Can you really get the perfect body in just seven minutes? A regular seven-minute workout may be all you need to stay in shape, according to the authors of a new study that's getting buzz in fitness circles.
The high-intensity circuit training workout uses your own body weight and is backed up by science. T he study, published in the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal, shows that when you work close to your maximum capacity with resistance for even a short time, you can change your muscles in the same way that a few hours of running can.
"What makes this workout stand out is the pure efficiency of the entire model, as well as the fact that it can be done completely with body weight," said Brett Klika, a performance coach at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, Fla., and a co-author of the study.
A story on the workout was first published in the May 12 issue of The New York Times Magazine.
All you need is a chair to take on the 12 exercises in the sequence, which alternate between upper and lower body moves, with 10-second breaks in between. The breaks, as short as they are, are key to the results - from metabolic benefits to body weight and fat loss, according to the study. Plus, a shorter rest time means a shorter overall workout time to fit into a busy lifestyle.
Shipman commissioned Aaron Sterling, owner of the Sterling Gym in Washington, D.C., where she exercises, to help her run through the circuit of jumping jacks, crunches, push-ups, squats, planks and lunges.
"Because the right combination and the right sequence of muscles were fatigued, your actual performance improved," Sterling told Shipman. "You look, for being so tired, much better and much more energized."
Then, Sterling made her do it twice to prove that the quick, intense workouts can make you feel stronger, "even as you think you might die," Shipman said.
Exercisers can repeat the seven-minute workout two to three times, depending on how much time they have, according to the study.
While there are pros to the workout plan, celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak suggested proceeding with caution if you're just starting out.
"I would say there is a big danger factor if you're sedentary or moderately sedentary and you, all of a sudden, try and do the intensity that's suggested," Pasternak, author of "The Body Reset Diet," told ABC News.
1. Jumping jacks
2. Wall sit
4. Abdominal crunch Core
5. Step-up onto chair
7. Triceps dip on chair
9. High knees/running in place
11. Push-up and rotation
12. Side plank
- Claire Shipman