Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Show HN: My seven minute workout timer evening project (7-min.com)
760 points by lgsilver on May 16, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 155 comments

OK, fine for this time, but tomorrow, you do it instead of procrastinating and creating a web page about it : )

You made hundreds of hackers move their ass for 7 minutes today. That is a huge accomplishment.

This is the best compliment I've ever gotten.

Just went through it on my iPhone.

First, nicely done. The interface is clean, the progression bar is helpful.

A few suggestions: It would be nice to have a bell go off both at the beginning and end of the rest period, so you don't miss the beginning of the next 30second sprint. On my phone I only hear a bell at the start of the rest period. I would also suggest displaying the graphic for the next exercise during the rest period. I work out regularly but I still didnt know what a "push up and twist" was so by the time I figured it out I had already missed 5-8 seconds of the sprint.

Nice to see products like this generating conversation. Keep up the good work.

Really fabulous work. If this works on an iPhone and has a nice iphonetouch.png icon, I'm gonna pin it and use it daily.

This is awesome. Just yesterday I was doing a 7-minute workout in my room, just because I was waiting for dinner to finish heating up.

The main problem is that the standard timer app on iOS only acts as a stopwatch...so the final ten seconds of each interval, I'm watching the clock so that I can hit "Lap" and move on...this is awkward when I'm also wearing headphones to listen to music.

What would be ideal for me is to have a simple timer that would alert me when the interval was done and automatically move on to the next one....like a repeating event on a calendar. I'm sure there's an app for that but I just didn't feel like downloading a bunch and doing trial and error.

One more twist: I can't do all the exercises in the 7-min workout (as made famous in the NYT)...jumping jacks would annoy the shit out of the people below me. So I make up my own. A timer that would allow me to set up my own sequence would be fabulous.

Anyway, this is just a longwinded way of saying that there's a need for a niche app here, and it would definitely be a fun coding project...I'm glad someone else thought of it first :)

I've read a bit about high intensity training (tabata, hiit, crossfit, etc.) and there seems to be quite a good bit of evidence supporting their utility. The 7-minute workout may well fit in that same category.

However, as an old fogie, I recall a craze back in the 70s and 80s called 5BX, which stood for 5 basic exercises, created by Swedish aircrew iirc. The reason I recalled it is the mention of rapid-style jumping jacks and push ups in the 7-minute workout. 5BX had increasingly quickened routines for jumping jacks (from a crouching position), sit-ups and push-ups (with claps thrown in as you completed each push-up).

All of this worked very well in terms of actually toning your body, getting a good daily cardio workout, and a sense of fitness... until it did irreparable back and other damage to quite a few people. So just be careful, especially if the high intensity and the 7 minute time limit drives you to a regimen that gets anywhere close to a 5BX style work out in terms of quick, jerky movements.

Personally, I've reverted to playing basketball like I did in my college days, with high intensity worked into it with repeated lay up, jump shot routines, etc. It's working great for cardio and overall body toning. I would like to do weights as well, as there is a body of evidence pointing to its value, but basketball is plenty far for me at this stage.

According to the Wikipedia entry, the harm from 5BX was caused by the situp. Replace with crunches and you're good.

Yes, that's a good catch. I think it was only late into the '80s that full sit-ups began to be deprecated. I did notice the 7-minute work out emphasizes abdominal crouches which is good. However, 5BX did also cause knee and elbow problems (thanks to the crouching jumping jacks and clap happy push-ups). I'd say watch out for routines involving jerky movements.

If you have a doorway adjacent to a hall, stand in the middle of the doorway and angle yourself slightly off parallel to the hall and do your jumps there. You make a lot of noise hopping in the middle of a room but (assuming a similar floor plan below you) stacked doorways lead to short beams for support that don't flex or echo near as much.

There are a bunch of interval training apps on the app store.

This is a good free one I use myself:


I know exactly what you mean- I use this free app called 30/30 on my iPhone (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/30-30/id505863977?mt=8), and it works great for a productivity cycle, e.g. rotating between focusing and doing something relaxing. I imagine it would be pretty good for workouts as well.

check this out, tons of HIIT timers out there. i grew up wrestling and used to use a physical device called a gymboss which was awesome at the time. they have now made Android and iOS apps



Thanks again to everyone. I'm going to keep the webapp completely open and free as long as anyone is using it, and I'll definitely open up the code once I clean it a bit. If anyone would like to port it to IOS, I'd be happy to chat. lgsilver (at) gmail.com -- Lindsay

Nicely done.

