Scientific 7 Minute Workout

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Think you don’t have time to exercise?  Think again!

Here’s the original “Scientific 7 Minute Workout”  from Brett Klika and Chris Jordan as published in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. To be honest, I’m not sure why it is called the “7 minute” workout because it is more like 8 ½ minutes.  This is a body weight exercise workout, which means you can do it just about anywhere.

Here’s how it works.  Complete each exercise in order.  Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between exercises.

The original study calls for you to perform each exercise at the highest intensity you can safely sustain, though you can tailor it to meet your individual needs.  Just don’t cheat yourself by not giving it the effort you deserve!  For maximum benefit repeat the circuit 2-3 times.

To show that this workout can be done just about anywhere, I did it in my office in my street clothes.  (No, I didn’t give it full intensity, but it was invigorating and got me moving.)  The workout is below.  If you’d like a follow-along video to work out with I recommend this one from Fitness Blender.

The workout does not include a warm up or cool down, which are recommended.  Even a few minutes can help avoid injuries and sore muscles.

Now, without further ado, I give you the “Scientific 7 Minute Workout”.  (Complete with pictures of a nameless, somewhat handsome guy, that you are free to ignore if you like.)

Jumping Jacks


Jumping Jacks

Most people know how to do jumping jacks
(okay, with the exception of a couple of kids on the youth basketball
team I coach), but just in case, here’s how to do it.

1. Stand straight, with feet together and arms at your side.

2. Slightly bend your knees, and jump a few inches into the air.

3. While in air, bring your legs out to the side about shoulder width or slightly wider.  At the same time raise your arms over your head.  Keep arms stiff and slightly bent (Don’t flop around).

4. Quickly jump back to step 1 and repeat.

Wall Sit

Wall Sit

The wall sit is the first static exercise in this circuit.

1.  Sit in the air with your back against a wall and think square!  Legs should be bent to 90 degrees, knees directly over your ankles and thighs pointing out perpendicular to the wall, as if you are sitting on a square box the exact dimensions of your body.   You may find it simplest to lean back against the wall and then slide down until you are in the proper position.

2. Hold that position for the entire 30 seconds.

Push Up

Push Up

Here’s one that everyone knows about but is so easy to get wrong.  For some tips on proper form, there is a great post here.

1. Start with your arms straight, core tight, holding your body in a plank (straight head to toe) position.

2. Hands and arms should be positioned below your shoulders with fingers pointed forwards (towards your head). Shoulders are pushed down away from your ears.

3. Lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, elbows pulling back (not out) at roughly a 45
degree angle.

4. Push  away from the ground, keeping your body straight, until your arms lock, then repeat.



I’m not a fan of traditional crunches because they are not as effective as once thought and are potentially
bad for your back, but they are part of the original workout, so here they are.   (The following description is from

“Begin flat on your back with your knees bent and the heels of your feet only a few inches from your buttocks. Bring your hands to your temples with palms out, and elbows out from the body at about thirty to forty-five degrees. While exhaling, bring your shoulder blades off the ground fairly quickly, until you feel an intense pressure in the rectus
abdominus muscles. Hold for a one to two second count, then slowly release, beginning the next repetition when the head and shoulders are just about to touch the ground.”

Step Up

Step up

You can use a  sturdy chair, box, retaining wall, etc. to do these.

1.  Alternating each leg, step up on to an elevated surface .   I like to throw in a high knee up top with the non-weight-bearing leg.

2. Step back down again.  Repeat, leading with the opposite leg.

You can very intensity by adjusting the speed and/or height.



Hinge your hips so that your butt moves backwards as you go down.

Toes should be turned slightly out.  Knees should not extend past your toes as you go down.

At the bottom of the squat your hamstrings should be roughly parallel to the floor.

Keep your head straight, chest forward, shoulders back. and your back flat to slightly arched.

Inhale down, exhale up.

Triceps Dips


Use a stable chair, bench, low wall, deck etc.  If you don’t have any of these you can also do your dips on the floor.

Position your hands shoulder-width apart on a secured bench or stable chair.

Extend your legs out in front of you.

Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints.

Slowly bend your elbows to lower your body toward the floor until your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle. Try to keep your body as close to the bench/chair as possible.

Once you reach the bottom of the movement, press your body up, returning to the starting position.

Keep your shoulders down – don’t let them sneak up to your ears.

Bend your legs and bring them in closer to make it easier.  To increase the difficulty try doing the dips on a stability ball.



Variation 1: Assume the high push up position and hold it.  Keep your arms directly under the shoulders and
maintain a flat back.

Variation 2. Drop down to your elbows rather than using straight arms.

Hold this position for the entire 30 seconds.  If you need to make this easier,  Perform this on your knees rather than your toes.  This will still give you a good workout.

High Knees

High Knees

Jog in place, raising your knees up to about waist level.  Use your core to help lift your legs.  If you are not
sure if you are raising your legs high enough (or to force yourself to do so) put your hands out about waist level and strike them with your knees.


Step forward and drop your body straight down.  Keep your front knee directly over the ankle.

Keep your torso straight; do not lean forward.

Allow the heel of the rear leg to lift off the floor.

Bend the rear knee enough to form a straight line from shoulder to hip to knee.

Shoulders and hips are even and pointed forward; do not twist.

Keep core muscles tight

Step back to the upright position.  Repeat, leading with the opposite foot.
To increase intensity try it while holding dumbbells.

Push Up w/ Rotation (a.k.a.T Push Up) 

T Push Up

Perform the standard pushup, only when you push to the high position lift one arm and rotate your torso so that
your arms are stacked over each other, forming a T.  Keep your core tight.  Alternate left and right.  If you start left, on the next rep rotate right.

Side Plank (Repeat each side) 

Side Plank

Yep, this is just like the standard plank, only on your side.


That’s it!  Give it a try!