‘I Tried The Top 7-Minute Workout Apps On The iTunes Store’

‘I Tried The Top 7-Minute Workout Apps On The iTunes Store’

I’m a marathon runner. The shortest runs I do during training are five kilometres, which take me at least 25 minutes. So my workouts tend be longer—and I like that, because I know I’ve logged enough time to seriously work my body. But while I tend to think longer workouts are always better, I’ve also heard […]

by | Mar 15, 2018

I’m a marathon runner. The shortest runs I do during training are five kilometres, which take me at least 25 minutes. So my workouts tend be longer—and I like that, because I know I’ve logged enough time to seriously work my body. But while I tend to think longer workouts are always better, I’ve also heard people touting the benefits of seven-minute workouts. So, I recently decided to see what all the buzz is about.

Here’s the deal: Apparently science has proven that working out for just seven minutes can have serious health benefits, according to an article published in the American College of Sport Medicine’s Health and Fitness Journal. The authors, researchers at the Human Performance Institute in Orlando, FL, found that just seven minutes of high-intensity circuit training, using body weight as resistance, can help decrease body fat, and improve insulin sensitivity, VO2 max (how efficiently your body uses oxygen), and muscular fitness.

In the “seven-minute workout” template published by the ACSM’s Health and Fitness Journal, you perform 12 exercises for 30 seconds each, with 10 seconds of rest in between, totaling seven minutes. And that’s it.

Now, you can find countless seven-minute workout apps in the Apple Store and on Google Play for almost no cost to download.

Since I have an iPhone, I tried the top apps rated over 4.5 stars in the Apple Store. Considering my prejudice towards longer workouts, I was surprised when I found myself breaking a sweat not even halfway in. Here’s what I thought of each app.

1. WAHOO 7 MINUTE WORKOUT

Free to $4.99, itunes.com

App store rating: 4.7

Wahoo’s 7 Minute Workout seems to be the most basic tech interpretation of the ACSM’s original workout—and I kind of liked that. It was easy to sign up, the app was super user-friendly, and the bright colors and bold display made the countdown clock and move names easy to read in the middle of the workout.

The original moves from the ACSM are, for the most part, pretty understandable: You’ve got your jumping jacks, pushups, crunches, stepups, squats, wall sits, and so on.

That said, this app doesn’t offer easily accessible form cues, images, or move descriptions during the workout; instead, you need to read the move descriptions or watch an embedded video pre-workout, or tap the move name mid-workout to bring that slide back up, which was a little distracting.

There are two free workouts available on the app, although you can buy more options for $0.99, including “7 Minute Core”, “7 Minute Cardio”, or “Make Your Own” which allows you to DIY your own 7-minute workout. You can also pay $4.99 to upgrade to “All The Things” which includes a workout log, the ability to change the duration of the moves and the rest time, and more workouts.

RELATED: This Aussie Mum Lost 29kg By Following This Fitness Regime

2. SEVEN – 7 MINUTE WORKOUT

Free to $9.99/month, itunes.com

App store rating: 4.7

Seven was a step more complicated—in good and bad ways. When registering, you can tailor your options by gender, workout frequency, and goals (like get fit, get strong, and lose weight), which is a nice way to personalize things. But the interface was a little less user-friendly, and I found it more difficult to choose a workout (categories like “Get Fit,” “Focus,”and “Be Challenged” seemed vague).

Before you start a workout, the exercises are listed out with move descriptions and moving illustrations. But while the illustration sticks around during the workout, the cues don’t. I didn’t love not having any audio—besides a “three, two, one” countdown at the end—throughout the 30 seconds of each move.

You can only access one free workout here (the basic ASCM sequence); to unlock more workouts—the app claims to have over 200 moves—and weekly plans, you have to pay $9.99 per month.

3. 7 MINUTE WORKOUT: EXERCISE APP

Free, itunes.com

App store rating: 4.8

This was another super-basic app. From the home page, you have three options: The basic seven-minute workout, a seven-minute abs workout, and a seven-minute high-intensity workout. They’re all free, although you do have to watch a five-second ad before the sequence will start.

You can read the move descriptions and watch the moving illustrations pre-workout, but once the workout starts, only the illustrations appear on the screen—although you can tap the illo for more info (and pause the workout) if you need it. If the moves are easy enough, it’s NBD, but I felt like this app was missing audio cues.

There are no other workouts in this app, but the main screen will take you to the Apple Store, where you can buy Workout for Women: Fitness App and Butt Workout and Fitness App from the same creator (they don’t have that seven-minute hook, though).

4. J&J OFFICIAL 7 MINUTE WORKOUT

Free, itunes.com

App store rating: 4.7

Johnson & Johnson’s app (designed by the director of exercise physiology at the company’s Human Performance Institute) had the largest library of moves from all the apps I tried: 22 preset workouts and 72 exercises that can be customised for 1,000 variations. On the main page, you can choose the standard workout, your “smart workout”—which is based on your manually entered fitness level—or you can click into the workout library.

The best part, though, was that the exercises came with audio cues during the workout, to help the exerciser maintain correct form throughout. Even as an experienced exerciser, I liked hearing the reminders to keep my knees over my ankles in a wall sit or to breathe out on the pushing part of the pushup.

It’s all free, too, which made this my favourite app. Now it’s fully linked up to my Apple Health account, complete with workout and inactivity reminders to keep me on track.

RELATED: Experts Say This 180 Second Workout Is As Effective As Half An Hour In The Gym

5. 7 MINUTE WORKOUT HIIT TRAINER

Free to $0.99, itunes.com

App store rating: 4.7

As soon as you open this app, you’re right in the ACSM seven-minute sequence. But there are seven more easily accessible workouts if you just swipe right (you can unlock each one for $0.99). Choose from an advanced workout, a core/lower body sequence, a pushup master workout, a sequence that works your flexibility and mobility, and more.