Someone, presumably a fellow named Will Wilson, also made an app a few days ago (pretty much as soon as the article was released - [http://willwilson.co/7minworkout](http://willwilson.co/7minw....

I really like that you've added second ticks and a starting countdown. Will's version has a nice whistle to start and pause & stop buttons. He also has a small 'info' link that explains the exercise routine. Please consider integrating these as well as a skip button.

Unfortunately, neither version works with sound on my phone.

Cool work ! I was just trying to start doing this, but was lacking this thing you just made. :) ... The only suggestion I have is, instead of the two static images at each stage if you could create simple animated gifs that explain the exercise a bit more clearly, it will be great to share with friends who don't probably understand by just two images.

I know this is against the rules, but I just wanted to say thank you. This is super convenient and I hope to use it on a regular basis. Thanks!

Great work. Just needs a beautiful favicon so it can look great sitting in my bookmarks bar ;-)

And then he could use Tinycon to show the timer in the favicon (totally useless but a nice detail): http://tommoor.github.io/tinycon/

Bookmarked! I'm going to do this every day and see how it works!

This is wonderful.

Can you make a way to skip sections?

Living in a house built in 1840, jumping jacks are out of the question...

(Also if you click rapidly on the 3/2/1 countdown you can kind of skip things, because the app goes to all madness.)

Same here. Just one or 2 clicks on countdown skipped loads of things and counter was all 18...20....15....14....17....

Using Firefox 21 on Win 7

I'm sorry but this is just a really poor execution of a simple idea. It was great to rush to market, but the timing is so totally out I find it completely unusable. This is on a Nexus 4 in Chrome.

there is no "rush to market" on this - she just built a project for her own interest and shared it! Constructive criticism is good - but if you dont like it - dont use it ;)

Lindsay is a male.

gotcha - hard to tell from the name - plus HN doesnt show you the gender of the poster :) (and it doesnt need to FWIW)

he, not she ;)

Great idea, you could make a pretty cool app out of this: let people create routines by letting them associate pictures with exercise names and amount of seconds.

They could then create workouts by creating a list of exercises and rest periods and play their routing with the timer you created.

Does this exist? I want one.

Shameless plug: I made an iOS app, called Bootcamp, that does that. The app has a library of exercises you can choose from to create your own workout. Check it out: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bootcamp/id398974469?mt=8

Agreed! This is brilliant!

Once again a wonderful example of something incredibly simple but incredibly useful. This would be particularly beneficial for Crossfit style workouts that are closely linked to a timer and where there is a different set of exercises every single day.


Shameless plug:

I made an app called RipDeck based on the deck of cards workout that is great for providing variety to your routine.

We have a weekly featured deck or you can create custom decks. Great for bodyweight exercises. Give it a try. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ripdeck/id409921624?mt=8

The featured decks are available on the site if you want some workout ideas for use with a regular deck of cards. http://ripdeckapp.com

I agree that for the best results, changing it up (also called Muscle Confusion - http://athletics.wikia.com/wiki/Muscle_Confusion_Principle) is also necessary. Instead of making your own workout (which most people are not qualified to do), we've built an app that asks for your goal, level, time, equipment, etc. to build you a personalized routine that changes as you go: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pumpup-workout-coach/id57307.... The hardest part of working out shouldn't be coming up with the plan.

"Muscle Confusion" is not a legitimate physiological property.

It seems to be a mutated misunderstanding of "accommodation", which is almost entirely a nervous system phenomenon having almost little to do with adaptations in muscle tissue.

The best form of "changing it up" for hypertrophy is to modulate standard acute training variables. Merely randomly changing exercises is ... not efficient.

I wish I could upvote this several times. Muscle confusion is a b.s. term, you need periodization in your training. Merely doing random shit everyday is going to work while your are a total newb, but you'll never get really strong that way.

Love this app! It's so personal, sometimes I think it knows more about what I want than my girlfriend.

For Android, there is a very simple free app called ExerTime ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aisknab.ex... ). It's not pretty and the configuration UI is both annoying and confusing (you must enter the total elapsed time at each step, not the time-per-step), but the normal use case works really well. The right options are available (notification sound, audio channel, text-to-speech, screen lock).

