The desire to maximize your fitness while minimizing your sweat time became very apparent with the buzz that formed around “The Scientific 7-Minute Workout.”
While news about this “new” fat-burning, metabolism-boosting workout quickly spread, this workout was merely an example of high-intensity circuit training (HICT), which has been around for years and comes in a wide variety of forms.
The 12 relatively basic exercises featured in the sample workout are tried and true, but for those seeking variety in their workouts, the swaps below can elicit even better results. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, actively recovering for less than 15 seconds as you transition to the next move. And if you have more than 7-minute to spare—and want to really take your fitness to the next level—try completing the sequence a total of two or three times for a supercharged workout in less than 30 minutes that’ll have you looking and feeling your best this summer.
Original exercise: Jumping jack
Supercharged exercise: Icky shuffle
Starting with right foot, take three "fast feet" steps to the right. On the last step, as you land on right foot, leave left knee in the air. Immediately reverse direction and take three steps to the left, ending on left foot with right knee in the air. Continue alternating directions.
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Original exercise: Wall sit
Supercharged exercise: Eagle pose variation
Stand with arms extended out in front, palms facing the floor. Bend knees slightly and shift weight into right foot, crossing left thigh over right and touching left toes to right ankle or as far as you can cross. Find your balance and cross arms in front of chest, right on top of left, to place hands on top of opposite shoulders. After 15 seconds, cross legs and arms the other way.
Original exercise: Pushup
Supercharged exercise: Plank-up
From a forearm plank, press right palm and then left palm into the mat, coming to a high plank. As you exhale, release right elbow and forearm back down to the mat, then left elbow and forearm, returning to a forearm plank.
Original exercise: Crunch
Supercharged exercise: High/low boat
Sit with knees bent, feet flat on floor and arms extended in front of you, palms up. Exhale and lean back so your torso is at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Keeping your core engaged and spine long, lift your feet off the ground, keeping knees bent and bringing lower legs to tabletop position, parallel to the floor. As you inhale, lower with control to low boat, extending legs in front of you and lowering middle back to the floor. Pause, then rise back up to high boat.
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Original exercise: Step-up
Supercharged exercise: Surfer step
Kneel on left knee with right foot on the ground. Push off right heel and jump left foot in front of right, turning feet and body to face right as you squat. Pivot on right foot and release to a modified lunge with left foot forward and right knee on the ground behind you. Bring left knee back to meet right. Repeat move on the opposite side, leading with left foot. (For a low-impact version, skip the hop and step back foot up front before squatting.)
Original exercise: Squat
Supercharged exercise: Single-leg glute bridge
Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Draw left knee into chest, clasping hands behind left thigh. Exhale and lift hips off of the floor until body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders (avoid lifting too high, which can cause arching in the back). Lower to start position and repeat. Switch sides after 15 seconds.
Original exercise: Triceps dip
Supercharged exercise: Triceps kickback
Hold a dumbbell in left hand and stand in a split stance with right foot forward. Rest right forearm on right thigh and bend left elbow so that it is in line with right hip. On exhale, extend left arm back without moving the upper arm, keeping elbow in. Switch sides after 15 seconds.
Original exercise: Plank
Supercharged exercise: Walking plank
From a forearm plank, “walk” the length of your mat and back, moving right elbow and right foot, followed by left elbow and left foot, and keeping core engaged and shoulders and hips squared to the floor.
Original exercise: Run in place
Supercharged exercise: Lateral shuffle and cone hop
Set five cones in a line approximately 12 feet apart. Stand at the end of the cones in an athletic ready position and begin to shuffle sideways to the next cone, moving as quickly as possible. When you reach the next cone, hop over it one foot at a time and shuffle to the next cone, repeating the sequence down the row of cones and back.
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Original exercise: Lunge
Supercharged exercise: Plyo lunge with toe drag
Stand in a lunge with right foot forward. Drag toes of left foot to meet right. Repeat two more times. Jump and switch legs midair, landing with left foot forward. Repeat toe drags on this side.
Original exercise: Pushup and rotation
Supercharged exercise: Pushup with a twist
From a high plank position with hands positioned wide to the edges of the mat (or slightly wider), inhale and bend elbows, keeping them close to the sides of the body or allowing them to flare out slightly, while at the same time lifting left knee to meet right elbow. Exhale and press up to return to high plank position. Repeat, bringing right knee to left elbow. Continue alternating between sides.
Original exercise: Side plank
Supercharged exercise: Side plank with thread the needle
Come to a left side forearm plank with left elbow below left shoulder and right arm extended upward. Keeping core engaged, thread right arm underneath body, lowering hips slightly toward the ground. Extend right arm back up to the ceiling, lifting hips at the same time back to start position. Switch sides after 15 seconds.