Scientists have discovered that the best kind of workout is one that concentrates on the following 12 exercises. Even only a few minutes of high intensity exercise creates molecular changes in your muscles that are similar to those created after running or riding a bicycle for hours! The following 12 exercises that make up the miraculous seven-minute workout do require brief intervals of rest in between each however, in order for the workout to be effective. Ten seconds of rest between each high-intensity exercise is the optimal length of time.
1. Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks can also be called star jumps or side-straddle hops. To perform a jumping jack, the first step is to stand up straight with your feet together and your arms at your side. Next, bend your knees slightly and follow this with a jump.
While mid-jump, bring your legs out to the side about shoulder width or slightly wider. As you are moving your legs outward, you should raise your arms up over your head. Remember, your arms don't have to be completely straight, and a small curve is fine. Your feet must land either shoulder-width, or wider, apart and your arms will remain suspended in the air over your head. The final step is to then jump again, this time placing your feet back together and your arms back down by your side. Repeat this as many times as necessary in order to get your heart rate up.
2. Wall Sit
The wall sit is a fairly simple exercise that requires you to stand approximately 2 feet in front of a wall with your back facing it. Lean against the wall slowly and begin to slide down the wall until your knees are bent at 90 degree angles, as though you are sitting in a chair. Keep this position for a minimum of 20 seconds or a maximum of 60 seconds depending on your strength.
It is important to keep your abdominal muscles contracted whilst holding this position. You can then come back to your starting position, rest for ten seconds, and then repeat the wall sit. Simple yet effective!
3. Push Up
You're all familiar with push-ups, and this exercise is great for targeting your pectoral muscles, triceps, and anterior deltoids. Push-ups also benefit your midsection and core as a whole. Push-ups are performed by pushing your body up and down using your upper body and arm strength.
To do a correct push-up, you must first get on the floor and position your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Next, raise your body up onto your toes so you are balanced on your hands and toes. It is important to keep your body in a straight line from head to toe without sagging your torso or arching your back. Don't forget to keep your abdominal muscles contracted throughout the exercise! To safely resume back to your starting position, slowly bend your elbows and lower yourself until your elbows are at a 90 degree angle.
4. Abdominal Crunch
You might be familiar with sit-ups, but did you know that when it comes to strengthening your core and flattening your stomach, abdominal crunches are more effective? To begin this exercise, simply lay on the floor, facing up and with your knees bent. Next, curl your shoulders towards your pelvis. You can either place your hands beside your neck, resting gently behind your neck, or placed across your chest.
It is important not to press heavily against your neck or chest though, as this can cause injury. To perform a proper crunch, your lower back must remain resting against the floor. This allows your hip flexors to rest so all of the attention can be focused on your abdominal muscles.
5. Step Ups
This exercise sounds pretty straight forward, and the truth is, it is! Although a simple exercise, the step-up onto chair routine is super effective for your body. Not only does it work on your abdominal muscles, but it also builds lean muscle mass, boosts your metabolism and aids in weight control - Bonus!
Regular exercises such as the step-up onto chair is also great for your overall wellbeing, boosting your mood and energy levels. To perform the step-up onto chair exercise, position a sturdy chair in front of you. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your arms at your sides. Next, step up onto the seat with one foot and press down while bringing your other foot up next to it. Step back with the leading foot and bring the trailing foot down beside it to finish one complete step-up. Easy, right? All you have to do is repeat this movement for at least 20 repetitions.
The squat is well known for toning the muscles in your buttocks, but this simple exercise also does so much more! Squats train the muscles in the thighs, hips, buttocks, quads and hamstrings. Squats also benefit the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout your lower body.
Squats are a vital exercise for your body, and they increase the strength of your legs and buttocks, as well as develop optimal core strength. To perform a proper squat, your feet should be flat on the ground, about shoulder-width apart. Point your feet slightly facing outward, rather than straight ahead. Never let your knees extend beyond your toes, as this will increase the likelihood of damage to your knees.