Agree with louder cues, or volume-adjustable.

Would also just let you set the time interval for cues and have ability keep them repeating indefinitely until you close the app. eg I have 3-4 stretches I want to do after working out and sort of count in my head to 30 seconds for each one.

Surely this would be the MVP for such an app - he should probably should capture email addresses of interested people though.

how about creating a playlist on youtube and that plays along with each exercise?

I want to make this now

Ha ha, I decided to try the 7-min workout last night for the heck of it and I basically wanted something exactly like this. Nice job, it does its purpose perfectly.

One small suggestion: Perhaps a louder audio cue for transitions between exercises in case you aren't looking at the screen.

That's good. Unless, of course, somebody comes up with 6-Minute workout timer. Then you're in trouble, huh?

No! No, no, not 6! I said 7. Nobody's comin' up with 6. Who works out in 6 minutes? You won't even get your heart goin, not even a mouse on a wheel.

7's the key number here. Think about it. 7-Elevens. 7 dwarves. 7, man, that's the number. 7 chipmunks twirlin' on a branch, eatin' lots of sunflowers on my uncle's ranch. You know that old children's tale from the sea. It's like you're dreamin' about Gorgonzola cheese when it's clearly Brie time, baby. Step into my office.

I only work out for prime numbered minutes, so 7 works very well. ;)


Works on mobile devices which is perfect when on the go. Give me a pause button so the timer doesn't go before I'm ready or make the clicking sound. Then I'll be at the site every day.

Shameless plug: We built a workout app for iOS (PumpUp) that makes it easy to build a personalized workout routine for home, the gym, or on-the-go. You can customize things like equipment, goals, muscles, etc. Check it out if you're interested! (https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/pumpup-workout-coach/id57307...)

Very cool! You got me off my butt and moving for 7 minutes and it was a great work break.

A few notes for you and others:

1) There are a few that switch sides/legs and I would handle them differently. For the lunges and step-ups, I think alternating sides is good. For the side planks, I think it would be useful to give the other side a whole segment. Splitting it in half wouldn't be much of a workout.

2) This is awesome because for the most part, you can modulate the workout however you want. In fact, keeping a log of the number of pushups/situps/high knees/etc would be cool because people could see progress. This might be a nice extension for the site!

3) It may be good to balance things out as far as muscle groups go. Pushups are repeated multiple times, as are squat related exercises. It is important to balance these out with the muscles that oppose these exercises.

4) Even better (at least for me) would be to have a series for desk workers that open up your body. We spend so much time crouched forward that a series of exercises to counteract this would be awesome.

Thanks and I hope you keep building on this!

I think it's implied that lunges and side planks are alternating; at least I have a hard time doing much more than 15 secs per side plank.

I am confused about it myself. I can do a 30 second side plank (35 seconds? Not so much.) so I've been doing two sets.

I emailed a link to your 7 min workout timer to my girlfriend. This was her response. Nice job.


That's. The. Most. Ingenious. Thing. Ever.

Now, I just have to bring my phone with me. Woohoo!

When I play it on the computer it ticks down, my phones doesn't so I'll have to pay attention to it, which could be tricky, but that's sweet. Thanks!"

It seemed like most of the comments when the article was on HN were saying that this is not a very good workout... Having said that, cool site, looks great!

This analysis of the workout was linked in the comments.


I don't think that is an accurate summary. There is tons of scientific evidence for short, high intensity training like this. The only legit complaints were the idiot saying it is useless because it won't make you into a power lifter (it certainly won't make you a power lifter, but that doesn't make it useless), and the people pointing out that you should check with your doctor first to make sure you don't hurt yourself.

this is great, just what I was looking for after I read the article - for those confused by what this is http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-mi...

And the requisite contrarian HN comments, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5704485

I'd like to see the rest screen contain information about the next exercise. This would give time to prepare.

You should see this at the bottom under the dots. I haven't optimized for small (under 13") screens, so it may be hidden.

Ahh yes... I did miss that because of screen size. You should optimize for smaller screens. :)

Okay, this is good. The only problem is that I'm out of excuses to actually not use it.

You guys rock. Thanks for the comments. Setting workout lengths is actually already built-in, just have to add it to the UI (after work).

