Science Determined The Perfect Home Bodyweight Workout & It Only Takes 7 Minutes

Science Determined The Perfect Home Bodyweight Workout & It Only Takes 7 Minutes
The New York Times’ Scientific 7-Minute Workout is the most well-rounded one-shot fitness routine we’ve ever seen.

For most of us nearly every aspect of daily life in America has been disrupted (that is, if you’re doing it like Mel Brooks says you should #dontbeaspreader #flattenthecurve).

How we eat, socialize, work, play, and fall in love has been upended in a matter of weeks as millions hunker down at home. And it’s only going to get worse.

But a few things must go on.

If you’re fortunate enough, you still have to work. You still need to call your mom. You still need toilet paper at least a few times a week.

And you still need to take care of your body.

Working Out Is More Important Than Ever

According to Harvard medical school exercise can have a powerful effect on the immune system “by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.”

Exercise has also been proven to reduce stress and improve the quality of your sleep, and guess what? The single best thing you can do to help your body fight viruses is get lots of good sleep (assuming you don’t smoke or abuse alcohol, of course).

The research is mixed on whether exercise directly boosts the immune system, but what we do know is clear: work out = nix stress = sleep better = boost your immune system.

Here’s A Complete Workout In 12 Exercises With No Equipment*

*You’ve got a chair, right?

Based on a now-famous article from the American College of Sports Medicine, the New York Times’ Scientific 7-Minute Workout is the most well-rounded one-shot fitness routine we’ve ever seen.

And if you push yourself … it’s actually really tough.

Click here to start the workout right now

What Makes It So Good?

The Scientific 7-Minute Workout is based on a familiar concept: interval training. The latest research has found that short, intense interval training is basically as good as much longer, slower endurance training.

To get the gains, do these three things:

  • Push hard, at or near your maximum capacity
  • Rest in between circuits for 10 seconds, but not more
  • Warm up first to prevent injury (and consider stretching afterwards)

This routine takes these 3 concepts and uses them like this: Each exercise lasts 30 seconds and you should push yourself as hard as you can, rest 10 seconds, move to the next exercise. Since it's based on personal maximum intensity for a set period of time, it's infinitely scalable. SO, if you finish and feel like it wasn't hard, you weren't pushing near your max.

Read more about the scientific basis for the workout here.

How To Progress And Regress The Workout

Already in shape and laughing like Gaston at how wimpy it looks? Good for you, hotshot – try the advanced version (scroll past the bodyweight-only workout).

disney gaston 7 minute workout

Definitely still going to the bar after everyone else stops

If you don’t have free weights for the advanced version, here’s a few suggestions to progress the original version:

  • Add an interval: if you can comfortably do 3, add a fourth
  • Give it 100%: even conditioned people like to work out at submaximal intensity, so really go for it
  • Up the number of days per week you workout: can you do it 5 days straight?
  • Add a run and/or additional ab work to the beginning or end of the workout

Out of shape? Join the club. Here’s how you can regress the workout as you build your fitness:

  • Do it one or two times at your own pace to warm up followed by 1 circuit as hard as you can
  • Get as far as you can into the workout before giving up, then take a short break (try for 30 seconds or less) and give it another shot
  • Sub in knees-down push-ups and hip-down planks as you build upper body and core strength
airplay workout

Cast the free interactive web app to your television as well as your preferred workout playlist.

Grab The Scientific 7-Minute Workout App

Grab the app or screencast the interactive web version and blast a song to bring the experience into your living room.

Then video chat your friends for a socially-distanced workout hang (after you’ve gotten good at it, of course)!

The Exercises

Jumping Jacks

jumping jacks

Wall Sit

best home work out wall sit

Push Up


Ab Crunch

ab crunch exercise

Chair Step Up

chair step


bodyweight lunge exercise best home work out

Triceps Dip on Chair

chair dip


plank ab exercise

High Knees

high knees home workout gym alternative


bodyweight lunge

Push Ups with Rotation

side push up home workout

Side Plank

side plank ab home workout

What Are Your Virus-Proof Home Workout Tips? Share Them With The Community Below!

Stillman Brown

Stillman Brown is a writer and TV producer who has created prime time content for National Geographic, Discovery, Travel Channel and many others. His interests span science & the natural world, personal growth, and food. He lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma.