The Seven Minute Workout

I’m a huge fan of weighlifting, but sometimes, working out with free weights isn’t possible. Maybe you don’t have regular access to a gym, or equipment at home. Maybe you’re on the road. Or maybe, you’re still working up the courage to go to that part of the crowded gym where everybody looks like they know what they’re doing.

(Appearances are everything: the majority of guys I see at the gym actually have terrible form).

I’ve spent several periods of my life living overseas, and didn’t always have access to a gym. Before one of these periods (and long before I had discovered weightlifting), I downloaded a few 60-minute videos, a mixture of traditional cardio and strength, thinking that I would do these workouts in my room. And I did.

Once.

Over a five-month period.

Part of the problem was my lack of discipline, but part of it was logistics. To give myself enough space, I perched my laptop out of kicking range. Unfortunately, out of kicking range meant out of visual range, and I had trouble actually seeing the video and following along. So I stopped.

Instead, I devised another program based on the Tabata principle, established by the Japanese exercise scientist, Dr. Izumi Tabata. Tabata’s research compared people who worked out 5 days per week, for a total of 1 hour (Group A), with people who worked out 4 days per week, for a total of 4 minutes and 20 seconds (Group B).

The results?

Group B beat Group A in terms of their aerobic or cardiovascular system. Moreover, unlike Group A, Group B also increased their anaerobic or muscular system by 28%. A short burst of high intensity exercise was more effective than more frequent, longer rounds of cardio.

Like Tabata’s protocol, my workout requires that you safely push yourself as hard as you can.

Jump squats
20 seconds: Do as many as you can.
10 seconds: Rest.

Repeat 6 times.

Push-ups
20 seconds: Do as many seconds as you can.
10 seconds: Rest.

Repeat 6 times.

Planks
1 minute: Hold a plank as long as you can, taking breaks when necessary.

Done. That’s it.

Time flies when you’re doing this workout because it’s broken up into very small, manageable intervals.

When I finally returned to North America, and tried out the weight machines at the gym, I thought I would be weak. Surprisingly, this wasn’t the case. Despite not having touched a machine in many months, my strength had improved, and I felt more in shape than I had before I left.

Are you up to the Tabata challenge? Try it once and let me know how it goes.

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