Unfortunately, once the workout starts, there are no frills—no visual or audio move cues during the workout, just a big digital timer. And when you look at a move pre-workout, you have to wait to X out a giant pop-up ad (annoying).

6. QUICK FIT – 7 MINUTE WORKOUT, ABS, AND YOGA

Free, itunes.com

App store rating: 4.5

Another streamlined app, Quick Fit is super easy to use. You’ve got four main options on the home page: the ACSM workout, Quick Abs, Quick Yoga, and Quick 4 (a fat-burning workout). The ACSM workout is the only true seven-minute workout, though.

But the seven minute workout is great. A video plays throughout the 30 seconds of each move (featuring a certified personal trainer, no less), and there are several audio cues in each segment. Plus, the colors are bright and the countdown easy to read—a plus if you keep the phone on the floor in front of you while working out, like I did.

Winner: After trying these six apps, my favourite overall was the J&J Official 7 Minute Workout. But try out a few to see what works best for you and your workout needs!

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US

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8 Of The Best Exercise Shorts That Will Power You Through A Summer Of Movement

It’s official: Shorts Season is officially here. While lockdown has seen many of us realise that activewear is less something to be worn for a workout and more a uniform we choose to do any and all daily activities in, when the warmer temperatures roll around, that favourite pair of sweatpants and leggings sometimes don’t cut it. Sure, they might be a staple in any wardrobe, but the Aussie sun doesn’t listen to reason, no matter how comfortable or cute it might be. And when it comes to summer, working out in leggings can feel like being trapped in a sauna, the sweat pooling at your ankles and around the waistband – as well as those other areas we won’t mention here. 

But as we transition from leggings to shorts, it becomes clear pretty quickly that not all shorts are created equal, and certainly not all shorts are fit for a workout. Take it from us at Women’s Health HQ, we’ve been there, tried it and lived to see the consequences. From the shorts that look cute but ride up to show your undies on the run, to those that feel like being strapped into a harness that’s digging into your hip bones. Then there are the fabrics that can cause chafing – a big no – and those that basically shine a spotlight on any area you might be sweating. 

Thankfully, a number of brands are here to cater to your exercise needs with innovative materials, fabrics and sustainable options to see you through a summer of movement. Regardless of your workout preferences or daily activity, we’ve selected the best shorts that will ensure you feel good in your body, shorts that get you excited to embrace the day and attack it with energy, that make you want to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, whether it be walking, running, or socialising in the park. Here are our pick of the best bike shorts below. 

Nagnata

Uptown Biker, $240

What says summer more than a pop of orange and the sleek shape of these Nagnata biker shorts? With its mid-length and horizontal raised rib side detail, these are shorts you can wear both for a workout and out to meet the girls. Made in Australia with a technical knit fabrication, the double-layer jacquard provides gentle sculpting qualities for the body, making it an excellent choice for light to moderate fitness activities like yoga, pilates or barre. 

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New Balance

Q Speed Fuel Short, $70

We love the colour of these shorts from New Balance which are cut with a sleek, speedy look that also helps to elongate the legs. Featuring NB DRY moisture wicking fabric, these are the shorts you want for high intensity exercise or long runs, keeping you comfortable and dry. There’s also an interior brief for added comfort and a stash pocket to keep your essentials. 

All Access

Ultra High Rise Zip Front Biker Short, $78

Yes, the colour is amazing but the fit is equally sensational on these All Access shorts. For those who love a high-rise fit and wide waistband that holds you in at the waist, look no further. The sleek, shiny look offers mid-compression and the fabric is moisture-wicking, so you can stay comfortable even during your sweatiest workouts. 

Nike

Nike x Naomi Osaka Utility Short, $90

Few things are worse than heading out the door for a run and realising your shorts offer no pockets for those essentials you need. You’re left to hold your iPhone, keys, and anything else you might need in your sweaty palm. Thankfully, Naomi Osaka knows what we need when it comes to exercise shorts and these utility shorts from her collaboration with Nike offer all that and more with a relaxed fit and elastic waistband. 

Tracksmith

Session short Tights, $72

When it comes to bike shorts, you want to feel supported and held in but you also want to be able to breathe. These Tracksmith session short tights are exceptional in offering support while still ensuring comfort remains a priority. Forget about chafing, these shorts won’t ride up and down and the fabric offers more coverage and support against the body. 

Outdoor Voices

Relay 3” Short, $48

Who said summer shorts have to be boring? Outdoor Voices brings fashion-forward style and playfulness to their collections with fun prints and exciting colours. We love the relay 3” shorts for their ultralight, quick-drying fabric that also happens to be made from recycled polyester. But more importantly, we love the print and Poppy Swirl is as good as it gets. There’s even a hidden pocket for your valuables, too. 

Lululemon

Align High-Rise Short 6”, $69

If you’re familiar with the buttery-soft feel of Lululemon’s tights, you’ll want to get your hands on a pair of their shorts, too. Made with the same Nulu fabric that their tights are known for, these shorts feel weightless and super soft. They might be our go-to staple for any workout, but the feel is so second-skin that it’s hard to not wear them for every other activity, too. 

Spiritual Gangster

Seamless Biker Short, $112

These biker shorts from Spiritual Gangster move with you, thanks to a three-tiered compressive waistband that offers a flattering high waist that hugs you in all the right places, without proving constrictive. They offer medium compression but are built for all day comfort, and the colour is a true summer staple because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love tie-dye?