Build Muscle in Less Time With Our 7 To Strong Workouts

Build Muscle in Less Time With Our 7 To Strong Workouts

You thought you couldn’t get a great workout in seven minutes. But you thought wrong. And we spent part of June working to prove that. Our Men’s Health “7 to Strong” Challenge, presented by Degree, ran from June 6 through June 13, and the goal was simple: Push men around the country to work out for seven straight days, for at least seven minutes each day.

It was a reminder that you can get more done in seven minutes than you realize. Sure, you think you need to spend a half-hour (or more!) in the gym, but science doesn’t agree with that. First off, any movement is good movement, even if it’s not a full workout, says fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. And secondly, research shows that even short bursts of exercise can fire up your metabolism and create total-body bloodflow.

For seven days, our team of top trainers focused on highlighting that in our regular Instagram Live workouts, programming only seven-minute workouts. MH trainers used a variety of equipment, but you can do every single workout almost anytime, anywhere, with, at maximum, a single dumbbell or kettlebell. The entire event raised money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), which helps people with physical challenges lead healthy, active lifestyles.

You can access every single workout on our Men’s Health “7 to Strong” microsite, so feel free to do them anytime. Here’s a look at how our trainers built each session, and how each workout hits your body differently.

Day 1: Single-Dumbbell Burner

Jah Washington, the 2020 winner of Next Top Trainer, stressed volume and encouraged participants to push the pace during his workout. “Time is what you make of it,” he said. “We can get a lot done in a little bit of time.” Using a single dumbbell, Washington coached participants through a reverse lunge into an overhead press, a Romanian deadlift to a row, and a lateral lunge to a bicep curl.

Day 2: Kettlebell Conditioning

It’s no surprise that kettlebell guru Marcus Martinez chose a kettlebell for his “7 to Strong” workout. Using the bell and a jump rope (or jumping jacks), Martinez took participants through a conditioning-focused workout in a 15-seconds-on, 15-seconds-off format. Exercises included a two-hand clean to squat, alternating halos, two-hand swings and a lunge-to-press, with bouts of jump rope in between.

Day 3: Upper Body Strength

Veteran trainer David Otey, CSCS, focused his workout on the chest, shoulders and abs with pushups and plank walkups onto a bench. He also incorporated shoulder mobility exercises in each set and stressed the importance of both joint health for safe and efficient movement and rest periods within a workout.

Day 4: Full-Body Blitz

Using two dumbbells and a jump rope, fitness coach David Freeman lead participants through a seven-round burner that was “quick, efficient and fun, fun, fun.” The workout progressed from upper body to lower body, with 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest. Elevated pushups, gorilla alternating rows, and reverse lunges were separated with jump rope skips, or jogging in place or pogo jumps for those without a jump rope.

Day 5: Bodyweight Blast

“You don’t need a lot of time to get fit,” says UFC veteran Bobby Maximus. “In as little as seven minutes, you can get fit, as long as you are willing to go hard and fit it into your day.” Maximus’ workout required no equipment and focused on the legs for 30-seconds-on, 30-off intervals. Exercises included air squats, reverse lunges, frog hops and jumping lunges.

Day 6: Core Challenge

Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel’s session workout was a core blast consisting of seven exercises done for 50 seconds each, with just 10 seconds of rest between each exercise. “The idea is to get the heart rate up while really challenging the core,” Samuel said. Moves included plank shoulder taps, mountain climbers, hollow rocks, pushups to t-spine rotation, V-ups, plank reaches and a finisher of a full minute of burpees.

Day 7: Mobility Flow

Men’s Health Advisory Board member Dan Giordano, PT, CSCS, coached participants through a seven-minute mobility flow to open up the entire body. Giordano stressed the workout could be used at any time to increase blood flow and circulation and get the heart rate up, or it could be used as a warmup prior to a longer workout. The flow included plank walkouts, scorpion stretches, the world’s greatest stretch, spider lunges and hamstring stretches in quick succession.

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