The Scientific 7-Minute Workout by Gretchen Reynolds
Thanks Russ L. for sharing this article. The scientific world doesn't move very fast inside the health and fitness world. It is disappointing. With the proliferation of workouts like ours, you'd think the scientific world (This one was put out by ACSM. They are considered the "gold standard" in our industry) would simply study the stuff that is already going on around it. It won't. Click on the link above and read the article and check out the movements they suggest. Does it all look familiar? It is very close, but I'm sorry - no cigar. There are lots of probs with this thing (It was a cute try though). I'll outline below. First, a little history.
Years ago (like 1999, or so) I started tweaking body building workouts to make them more functional and effective. I began with using the 7 major body parts (legs, back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps & abs). I would run my clients through these in rapid succession. I would change the order of progression & movements performed during these workouts daily. My clients were WASTED, but the results were astonishing. Clients reaped impressive gains in both health, fitness and appearance. I'd never seen anything like it. My peers hadn't either. Some began accusing me of cheating somehow. Others simply followed suit and saw similar gains with their clients.
When I presented these rudimentary methods (scientific in nature) to my bosses, I was mocked and told these methods were "unaccepted" and that I would need to conform to more "scientific" principles (specifically those of the ACSM and etc,). Eventually, I was pushed out.
Today (more than 10 years later) "Science" seems to be accepting the methods me and my peers have been pioneering over the last decade, or so. But they are WAY behind. I imagine they always will be (unless they get a few pointers). I mentioned above that the workout they presented (The Scientific 7-Minute Workout) was mostly crummy. Below are a few points on coming up with effective workouts (I'd mail them to the NYT, but they probably don't care.) the authors, and the NYT could use on writing workouts.
- 7 minutes is awesome! Good job! (thought I'd start with a positive). There is no law that says how long an effective workout should last.
- 12 exercises! OK. Cool, but many are redundant. You've got step-ups (a sort of squat), lunges (a sort of squat), squats (a sort of squat), wall sits (a sort of squat). Squats are cool, but if you going to use a different one, pick one that has a different effect. Most of these do the same thing (there were also 2 pushups). Seems like you were just throwing things in there to get us worn out. Where is the science in that?
- Check your form guys. The photo of that squat is less than deplorable. I'm no form Nazi, but ...
- Forgot about pulling motions. 1/3 of the muscles in your body are pulling muscles. You haven't even addressed them here. If one were to do this workout for any length of time, the poor soul would create serious imbalances (these will likely create injuries - catastrophic in nature). Not to mention incomplete fitness.
- Forgot about twisting and extending motions for the trunk. It moves in 4 ways. You only addressed 2 of them. Why not take one of the several redundant trunk motions you've already listed and trade one, or two for something that will balance and stimulate overall core development and structure?
- Did you guys forget to mention how often this workout should be performed? I'm sure you didn't mean for it to be done daily, or did you? When does it change? How can I vary intensity? I checked around. Couldn't find the specifics. I'm quite sure I went deeper than the average reader (MANY of whom are out there RIGHT NOW doing this thing daily) would.
- This ... "The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done." ... Is VERY bad advice. It should read something like "work your way up to an 8 out of 10 over several months of progressively increasing training intensity." Blanket advice like that, published by an outfit as big as both of these (ACSM & NYT) can kill. Look, I'm not taking away from anyone's personal accountability, but WOW!
This thing looks as if it were written by someone who's never coached another client. Let alone the thousands that this article went out to. Which is why "science" will always be about a decade behind. Until "science" gets out of the lab and starts logging some hours (I suggest thousands, as we have) doing something more than theorizing and speculating, you may never be able to trust the guys/gals in the scientific community (and those who blindly follow) for sound fitness advice.