In last week’s New York Times Magazine Section Gretchen Reynolds provided us with the New Scientific 7 Minute Workout for those readers who expressed wanting something more challenging than the old 7 minute workout Reynolds brought to our attention last year.
While the 7 Minute Workout may improve muscular strength and may, as its founder purports, engage smaller overlooked muscles, the regimen’s design seems too challenging for most mortals to execute efficiently enough to engage the correct muscles. The exercises shown require extreme positions, rotations and changes of movement. If one lacks sufficient strength and joint and soft tissue mobility to perform the exercises correctly, while under the seven minute time pressure, the assumed benefits of the workout diminish and the risk of injury increases. Ms. Reynolds calls this method scientific and mentions that scientific studies have shown that high intensity training has many benefits. What she doesn’t mention is that research also indicates that there is a high injury rate associated with these types of exercise regimens. Some of the injuries are quite serious.
So what is the optimal workout? The optimal workout is one that is challenging but also addresses individual strengths, deficits and past medical history.