The 7 Minute Workout Review

As stated in Part Two of this series, I did “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout” the other day.  I really wanted to know how much of an aerobic exercise and calorie burn the workout would give you.  So, to get “real” scientific results, I made sure it’d be my first workout of the day and I also made sure to take my heart-rate monitor and MotoACTV along for the ride.

You guys can check out “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout” moves along with a video demo in Part Two of this series…click here.

LONG STORY SHORT – I am not at all impressed with the 7-Minute Workout.

Yes, you get a good sweat going…but so what?  Anyone will get a good sweat going with any form of high intensity circuit/interval training.  I actually did the “7-Minute Workout” 3 times (as recommended by the group that did the study) and I still wasn’t that impressed with the final results.  I certainly see how it could improve health in people that are not that in shape or don’t workout…but any type of (more intense) exercise will get anyone a bit more in shape…so the “scientific” results from the study aren’t really telling us anything we didn’t already know.

AS A SIDE NOTE: I DO THINK IT WOULD BE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BALL GAME IF WE ADDED WEIGHT TO THE 7-MINUTE WORKOUT…but that’s not what the program is about so we can’t review the program assuming we can add weights…which would burn more calories and really really make the circuit a killer.  But, again, since one of the main points of the program is that you can do it at home with NO OTHER EQUIPMENT except for a chair, we cannot talk about using weights.

So, below I have listed the pro I see with the program and a few of the cons. 

I have also included snapshots of the workout data gathered with my MotoACTV so we can compare “The 7-Minute Workout” to one of my normal workout days. 



What is the beach-ready pump?

It is what it sounds like, a muscle pump right before hitting the beach.  That is what I think the 7-Minute Workout, without weights, is good for – a quick muscle pump before hitting the beach.



I have a number of issues with the lack of a warm-up.

One, warming up is very important for both better performance and helping to prevent injury.

Two, eliminating the warm-up is what helps keep “The 7 Minute Workout” under 8 minutes…but a warm-up is too important to skip…especially for beginners or people with injuries.  A warm-up also helps get your heart rate up there so you’re already in calorie burning mode when you start the program…resulting in more of a calorie burn than if you had no warm-up.  

The media also states that the workout becomes easier the second round because your body “gets used to it”…NOPE!  It’s easier the second round because your body uses the first round to warm up!

Three, if you do the “workout” 3 times (as recommended) then the entire thing last about 25-30 minutes assuming a 90 – 120 second break between “workouts.”  This puts us in the same time frame of any P90X or P90X2 workout.  The only reason P90X workouts are about 20 minutes longer is because they have warm-ups and cool-downs at the start and end of every workout.  Now, I personally believe you don’t need a very long cool-down but,


so “The 7-Minute Workout” should really be about the “10-13 Minute Workout” which would give enough time for a warm up…but less marketability. 


In terms of calorie burn “The 7-Minute Workout” is not that great…especially if done only once.  As seen in the graphs below, the overall calorie burn for 3 sessions is only about 230 calories and you only get about another 70 calories during your body’s natural cool down session.

And, if you were to do the circuit only once the calorie burn doesn’t even brake 100 calories. 


X-Gains | The 7-Minute Workout, Calories Burned After Round 1



X-Gains | The 7-Minute Workout, Calories Burned After Round 2



X-Gains | The 7-Minute Workout, Calorie Burn After Round 3



X-Gains | The 7-Minute Workout, Calorie Burn After 45 Minutes (cool down to under 100 bmp)



When it comes to heart beats per minutes (bpm) “The 7-Minute Workout” also falls a bit short.

My max and avg. heart rate did not get very high during any part of the workout – and a big part of calorie burning is high intensity. (i.e. getting that heart rate up there).   Even at about 80-90% of my full exertion a only broke 160 bpm once with an average of 125 bpm (as seen in the summary stats in the graphs above) .

As a matter of fact (as seen in the graph below) I stayed above 160 bmp, Zone 4, for only 90 seconds of a 30 minute workout…that’s not a very good or intense aerobic exercise.


X-Gains | The 7-Minute Workout, Heart Rate Zone



The final weak spot of the circuit, in my opinion, is the lower body part of the workout…or lack thereof.

With “The 7-Minute Workout” you get a really good upper body pump but not so much in the lower body.  This happens because it is a lot easier to maintain good form while knocking out a lot of push-ups in a 30 second spurt while, on the other hand, it is a lot harder to maintain good form while squatting, lunging, or doing chair step-ups at an intensive pace.  So, because you end up doing a lot less leg reps, you don’t get the same pump in the lower body as you do in the upper body.

I would actually suggest substituting explosive leg exercises instead of the more routine moves they’ve suggested in the workout.

For example, instead of just squats I’d suggest squat jumps and instead of just lunges I’d suggest split squat jumps (from a lunge position you jump up and switch legs in the air so when you land back into the lunge position your front leg is now in the back and your back leg in the front position).  These types of moves are a bit more form forgiving, a bit more intense, and give you much more of an aerobic workout than the standard form-based moves currently in the 7-minute workout.



X-Gains | The 7-Minute Workout, Heart Rate Zone


Though (as seen in the graph below) on a normal workout day I do three different workouts, I have labeled each section of the graph to easily compare each workout (a P90X2 routine, a run, and an ab routine) to “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout” seen above.  The graph below shows that, in terms of calorie burning, the closest thing to a full 3 sets of “The 7-Minute Workout” is running/jogging for 20 minutes.  So, keeping in mind that 3 sets of “The 7-Minute Workout” is more like “The 28-Minute Workout,” you’ll actually save about 8 minutes if you decide to jog instead of doing “The 7-Minute Workout,” which if you only have 7 minutes to workout is a pretty big deal or gives you enough time to get a good run in PLUS one round of “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout”…now that’s perfect – a good leg pump + a good upper body pump.


X-Gains | X-Gains Workout, Heart Rate Zone

X-Gains | X-Gains Workout, Workout Summary



As noted in Part One of this series, I do think “The 7-Minute Workout” would be a very good leaping pad for someone looking to start working out or thinks they have no time to workout.  Just remember to be shooting for 3 sets of the “workout” and/or start adding weights once you’ve got the budget and strength.

But, I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND “THE SCIENTIFIC 7-MINUTE WORKOUT” if you think this workout is going to drastically or, in some cases, even noticeably change your body because you may be very discouraged in the end…ESPECIALLY IF YOU ONLY DO “THE 7-MINUTE WORKOUT” FOR 7-MINUTES!!!

So, in most cases, I would NOT recommend “The 7-Minute Workout” at all but instead suggest we aim a bit higher…BECAUSE, IN THE END, WE SHOULD ALL WANT TO WORKOUT FOR MORE THAN 7-MINUTES A DAY ANYWAYS!

By Rolando Rodriguez