I'm skeptical of the whole 7 Minute Workout movement that's started - I know that it's not meant to be the one workout of the day, rather it's meant to be used several times throughout the day or as a supplement.

Based on my understanding though, muscle gain or weight loss (whatever your goal), is best achieved within it at minimum 30 minutes.

To that end, I'm looking for:

  1. Is the 7 Minute Workout effective?
  2. How many times per day should it be done?
  3. If it is effective, what are your preferred iOS apps for having them with you on the go?
  • related: Fitness app advice?
    – arober11
    Commented Jul 17, 2015 at 16:05
  • Having three questions (1 broad, one personal and one off topic) makes this a very scattered question.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 21:19
  • Honestly, other than Question 3, it seems fairly answerable to me. And the third can be answered, just probably not definitively.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:38

3 Answers 3


Effective for what? For the purpose of building an athletic body, quite likely not. The exercises are simply not sufficiently taxing if done properly, as they target multiple muscle groups and the only resistance is one's body weight. As circuit training, it falls short in that it's a third of the recommended time, even according to the authors of the paper that's cited as evidence for the 7 Minute Workout.

However, as the saying goes, something is better than nothing, and if done with sufficient intensity (the authors said that it should be at least an 8 out of 10 on a discomfort scale. If you're not sweating heavily, you probably aren't doing it right), it does manage to cram in a fair amount of exercise in a shorter period of time.

On a side note, I've been using the 7 Minute Workout app lately. It's free and adequate to my purposes. The only real caveats I have with it are that the voice on it stutters a little and I needed to install an additional voice package to get it to work. Otherwise, it lets you adjust your intervals and gives you voice prompts for each exercise, the halfway point, and a countdown of the last few seconds.


The tabata method, or similar HIIT training has been shown to be effective training (I am assuming that is these 7-minute workouts are taking a similar approach. Short description here.

This training method works better if you are already in shape though, and is mostly for increasing performance, rather than fat loss (exercise should be performed for a longer period of time like you said). And for muscle gain, weight training with longer rest periods may be more appropriate.

Unfortunately I don't know any iOS apps in particular, but searching HIIT or Tabata should return appropriate results.

For the number of times per day, I would generally avoid using the same muscle group (so you could do legs in the morning and arms at night, but I would not suggest legs in morning & at night).


The 7 minute workout was never meant to mean ONLY 7 minutes. I do three repetitions and that is a great 30 minute workout (including warm up and cool down).

The source of the 7 minute workout, High-Intensity Circuit Training using Body Weight, states:

Our approach combines aerobic and resistance training into a single exercise bout lasting approximately 7 minutes. Participants can repeat the 7-minute bout 2 to 3 times, depending on the amount of time they have.

  • Actually, the "7 minute workout" is entirely meant to be done in 7 minutes. If you can do three in a row, you are not working at the intensity the program suggests.
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 21:18
  • That is not correct. The 7 minute workout is designed for all fitness levels, from the lowest fitness levels like yourself to the higher levels like me where it can be repeated. This is what makes it so useful.
    – Pete
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:39
  • @JohnP While the people who market the "7 minute workout" mean it to be 7 minutes, the study that is generally quoted showing efficacy in terms of increased health is indeed for three repetitions of the circuit.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:42
  • @SeanDuggan - Does the study include or exclude the recommended running for warmup/warmdown? Or is it just 3 circuits?
    – JohnP
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:48
  • @JohnP: I linked the study above and no, they don't mention warm-up and cool-down.
    – Sean Duggan
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 16:51

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