I'm still working on finding the right groove with these #MoveItMonday posts, so for today I'm switching it up from showcasing a single move and trying something a little different.

If you've followed along for awhile, you've probably heard me talk about the 7-minute workout. I love incorporating a 7-minute workout as a finisher on my strength training days, as supplemental cardio on my non-weight lifting days or as a stand alone workout when I don't have time for much else but still want to get in a quick and effective workout.

For today's post, I'm sharing a little bit more about the 7-minute workout, what it is, where it came from, why it works, how to do it and a challenge, of course!

What is the 7-minute workout and where did it come from?

First published in ACM's Health and Fitness Journal by two fitness professionals, Chris Jordan and Brett Klika, the 7-minute workout is a form of HICT (high-intensity circuit training) or HIIT (high-intensity interval training). As originally written, the 7-minute workout is a circuit of 12 bodyweight exercises performed in short bursts of 30 seconds of work paired with 10 seconds of rest.

Why should you (or shouldn't you) do it?

7-minute workouts are great because as described the only equipment needed is YOU and a willing attitude to do the work. But, more than that, it's a quick and effective way to get in a workout or supplement other workouts that you may be doing in a given week.

Because you are working through short bursts of work, you should max out your effort during the 30 seconds of work then completely resting before starting the next interval. When you are pushing yourself to the max through these shortened intervals combined with very brief periods of rest, you are tapping into both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems. Your mind is going to want to quit before you are actually supposed to quit  because this 7-minute workout should be hard. Keep going because most often our minds want to stop before our bodies are truly ready because they are capable of so much more.

Also this short, but intense workout gives your body a nice little afterburn. You will continue burning more calories post-HICT/HIIT workout due to a fancy term called excess post-exercise energy consumption (EPOC for short). The harder your body is working, the higher rate of oxygen consumption your body is taking at rest as your body recovers and returns back to your normal everyday state. In other words, with the afterburn, you're burning calories all day following a HICT/HIIT workout.

It's worth noting though that 7-minute workouts aren't for everyone. Due to the high intense nature of the exercises in a 7-minute workout, if you're are untrained or a beginner to exercise, this might not be the best workout to begin with. Also, if you have any existing medical conditions you might need to ease into this type of exercise. Even still, you could try a more modified, less intense version to get an idea of the structure and work towards including this in your routine over time.

7-minute workouts should also not be your end-all-be-all workout. In order to be the most effective, it's best to incorporate only a couple of times per week and not have the 7-minute workout be your only form of exercise in a given week. It's a good idea to make sure your routine is well-rounded with additional forms of cardio, resistance and balance/flexibility training.

All things considered however, if you are short on time, traveling or like to add a little something extra every now and again, the 7-minute workout is a PERFECT option!

How do you do the 7-minute workout?

As stated previously, the originally written 7-minute workout is a list of 12 bodyweight exercises performed in intervals of 30 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. Typically HICT alternates exercises with opposing muscle groups as well as exercises that are more intense (causing more of a spike in heart rate) with less intense (allowing for the heart rate to recover). For example, when coming up with the list of exercises think of push-ups (upper body focus) followed by a squat (lower body focus) or jumping jacks followed by a plank. This goes back to tapping into both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems that I mentioned earlier.

More often than not, I take a slight variance on the 7-minute workout including just 10 total exercises with 30 seconds of work paired with 15 seconds of rest rather than 12 exercises at 30:10. I also like to swap out and edit my 7-minute workout depending on what my goals are or what type of other workouts I may be doing that given week. I may build a 7-minute workout based solely on core and do at the end of a cardio day or if I'm doing upper body strength, I may do a finisher 7-minute workout that's focused solely on upper body. If I'm doing nothing else but the 7-minute because of time or I'm traveling, I likely stick with the originally type of HICT and alternate upper body with lower body work to get in a complete full-body workout.

Before you even start with your 7-minutes, it's best to prepare in advance your list of 10-12 exercises so you aren't spending your rest time trying to think of what move to do next but rather use the rest to actually rest. With the previous notes in mind, jot down your circuit list, then when it's time to execute all you have to do is click START on your timer and get to work. I often just use the timer on my iPhone but you can also download interval timers from the App Store that will let you customize your HIIT intervals which is perfect for the 7-minute workout.

Once you've got your exercises ready and timer handy, all that's left to do is GO! Work through the circuit, 30 seconds of work, 15 seconds rest if that's what you're sticking with and don't take a complete break until you're finished with the round. Depending on what else you may or may not be doing, you can add one or two more rounds before finishing. That's it, though, it's pretty simple to put together and while its not easy to do, it's fairly straightforward once you get to work!

You guessed it, challenge time!!

Wouldn't be a challenge without a new 7-minute workout to go with it! Save the image below and give this quick workout a try this week. Do it on its own for one, two or three rounds or add it in as a finisher to another one of your weekly workouts. Tag me on social if you give this a try and let me know how you like it!!

I hope you enjoy this different approach to #MoveItMonday! I'd love to hear feedback from you on exercise ideas to highlight or exercises you'd like to learn a little more about. I'm open to any and all suggestions!