Love it! The suspense is fantastic - it forces me to concentrate on the current exercise and not worry about whats coming up next. Really great! I hope you will add more exercises, more compound exercises, lots of body weight exercises, from beginner to advanced, logins, tracking.. etc.. etc.. all while keeping the core simplicity of it all intact! =)

This looks awesome. I'm going to start using it from tomorrow. I'd love to see more intervals like 10 min, 15 min, 20 min.

We are living in tomorrow. Do it now.

So funny, I just started designing something similar a few days ago, here is a shot of the dashboard http://dribbble.com/shots/1067433-Flat-Workout/attachments/1...

That looks great! When did Dribbble get so huge? That is less of a dribbble and more of a splllash.

Thanks man, yeah you can now attach full files on dribbble.

Bug Report: Clicking the initial countdown clock 2-3 times messes up the entire timer.

Confirmed this on Chrome, the behavior is strange.

Nice job.

I don't want to presume anything. Did you purposefully shorten the workout from that described in the ACSM article? It indicated 30 seconds on and 10 seconds off. (Your total duration variable should be 480--don't ask me how they added that up to "7 minutes"!) This has lead to some confusion in the comments here. And, although their intervals are somewhat arbitrary, and asserting this routine is "scientific" is debatable to begin with, it would be more accurate.

Again, great job.

Nice job! Little bit of feedback:

1. The images don't update until after the first tick of the new exercise. It would be nice if the updated when the rest screen changes to the new exercise screen with the timer and the text.

2. It would be cool if for exercises like the side plank (I think that's the only one in this set), where you hold something on each side, it gave you a halfway warning to tell you that it's time to turn over.

3. The rest period at the end isn't really necessary.

It would be nice to have a sound option, too - to just say the exercise name when it starts - so you don't need to look at your computer all the time.

I love it, thank you! I just tried it now. I have one suggestion, at the end when it's time for side plank, it is not clear when you should switch sides. I thought I would rest, and then the timer would tell me to do the other side, but at this time the timer was done. It would be better if the timer indicated when to switch sides, or had two segments, one for each side. Other than that, it was perfect!

This is really great! I was telling my fiancé about this workout just today. I read the NYT article but it was very sparse on details. Where can I find more info? About the research, more details about the workout itself (for example, during intervals is it full-on 100% all the effort I can muster, how many reps am I aiming for, is it done every day), etc?

Thanks for this. I'll give it a try in about an hour!

I believe this was the paper on which the NYT article was based:


Excellent. Thanks for the link!

I did it. It totally kicked my ass. It was great!

I do wonder, what number of 7 minute workouts per week is appropriate? I'm clueless, really - I've heard that you should not work out more than once in two days, and to me it does make sense to apply this rule here, since it advertizes itself as full workout. But yeah, I'm not really sure - it would be great if someone could elaborate. PS The site is great - simple but very useful.

Hi everyone. I made some updates today based on your awesome feedback:

1.) You can now change the length of the workout 2.) Sounds now work (as well as they can) in IOS 3.) Changed duration of the breaks to 10 seconds no matter how long the workout 4.) Added a sound-effect to tell you to switch on exercises that need it 5.) Made some UI tweaks to improve the look

Thanks for making my week.

I'm using a slow Internet connection, so I notice when transitioning to a new workout, it shows the old workout picture for a second or two before the new workout picture loads. Perhaps you can load it during the rest period and just have it hidden?

P.S.: Great job! And great website idea!

Your facebook link is broken, it is (https://www.facebook.com/lindo) and should be (https://www.facebook.com/Lindo). Notice the capitalized 'L'

Awesome! What would be nice is a choice to confirm between exercises so you can hit spacebar to continue and a multiplier for the speed of the tick. I'm not sure I can do 1 push up/sec for half a minute as a first training session. :P

Here is a link to do all these exercises properly: http://lifehacker.com/these-12-videos-show-the-proper-form-f...

I forwarded this program to my coworker when I saw it on HN yesterday. Now, I'm going to forward him this link... he refuses to go to the gym because he's too busy so hopefully this will help him kickstart some fitness in his life.

