If your main excuse for not exercising is “lack of time”, I’ve got a solution for you! Turns out researchers have known for years that getting a great total body workout can be done in as little as 7 minutes. The most recent study was featured in the ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal this month, but Royal Canadian Air Force has been doing an old-school version of this since the 1950’s!

Each plan includes a series of exercises that use all major muscle groups, require NO EQUIPMENT and take between 7-11 minutes in length. In fact, the Royal Canadian Air Force’s XBX (12 minute plan for women) requires 10 exercises and the 5BX (11 minute plan for men) require just 5 exercises done at a high intensity for between 30-60 seconds each.

In addition to time management, this style of exercise is great for fat/weight loss, increased cardiopulmonary health and decreased insulin resistance (a major factor in type 2 diabetes). However, in order to gain these benefits, one must be able to work at intensities of 100% of VO2max for the duration of the session. The overall objective is to allow for a series of exercises to be performed in quick succession – using proper form and technique – and at high intensity with minimal rest between exercises.

Here’s a sample of the 7 minute workout as described by ACSM. Exercises are performed for 30 seconds, with 10 seconds of transition time between bouts. Total time for the entire circuit workout is approximately 7 minutes. The circuit can be repeated 2 to 3 times as fitness levels improve!

1. Jumping jacks ~ Total body
2. Wall sit ~ Lower body
3. Push-up ~ Upper body
4. Abdominal crunch ~ Core
5. Step-up onto chair ~ Total body
6. Squat ~ Lower body
7. Triceps dip on chair ~ Upper body
8. Plank ~ Core
9. High knees/running in place ~ Total body
10. Lunge ~ Lower body
11. Push-up and rotation ~ Upper body
12. Side Plank ~ Core


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