This 7-Minute Workout Will Keep You Moving No Matter How Busy The Holidays Get

We all know the feeling — the push and pull of wanting to move your body but very much not wanting to bother with a trip to the gym. By the time you’ve finished debating which class and what athleisure, the workout window has passed. Never is this frustrating push and pull more prevalent than during the holidays, when indulging is frequent but free time is scarce. Fortunately, there’s a little wellness weapon that can accommodate any schedule: the 7-minute workout.

Honestly, it isn’t exactly a secret weapon, however, the science-backed routine became a veritable fitness sensation when the Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute published the series of 12 movements in 2014. Using high-intensity circuit training (HICT) and only bodyweight as resistance, the goal was to create a time-conscious workout that was as efficient as it was practical. It works by raising your heart rate with cardio while vigorously targeting the upper body, lower body, and core for 30 seconds at a time with 10 seconds budgeted for transitions. The circuit can be repeated as many times as you’d like, but one circuit takes seven minutes and could help decrease body fat while boosting heart health.

What might not be so well known, however, is how customizable the 7-minute workout is. The 12 moves are often presented the same: jumping jacks, pushups, planks, triceps dip, etc. For example, can’t do jumping jacks? Try marching in place. Hard pass on tricep dips? Try a wall push-up. Planks not your thing? Try my personal favorite: the swimmer which you can get by literally laying on your stomach. As long as you’re targeting all three muscle groups evenly (including a cardio interval) and pushing yourself for the full seven minutes, you’re golden.

Keep scrolling for two versions of the 12-step, 7-minute workout: a “First Timer” beginner option and Johnson & Johnson’s more advanced “Super Hero” workout, to keep you moving throughout the holiday season.

Cardio

Advanced: Side-to-Side Shuffle

Start by balancing on your right foot with knees slightly bent. Quickly step three to five times to your left, pause, and balance for a moment on your left foot, then do the same toward the right side. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Beginner: Step-Up

Step up onto a steady chair, making sure the entire foot is on the chair, step down, and repeat for 30 seconds. Alternate which foot leads.

Lower body.

Advanced: Power Squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down while keeping your back street and your knees behind your toes. Jump up. Then repeat for 30 seconds.

Beginner: Squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down. Keep your back street and your knees behind your toes while pushing through your heels. You can use a chair for assistance. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Upper body.

Advanced: Superman Push-Up

Position hands just wider than shoulder-width apart with your feet on the floor and your body straight from head to heel. Lower your body until elbows are bent at 90 degrees, keeping your core muscles engaged. As you lower, bring your right leg up and bend your knee to our elbow, then return to starting position as you push up. Repeat for 30 seconds, alternating sides.

Beginner: Kneeling Push-Up

Position hands just wider than shoulder-width apart with body is straight from your head to your knees. While keeping the core engaged, lower your body until elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Breathe out as you push up and don’t lock your arms. Repeat for 30 seconds.

Core.

Advanced: One-Leg Bridge

Lie down with feet flat on the floor and knees bent at 90 degrees. Raise your hips off the floor until fully extended. Extend your right leg. Lower and lift with the leg lifted for 15 seconds, then switch to the left leg.

Beginner: Kneeling Plank

Support yourself with your elbows and knees on the floor. Keep your hips up and your body straight from your head to your knees and hold for 30 seconds.

Cardio.

Advanced: Squat and Box

Stand with legs wider than shoulder-width and repeat squats while punching forward vigorously for 30 seconds.

Beginner: March in Place

With your back straight, lift your knee as high as you can and swing your arms. Alternate legs for 30 seconds.

Lower body.

Advanced: One-Leg Squat Touch

Start by balancing on your left foot with your knees slightly bent. Squat down by bending your left knee and hips. Keep your left knee behind your toes and your right leg behind you as you touch the floor with your right hand. Return to the starting position and repeat for 15 seconds on each side.

Beginner: Chair-Assist Split Squat

Keep your front knee behind your toes and bend your back knee as you squat down while holding onto the top of a chair. Squat on each side for 15 seconds.

Upper body.

Advanced: Hindu Push-Up

Start with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart, your feet on the floor, and your body in a pike or downward dog position. Bend your elbows as you dive your head down, forward, then upwards as you lower your hips toward the floor, similar to a Chaturanga. Return to the starting position and repeat for 30 seconds.

Beginner: Kneeling Staggered Push-Up

Start with hands just wider than shoulder-width apart in a staggered position. Your body is straight from your head to your knees. Lower your body until elbows are bent at 90 degrees. Switch sides after 15 seconds.

Core.

Advanced: Bicycle Crunch

Lie down with your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent. With your hands behind your head, engage your abs and rotate your torso to each side, touching each elbow to the opposite knee. Use a pedaling motion with your legs and keep your core engaged while you crunch for 30 seconds.

Beginner: Kneeling Side Plank

Start on your right side, supporting yourself with your right arm and forearm. Keep your feet and knees on the floor. Raise your body, keeping it straight from your head to your knees, and hold for 30 seconds. Switch sides after 15 seconds.

Cardio.

Advanced: Side-to-Side Hop

Start by balancing on your right foot. Quickly hop side to side onto your left and right foot, pausing momentarily to balance, for 30 seconds.

Beginner: Stand and Box

Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width with your knees slightly bent. Keep your hands in front of your chest, and alternate punching forward vigorously for 30 seconds to elevate your heart rate.

Lower body.

Advanced: Chair Split Squat

Stand with one foot slightly in front and one foot behind on a chair with both knees slightly bent. Squat down keeping your back straight and your front knee behind your toes. Repeat for 15 seconds on each side.

Beginner: Reverse Lunge

Stand with feet together and your hands on your hips. Step one foot behind you and squat down using your knees and your hips. Keep your front knee behind your toes and your back straight. Alternate sides for 30 seconds.

Upper body.

Advanced: Grasshopper Push-Up

Start with your hands just wider than shoulder-width and your feet on the floor. Lower your body until your arms are bent at 90 degrees. At the same time, lift your right leg off the floor and bring the right knee to the left elbow as you lower. Return to the starting position and repeat, alternating sides for 30 seconds.

Beginner: Chair-Assisted Push Up

Start with your hands securely on a chair and your feet on the floor. Lower your body until your arms are bent at 90 degrees, then breathe out as you push up, and repeat for 30 seconds.

Core.

Advanced: Superman

Lie facing down with your arms and legs extended. Engage your lower back, and raise your arms, legs, and chest slightly off the floor. Return to the ground and repeat for 30 seconds. Focus on squeezing your core muscles.

Beginner: Swimmer

Lie facing down with arms and legs extended. Engage your lower back, and lift your left arm and right leg slightly off the floor. Alternate with your right arm and left foot, then repeat for 30 seconds. Focus on squeezing your core muscles.


Yoga and exercise improves strength, balance and flexibility. Slow movements and deep breathing increase blood flow and warm up muscles, while holding a pose can build strength. Any sort of physical activity can be beneficial for your body by decreasing stress, relieving anxiety and migraines, reducing inflammation, improving heart health and quality of life, fighting depression, reducing chronic pain, improving your sleep quality and breathing, and promoting healthy eating habits. So, exercise on!

Stay safe, healthy, and live life to the fullest.

Xoxo, Messycafe.


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