Keep your back straight and bend at your knees as if you were going to sit back in a chair. Don't forget to keep your heels on the ground. Thrust your hips forward and pull in your abs whilst keeping your back only slightly arched. Slowly lower your body so that your legs are almost parallel to the floor.
7. Tricep Dip
To begin this exercise, sit on the chair with the palms of your hands on the edge. Slowly slide your buttocks off the seat whilst supporting your weight with your hands. First, straighten your right leg and keep your left leg bent at a 90-degree angle. Keeping your elbows bent, slowly lower your buttocks towards the floor. Push back up until your arms are straight, remembering to keep your elbows tucked in.
It is essential to do one set of 8 to 15 repetitions before alternating to your left leg extended and your right leg bent at a 9-degree angle. Feeling that burn yet?
The plank exercise has a number of different names, including the front hold, hover, and abdominal bridge. This exercise is vital for building up your core strength and arm strength. The plank involves lying face down on the floor with your elbows resting on the floor and your arms in a 90-degree position. You then push down on the toes of your feet to extend your feet and push your body so it is off the ground and resting on your elbows and toes.
This position is then held for an extended period of time, and the longer you can hold it, the more effective it is. The plank is great for strengthening the abdominals, back, and shoulders.
9. High Knees
The title of this exercise sounds pretty straight-forward - it simply involves you performing a typical running motion while lifting your knees high into the air. You don't have to go to a running track to perform this exercise though, as it can also effectively be done whilst running in place.
This exercise is great for the muscles in your legs and hips, and can even improve your lower body flexibility. When performing this exercise, you must ensure that your legs are at 90-degree angles when being lifted high into the air. Point your toes forward in order to maintain the correct form and to really benefit from this simple exercise. Also, make sure you do not land on the heels of your feet. Instead, remain on the balls of your feet in order to avoid injury.
A lunge is a simple exercise that involves one leg being placed in front of the other while keeping the knee bent, the foot flat on the ground and the other leg positioned behind. Lunges are great for toning a number of different areas of your body, so they are a particularly useful exercise. They also strengthen several muscle groups including the quadriceps, the gluteus maximus and the hamstrings.
To perform a basic lunge, you must first begin by standing up straight with your shoulders back and relaxed and your chin up. Remember to contract your abdominal and core muscles! Next, step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. It is important to keep your front knee directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and to make sure your other knee isn't touching the floor. Maintain the weight in your heels as you then push up to the starting position.
11. Push Up and Rotation
In order to perform a push-up and rotation, get into the classic push-up position, but on your way up, remember to rotate your body so your right arm lifts up and extends overhead to form a T shape with your torso. Then, return to your starting position and lower yourself towards the ground. The next step is then to push up and rotate until your left hand is now pointing towards the ceiling.
Perform up to fifteen repetitions, and don't forget the ten-second interval rule! The push-up and rotation exercise is especially beneficial for the athletic performance in sports involving torso rotation, such as hockey, tennis and baseball. This exercise is also great for strengthening the muscles in your upper body and toning your arms.
12. Side Plank
The side plank has been named "one of the best exercises you can do" by many professional trainers. Not only does this exercise target your entire core, but it also helps to strengthen a muscle known as the quadratus lumborum which is often forgotten about.
To perform a proper side plank, first you must lie on your left side with your knees straight. The next step is to position your elbow under your shoulder and to prop up your upper body on your left elbow and forearm. Contract your abdominal muscles and raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Whilst holding this position, remember to breathe deeply.
The next step is to repeat this process using the other side of your body.
After your workout, you will find that you may feel quite dehydrated if you haven't successfully been keeping your fluids up throughout the exercises. It is vital that you drink 2-3 cups within two hours after your workout has completed. Then, it is important to drink water regularly after this. Although you may not feel thirsty anymore, you still need to replenish yourself to avoid further dehydration.
Stretching is also an important part of your post-workout ritual, and this is because after a workout, your muscles naturally contract. Stretching will prevent your muscles from shrinking, and it will also allow your muscles to relax. Stretching is also beneficial for boosting circulation to your joints and tissues, reducing stiffness of the muscles and allowing you to get the full benefits from your super workout!