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With everyone being so short on time these days, a seven minute work out to get you fit is surely a good thing.  Right?  Well, it’s not quite so simple but it isn’t a bad place to start.

What is the 7 Minute Workout?

The 7 minute workout was devised by the Human Performance Institute in Orlando.  It follows the principles of ‘interval training’ where you do a period of high intensity exercise followed by a period of rest.  The 7 minute workout is a series of 12 exercises.  You do each exercise for 30 seconds and have 10 seconds rest after each one.

Will I really get fit in 7 Minutes?

7 minute workout

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For most of us we will need to repeat the workout two or three times to get maximum results.  This is because we can’t usually perform the exercises at a high enough intensity to produce the benefits according to an article in American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal.

The Exercises

The exercises in the 7 minute workout are:

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Wall Sit
  3. Push Ups
  4. Abdominal Crunches
  5. Step Ups
  6. Squats
  7. Tricep Dips
  8. The Plank
  9. High Knees
  10. Lunges
  11. Push Ups & Rotations
  12. Side Plank

Some of the exercises are cardiovascular to keep the heart pumping whilst some of the other exercises are static exercises.  It is important to do the exercises in the given order because the exercises focus on different muscle groups and each muscle group will have a chance to ‘rest’.


If you already practise Pilates or Yoga then several of the exercises will already be familiar to you.   For example:

  • The abdominal crunches would be the Pilates Ab Prep;
  • Push Ups are one of the original classical exercises;
  • Tricep dips are often performed on the Wunda chair;
  • Leg Pull Front involves the Plank;
  • The Twist is similar to the Push Ups and Rotations;
  • Side bend is similar to the Side Plank

Joseph Pilates created his classical mat work repertoire of 34 exercises and they are designed to follow a set order too.  This is because the order he developed warms up the body (the first exercise is the hundreds), challenges the body and then cools it down.  His exercises are a workout for the body and mind and an average person will find that going through the full repertoire – or even just half – can be tough if they give it 100%.

In the Pilates repertoire there are not any cardiovascular exercises as such.  The Pilates method of breathing combined with his exercises are enough to get the blood pumping through the system.

My Verdict

There are pros and cons for both forms of exercise but it isn’t a case of only being allowed to do one.  There is no reason why you couldn’t do both Pilates and the 7 minute workout.

As a Pilates teacher I believe there is much more to gain for both mind and body by practising Pilates.  If however you just want to get a bit fitter then the 7 minute workout could be suitable.  Pilates can be adapted in numerous ways so it is a form of exercise suitable for everyone.  The 7 minute workout is not so easy to modify and if you have never exercised or not done so in a while then it is a tough workout, possibly too tough for a complete beginner.

Additionally, some of the exercises in the 7 minute workout have the potential to cause back problems if they are not carried out correctly.  The plank is a good example of this as if the abdominal muscles are not engaged then the lower back will take the strain of the exercise.  In a good Pilates class you will be taught the right technique and given modifications if your body is not quite up to the full exercise.

My verdict?  I personally think Pilates overall provides a superior body and mind workout.  As well as a fit and toned body, I believe there is much more to be gained from practising Pilates.  That said, if the exercises in the 7 minute workout are followed safely and correctly it should improve your fitness levels.

Have you tried Pilates or the 7 minute workout?  Let me know what you think!