It all started with an NYT article and soon became a sensation. You will find workout blogs and magazine constantly coming up with new and interesting ways to get you to exercise (and buy their stuff). But “The scientific 7 minute workout” stood out. May be because it had the word scientific in it, or may be, just may be, because it was actually good.
The pitch is simple. You do 12 different exercises for 30 seconds each and take 5 seconds break between each of them. You don’t need any equipment. All you need is your body, a wall and a chair.
Interval training means you cycle through high intensity and low intensity exercises. Interval training workouts usually last for 30 minutes to an hour. This workout applies the same principles, but brings in the total time spent to just 7 minutes. You are free to repeat it again and again if you want more.
The science behind it is simple. As stated in the article, “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.”
And of course, as this is the internet we are talking about, there has been some backlash about this. But no matter what your exercise beliefs are, you know what’s better than doing nothing? A 7 minute workout that targets your whole body, gets a sweat going and ultimately leaves you better off than you were 7 minutes ago.
Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done. – Chris Jordan
If you want, you can do this entire workout just by looking at this image.
While that might have done it for our parents or grandparents, we like to have our cakes (workouts) served on a silver dish with extra whipped cream (mobile devices and gorgeous apps respectively).
So without further ado, let’s talk about the apps that will get you through these unpleasant and much needed 7 minutes of you day.
Note: You might want to take a look at this Lifehacker article with videos and description about all 12 exercises.
7 Minute Workout
7 Minute Workout is a really lightweight app which uses Google’s text-to-speech engine to read out instructions. There’s a circular progress bar showing how much time you have left in the current activity, gives you a 3-2-1 countdown and tells you the next activity as well. If you know what you are doing and all you need is an app to keep the track of the exercises and time then 7 Minute Workout offers it all in a free package.
It’s also very flexible. Yes, It’s called the scientific workout but if you want to change any small detail about the workout, this app lets you. You can change the exercise time from 30 seconds to something else, repeat the workout more than once and a whole lot more. Jump into the Settings menu to tune your workout.
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App
For Android, the “official” 7 minute workout app from Johnson & Johnson comes out as a true winner. It offers you the original 7 minute workout to start with and adds in warm up and cool down sets if you like. The app is well designed and the workout screen gives you all the information you need.
There’s a dotted circle showing your progress, a video of the creator of the 7 minute workout actually doing the workout and giving you tips and motivation and details about which exercise you are doing at the moment.
You cannot change for how long you do an exercise or your break time with the official app but in some ways it is infinitely customizable. J&J took up the 7 minute workout idea and built on it.. a lot.
So now you can do things like “The 21 minute cardio blast” workout or “The strength workout”.
iPhone and iPad
When it comes to iOS devices, again you have a lot of apps to choose from but we shall stick to two really good ones.
7 Minute Workout by Bytesize
The app is simple, free and not riddled with ads. You get a list of all the exercises, tap on any of them and you get a detailed description about the exercised accompanied by a how-to video.
While the voice over is quite nice, there are no animations or illustrations of any exercises when you are working out. Just a plain screen filled with text.
The Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App
Once again the J&J app takes away the glory. It looks and works exactly like the Android app, if not better. The transitions are smoother and the iPad app is a delight to use. This app, with its helpful videos playing on the workout screen, options for warm up and cool down and just the sheer collection of different exercises and workout plans make it the best 7 minute workout app for beginners.
The Seven Minute Workout by Fifteen Jugglers Software
This is the ultimate 7 minute workout app for the ultimate 7 minute workout fan. The app is really simple. No options to choose from, no workouts to configure, nothing. This is the app for people who know what they are doing but need someone to keep an eye on them.
Launch the app, tap on Start Workout and just begin working out. The app shows some very nice animations on the workout screen with robotic voice overs and a big countdown timer imposed on the screen.
If you are just starting out, this app is clearly not for you, but it should be your goal, to be so good at the 7 minute workout that all you need to keep is this genius little app.
If you made it this far, good for you. You are ready to better yourself. If you ask me, I recommend the J&J official 7 minute app. It is the best stepping stone to a healthier lifestyle.