We’re not here to tell you that seven minutes of any type of activity per day is all you'll ever need to get a perfectly chiseled physique. That said, if you're looking to get moving to burn calories in order to get a leaner, more athletic body, we can help you kickstart the process in less than 10 minutes a day.
Better yet, you’ll be able to do this without any long and tedious cardio training sessions. Instead, all it takes is some weight training—with a bit of a twist. The Men’s Health 7-Minute Workouts for Fat Burn program will show you how to maximize your workouts in as little as seven minutes with a list of exercises specifically incorporated to help you burn calories quicker.
There is a catch to getting cut. You'll need to do the right types of exercises to get your heart rate jacked up for an effective quick session—sorry, seven minutes of concentration curls won’t cut it here. What you will be doing are routines based on a select group of exercises that will target multiple muscle groups, keep you moving in different directions, and developing your athletic prowess.
The 7-Minute workouts won’t fully replace a traditional strength training session, but the bite-sized routines can be used as a body-changing building block that can be the calorie-burning catalyst you may need for longer, more intense training sessions down the road, says Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.
“All you need to do is have the right exercises,” Samuel says. “If you’re looking to burn fat, you don’t need a fancy gym or a ton of high-tech equipment. You just need the right exercises."
The 7-Minute Workout Starting Point
Speed and efficiency are the goals with the 7-Minute Workouts, which means that in order to get a lot done in a short period of time, we need to keep the body moving as much as possible.
A routine half-hour weightlifting session can burn around 126 calories. Up the intensity, you’re looking at 250 calories in that short period. You shouldn’t expect a complete overnight transformation, but the exercises used in each brief session should get the blood flowing, boost your heart rate through the roof—and even help get you stronger, as studies have shown.
Another goal of the program is that the gains you do see from these short-burst sessions will help re-energize your fitness motivation, pushing you in the process to begin adding more movements to your muscle-building routine.
Types of Exercises to Burn Body Fat
The exercises used in each 7-Minute Workouts were picked out as the best and most efficient moves to spike your metabolism. While every exercise listed falls into these categories, some of the moves cross over into multiple categories, giving you a greater bang for your buck.
Studies have shown that multi-joint movements, which work several muscle groups simultaneously, can be just as effective as isolation movements. Another important benefit for your calorie-busting goals is that with multi-joint movements, you can build the same amount of muscle and strength in a fraction of the time.
“We want to try to attack multi-joint exercises,” Samuel says. “The moves can be simple but at the same time we’re getting a lot of movement each time.”
High-to-Low, Level-Changing Moves
When we think level-changing, we’re thinking of exercises in which our feet aren’t positioned at shoulder width throughout the movement. Instead, we’re going high, low, back to high, then to low—think of a clean and jerk as the ultimate level changer. And while you’re changing levels at a quick pace, you’re burning a ton of calories.
“We have to go from low to high to low and back. We're going to wind up getting our heart rate up that's going to help us burn calories,” Samuel says.
Athletic, Explosive Movements
Your last option is going to include ballistic-type moves that will help to improve athletic performance, or at least give you the feeling of training like an athlete. “If you hit these types moves and you do them in the right manner—which is exactly what you get in 7-Minute Workouts—you'll be well on their way to burning fat and plenty of calories,” Samuel says.
6 Super Effective Fat Burning Exercises
How to do it: Place a pair of dumbbells on the floor and grip them as you perform a pushup. Once you’re back in the starting position, row the dumbbell with one hand to the side of your chest. Lower then repeat with other hand. That’s one rep.
Alternating Reverse Lunge
How to do it: Stand tall, with your arms at your sides, and your core engaged. Step your right leg back into a reverse lunge, lowering your knee to the floor. Step back far enough that you feel a stretch in your right hip. Return to starting position, then repeat with opposite leg. That’s one rep.
Type: Multi-level, Athletic
How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push your hips back, lower your body as far as you can, and place your hands on the floor by your feet. Kick your legs back into a pushup position. Do a pushup, then bring your feet back to your hands and stand up. That’s one rep.
Squat to Press
Type: Multi-level, Athletic
How to do it: Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells in front of your shoulders. Keep your abs and glutes engaged. Squat as deeply as you can, then explode up. As you rise, thrust the weights straight above your shoulders. Return to the starting position.
How to do it: Start in an athletic stance, then drop your weight slightly and swing your
arms behind you. Quickly reverse the movement, swinging your arms overhead and jumping as high as you can, simultaneously spinning your body clockwise 180 degrees. Land softly and repeat, this time spinning the opposite direction.
Double Kettlebell Swing
How to do it: Place two kettlebells or dumbbells on the floor in front of you. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders, push your butt back, and grab both weights. Pull the weights up, “hike” them back between your legs, then thrust your hips forward as you swing both weights up to chest level. Swing the weights back between your legs. That’s one rep.
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