective, especially for burning fat , than running for 40 minutes.

Usually, muscle toning and aerobic work is done separately. But, thanks to this circuit, the 2 types of training and effort are brought together in one program.

Anyone can find 7 minutes to train , especially since this program can be performed really anywhere.

In fact, a Swiss study has shown that lack of time is the main obstacle for those who would like to play sports but are unable to include it in their daily routines. Here’s the solution : a 7 minute workout can’t make you arrive late at the office in the morning.

How to train the 4 muscle groups in 7 minutes

The order of this 7 minute workout must be respected. It was designed to alternate the 4 muscle groups:

  • Cardio : Includes jumping jacks, step-up onto chair, running in place;
  • Legs: wall sit, squat, lunge;
  • Chest and arms : push-up, triceps on chair, push-up and rotation;
  • Core : crunch, plank, side plank.
12 exercises in 7 minutes: modulate your training

Respecting the order of the 4 muscle groups, you can also decide to simplify the exercises if you have difficulty doing them. In any physical activity, it is essential to recognize your limits. So the advice is to adapt the rhythm and intensity of training to your level : you will still get positive effects on the front of both toning and improving your endurance and aerobic capacity .

Some examples

  • If you can’t do push-ups , put your knees on the ground. On the contrary, if you are super trained, perform raised push-ups
  • The same advice applies to the plank: the first weeks you can perform the exercise with the knees on the ground
  • The step can be performed on a simple step or, for the more trained, on a chair
  • The push-up and rotation exercise is very complex and requires strength and endurance, in addition it is done at the end of the circuit, so if you encounter too much difficulty it is better to do the less intense variant.

In short, the important thing is to regulate yourself and be constant in your training. After doing 7 minute workout for a month, it can be monotonous to always perform the same exercises, so don’t be afraid to change them.

7 minute workout : recommendations

  • To be effective, this 7-minute training program must be performed at least 3 times a week
  • The maximum benefits, explains our fitness expert Giovanna Lecis , is obtained by performing the exercises at an intensity that must be between 80 and 90% of the maximum heart rate – therefore rather demanding – so, if you are not a trained athlete, don’t overdo it.
  • Look at the table below to calculate your maximum heart rate
  • To avoid muscle pain or even worse trauma, warm up before training and then do some stretching exercises
  • Hydrate well at the end of the circuit (drink tea, herbal tea or water)
  • Always respect the rest time between exercises (10 seconds).


Before starting any sport, ask your doctor for advice, who will assess your health.

In any case, this 7 minute workout is not recommended for:

  • over 60
  • who hasn’t practiced sports for some time
  • overweight people
  • who has joint problems
  • pregnant women
  • hypertensive
  • who has heart problems.

7 minute workout : how to correctly perform the 12 exercises

If you find it difficult to do the training circuit, try using the 7 minute workout video training timer to cycle the sequence of exercises.

1 – Jumping jacks
7 minute workout: 12 exercises to shape up 1

Departure standing, legs and arms together. Jump by opening your legs and raising your arms. Return to the starting position.

Be careful to contract your abs so as not to hurt your back.

Less intense alternative : put your hands on your hips or perform scissors, always keeping your belly inward.

2 – Wall sit
Wall sit

Stand against the wall, lean your back and bring your feet 20 cm from the wall. Slowly slide with your back until your legs are 90 degrees bent. Hold your position.

Tip : if your quadriceps burn, focus on your breathing, always belly up.

Less intense variant : do not bend your legs up to 90 degrees.

3 – Push-ups or push-ups
Push-ups or push-ups

Starting in a plank position, arms open at a slightly wider width than the shoulders. Perform a flexion by bending your arms, elbows parallel to the body. To perform the movement well and not to risk hurting yourself, keep your back straight and your stomach in during the whole exercise.

Less intense variant : do push-ups on the knees, start in quadrupedia.

4 – Crunch

Lying on the floor, legs bent and back close to the floor. Inhale and, exhaling, bring your belly in and take your shoulders off the ground, being careful not to force your neck. Inhale, return to the starting position.

Less intense variant : place your legs bent at 90 degrees on a chair.

5 – Step-up onto chair
 Step-up onto chair

Get on and off the chair keeping your shoulders straight and your back straight, your buttocks contracted, your knees not stiff, your body stretched forward and your gaze in front of you.

Less intense variant : instead of the chair, use a step or step.

6 – Squats

Start in feet, legs spread at shoulder width, toes rotated slightly outwards and body weight perfectly in the center. Bend your knees as if you were sitting on a chair, bring your buttocks back feeling the weight of your body on your heels.

Keep your upper body straight, your abdomen active and your arms forward to facilitate balance during the descent phase.

Less intense variant : do the sumo squat, legs spread and toes open at 45 degrees.

7 – Triceps dips on chair
Triceps dips on chair

Sitting on the edge of the chair, place your hands on the edges, feet on the ground. Push on your arms and bring your body forward with your buttocks hanging, legs straight.

Bend your elbows at 90 degrees and lower your buttocks almost to the ground, with your legs bent and resting on your heels. Go up and back in extension pushing on arms and heels. When descending, the buttocks must always remain close to the chair.

Less intense variant : the more you move your feet forward, the more difficult the exercise, the closer your feet are to the chair, the lower the difficulty.

8 – Plank

On your knees with your elbows on the ground, bring your outstretched legs back resting your feet on your big toes and lift your pelvis.

Keep your back straight and parallel to the floor, your belly in and your buttocks contracted.

Very important : you never let your belly out. The cervicals must be in a neutral position, i.e. in the extension of the body.

Less intense variant : do the reverse plank.

Find out our article on 30 day plank challenge.

9 – Running on place
Running on place

Run on the spot alternating your arm with the opposite leg. The push should be performed only with the forefoot and the execution of the exercise must be neither too fast nor too slow.

When the exercise is easy for you, you can increase the intensity by running with your knees up.

Less intense variant : walk fast on the spot.

10 – Lunges or lunges
 Lunges or lunges

Start standing, legs parallel and hands on hips. Move your left leg forward keeping your upper body straight.

Bend your left leg to form a right angle, keeping your back straight and your abs tight. Return to the starting position. Repeat the exercise by bending your right leg.

Less intense variant : do not go down to form a right angle.

11 – Push-up and rotation
 Push-up and rotation

This exercise is performed in two stages.

First the bending is done and after a rotation of the bust.

Starting position in plank : the opening of the hands must be slightly greater than the width of the shoulders. It is essential to contract your abs and glutes so that you always have a straight back.

Flex your arms and bring your chest down. On the descent, try to respect the rules “chin, chest, thighs”: it means that these 3 parts of the body must go down together during the flexion.

When you return to the plank position, rotate your torso alternating once to the right, the next time to the left.

Less intense variant : perform an opposite arms and legs .

Departure in quadrupedia, knees slightly open, align the hands perpendicular to the shoulders and the knees to the pelvis.

The back must remain in a neutral position for the duration of the execution , the neck in line and the gaze on the mat, the belly inward.

Exhale, raise your right arm and left leg in the back extension, then return to the quadrupedal position and perform the exercise on the other side.

12 – Side plank
Side plank

Lie on your left side with your back straight and your elbow resting on the ground, crossing your right leg stretched on the left. Inhale, take your pelvis off the ground while keeping your back straight.

Hold for 15 seconds. Switch sides and repeat the exercise on the right side, again for 15 seconds.

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