Shortcut workout?

A workout that uses the wall and chair as equipment and takes all of 7-mins! Sounds too good to be true? Find out for yourself…
In 2013, the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal published a “well-researched” 7-minute workout with 12 bodyweight exercises that use only the wall and a chair for equipment. Each move is performed for 30 seconds with 10 seconds of rest in between. The claim: 7 minutes is all you need to fulfill your fitness goals.

Since then, numerous apps suggesting this shortcut workout and its variations were launched, downloaded, and duly followed. After all, we love a shortcut to good health. The good news: this shortcut might just work. But you may need more than 7 minutes, says Delhi-based senior orthopaedic consultant Dr Rakesh Kumar. “Some exercise is always better than doing nothing. The 7-min workout is designed for beginners or busy people, but the workout has to be an intense one,” he mentions.

The 7-min plan works on the principles of HIIT or high-intensity interval training. Kumar feels the benefits of the exercise are overstated. “Research is still on to prove high intensity workout’s superiority over moderate intensity long duration workout,” he mentions. For doing the 7-min workout right, Kumar suggests that on an intensity scale from 1 to 10, exercises should be performed at around 8.

Shortcut workout?

Swapneel Hazare, a senior fitness consultant, is sceptical of the shortcut workouts. His advice: Focus on compound exercises involving more muscle fibre recruitment and, hence, more benefits. He says, “Ideal would be a 20-30 min workout at a good intensity, which keeps your metabolic rate high. So, the 7-min workout works if done 3 to 5 times with breaks – amounting to 25 to 30 min.”

The main problem with app-based programmes is that it doesn’t take into account individual capacity. “Apps don’t know your mobility, flexibility and strength levels. Also, a fitness programme is not a one size fits all,” Hazare adds.

Before trying any app-based programme, take into account your health. Follow instructions and precautions. See a doctor if you have any injuries or a chronic health condition such as heart disease, asthma, high BP, joint or bone disease, a neurological illness, or diabetes. Tread carefully.

The 7-minute workout
Download the 7-minute workout app on your phone. There are many apps, take your pick. It will guide you through 12 bodyweight exercises. Start with jumping jacks, move on to wall sits, pushups, ab crunches, step-ups, squats, tricep dips, plank, high knees, lunges, pushup and rotation and end with side planks. This this is one circuit. You can choose to repeat this circuit 2-3 times.

Don’t forget to…
– Warm up for 5-10 mins
– Boost your level gradually
– Don’t push yourself too hard
– Hold on when fatigued
– Avoid dehydration
– Wear comfortable clothes

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