App of the Week: 7-Minute Workout Challenge

Already struggling to keep up with exercise-related New Year’s resolutions? This week’s SmartPhone app offers a solution for just about everyone who’s ever claimed they simply can’t find time to exercise.

The 7 Minute Workout Challenge, available on iTunes for just $1.99, promises a full-body workout comprised of 12 exercises that can be achieved in—you guessed it—only 7 minutes. This is accomplished by making the exercises extremely high in intensity while minimizing the rest periods between activities.

Screenshot of the 7-minute workout challenge.

The App itself offers a link so users can read the research and science that went into the creation of the Challenge. Authors Brett Kilka, C.S.C.S., B.S. and Chris Jordan, M.S., C.S.C.S. explain in great detail the exercises utilized, the specific order in which those exercises should be performed, and even provide a sample workout. Again, all of this information is available right on the App itself.

Back to the workout—none of the 12 exercises require you to purchase or use any specific exercise equipment. A few exercises (push-ups, squats, lunges) are your garden-variety body weight activities, while others (wall sit, chair step-ups) require only the most basic household features for completion.

The workout begins as a male voice leads you through a 10-second countdown before beginning activity #1 (jumping jacks). The user completes as many repetitions as possible while that same voice offers rudimentary encouragement (“Halfway there!” at the 15-second mark; “Rest in 3… 2… 1…” as the activity winds down.)

Users are permitted to rest for exactly 10 seconds before beginning the next 30-second exercise period. By the time you reach the last few of the 12 total activities, you may not find the voice on the App as encouraging as you did during exercises 1 & 2. (The voice-over can be changed to a female, voice, or eliminated altogether through individual settings.) But rest assured upon completion, you’ll be ready for a break.

If you find yourself needing more than 10 seconds between activites, you can extend the rest period up to 90 seconds. Of course, this will considerably compromise the efficiency of the workout. You can also extend the duration of each exercise from 30 to 90 seconds.

The App delivers what it promises, as I was able to complete the workout in seven minutes, 43 seconds. I admit, I was winded by the end—but couldn’t help but be skeptical of the idea that those 7+ minutes provided as many benefits as 60 minutes at the gym.

Refreshingly, the App offers a logical, forthcoming explanation that confirms my suspicion. “In short, this is the routine for the masses,” it admits. “If you are an athlete, this workout is likely not for you. This is for those with busy lives that want to simply become or stay healthy and wish to achieve that goal with minimal time commitment.”

How many of you consider yourselves true athletes?

Now, how many of you consider yourselves to lead busy lives?

For those in the second group, the 7 Minute Workout Challenge offers a time-conserving, easy-to-follow means of getting started towards your fitness goals.

If you have used a fitness or health-related smartphone app you’d like to see featured, e-mail

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.