I tried the science-backed 7-minute fitness routine and was blown away by how well it works

Me doing the 7-Minute Workout in Business Insider's office.

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Me doing the 7-Minute Workout in Business Insider’s office.
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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin

When I first heard about an app that promises the benefits of a sweaty bike ride or trip to the gym in seven minutes, I assumed it was all hype.

It isn’t.

Designed by exercise physiologist Chris Jordan, the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout gets your heart pumping and helps build muscle.

The app is a great introduction to a trendy type of fitness routine called interval training, and it’s ideal for weekends or days when I can’t make it to my regular yoga class.

Since it first debuted five years ago, the app has soared in popularity, something Jordan told Business Insider he didn’t see coming.

“To be honest I don’t think we realized the popularity that this app would have,” he said. “We’ve been incredibly pleasantly surprised that this has worked for so many.”

Here’s what the latest version of the app is like.


The entire workout really takes just seven minutes. I was initially skeptical about whether I could accomplish this much in such a narrow time frame.

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Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute

The program consists of 72 exercises like jumping jacks, sit-ups, and push-ups. Ten require nothing but your body, and for others, you just need a chair that can support your weight. The latest version of the app lets you do each exercise along with Jordan.

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Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute

To do my workout, I set up a yoga mat on the hardwood floor of my office and used a stool.

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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin

The first four exercises I did — 30 seconds each of jumping jacks, wall sits, push-ups, and crunches, with 10 seconds of rest in between — were easy.

Me doing the 7-Minute Workout in Business Insider's office.

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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin

But by the time I got to planks, I was starting to feel a bit winded. At this point, I’d also done step-ups onto a chair, squats, and tricep dips. Four more exercises to go.

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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin

Next came running in place while lifting my knees as high as I could, lunges, alternating push-ups and rotations (raising one arm in the air while balancing on the other), and side planks (aligning your body sideways and balancing on one hand and the side of one foot).

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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin

Full set of 12 exercises complete!

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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin


In the end, the workout was actually a workout. But I wasn’t totally wiped, so I did a second set.

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Business Insider/Erin Brodwin

Instead of doing what I did and repeating the workout, you can also adjust the difficulty by tweaking your intensity level, which I’ve found to be incredibly useful as I’ve improved my performance over time.

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Johnson & Johnson

The concept behind the workout is called interval training — a term that refers to short, intense periods of exercise broken up by brief periods of rest. Jordan, who envisioned the regimen, told Business Insider that he based the workout on his experience as a fitness consultant for the US Air Force in Europe.

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Flickr / DVIDSHUB

Sources: International Journal of Cardiology, ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, Sports Medicine, American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal


Studies suggest interval training may be more beneficial for building muscle and protecting the heart than some other forms of exercise. “High-intensity interval training can provide similar or greater benefits in less time than traditional longer, moderate-intensity workouts,” Jordan said.

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Shutterstock

Sources: International Journal of Cardiology, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise


I’m satisfied overall with the 7-Minute Workout, and I’ve been doing it as an addition to my regular yoga routine every so often. But don’t take my word for it — it doesn’t take long to try it out yourself.

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Erin Brodwin / Business Insider