On Chrome on Win8, the background is white, but Firefox and on Dolphin browser on my Nexus 10, the background is black. You probably meant to keep a black background (eg. Workout timer on the start page is invisible on my chrome)

If it had the amusingly dramatic music and crazy horn between sets like this video the I would definitely use it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRni0ctIeFE

Great work! I tried the workout for the first time after a run this afternoon... it kicked my butt! As I was following along on the ipad I was thinking a simple app would be perfect for this. Love the implementation and visuals!

You should specify a different tone for the last 3 "bips". We can't be looking the screen 100 percent of the time, so a different "bip" to indicate that the end of the current countdown would be a good addition imo.

why routine start at 26 sec mark and rest at 8 sec? Some don't want it but I really like to anticipate what's next, like in this app http://7minworkoutapp.com/

This has pretty pictures. I built a command line version: for i in `seq 16`; do echo -ne '\007' && sleep 30 && echo -ne '\007' && sleep 1 && echo -ne '\007' && sleep 10; done

After the 1st excercise it starts at 7 seconds rest and then 26 seconds for the next excercises (Chrome/Win).

I also wonder why the images or better the whole site isn't responsive? I would also add a link to one of the sources.

I'm wrecked! Should be called the 1 minute work out :-) Nice idea and love the way you implemented it with the simple graphics on top of the countdown. The dots idea is also cool. Well done!

It is splendid, something I was looking for. You could now concentrate for a better UI/phone app. A suggestion, You can also look for customizing/substituting workouts for the exact duration.

I think it would be clearer if the counter was not behind the person.

Great! Bookmarked!

Feature request: a nice sound when each section is finished. Sometimes I'm not looking at the screen while doing the exercise, so a sound marking the section changes would be nice.

Short exercise routines are a hit in today's world of busy people. I love this thanks. Still feel sad that we have to opt for these things in order to get our asses up.

This is great! Although I'm not quite sure the pace of the tasks. For example, for push ups, is it down on one beat and up on the next or one complete pushup per beat?

With interval training you try and do as many as possible within the time period, not a specific amount or to the beat.

Many people involve themselves in weight training and cardio exercises because of which they miss out on ground exercises. I am sure this app will help them a lot.

To all programmers, please: get out of your room and run outside for a while. Taking a breath of fresh air feels much better than sweating in a closed space.

This is GREAT. Any way that it could be purchased for download? I am headed to the Congo and won't have internet. Thanks!

I'm looking forward to trying this out, most of the exercises mentioned in the Times article are of great benefit.

I was going to make an app for this. You beat me to it, and it's pretty good, no reason for me to bother now.

This is great, thanks! I'd like to hear a ding or some audio notification at the end of each section.

I was actually thinking about doing a project like this earlier today. Thanks for saving me the effort

Would love to make the URL bar disappear in mobile Safari. Love the idea, I will do this workout now.

Nice work, just tried it out.

One suggestion would be to add a Switch pop-up if you run into exercises like Side Plank.

I really do hate you right now. But I do actually see great value in this. Thanks for making this!

From last 3 days I was thinking about this only. Instead I thought of doing it as Android App. Cool.

nice work on the site......cheeky bit of self promotion for my iphone tabata timer app https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/tabata-hiit-timer/id44160046...

Awesome project.

I will be using it. Although I have to second others.. It'd be nice to choose my exercises.

Once you are comfortable doing this routine I would highly recommend the Insanity Workout.

One nitpick, I think the social aspects should disappear after 15 seconds of no events.

Oh man if I could customize this, it would be perfect. Very well done though.

Just curious, why 7 minutes?

Seems the 7 minutes was taken pretty literally in this app. The article suggests doing each exercise for 30 seconds, followed by 10 seconds of rest, for a total of 7:50. I was confused by each exercise started at :26 and rest at :8.

Would definitely be interested in downloading and tweaking this for my own. Github, perhaps?

Edit: FYI, don't release production code with console.log() if you can help it. :-p

I assume this is from the recent NYT article about the intense seven minute workout. The order of the exercises is important because it shifts from upper to lower body. You're supposed to do each one as intense as you can and rest for 10 seconds between. The research suggest this type of high intensity interval workout has the same effects as long moderate intensity workouts...very cool and thanks.

My son started doing this and was fumbling with timing on his watch. I'll have him use this now.

I didn't know what a wall sit was, so I looked it up ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_sit ).

According to wkiipedia, it's safety is disputed: might be injure someone with bad knees... something to keep in mind.

As a tall person (200cm) . I wasn't able to do wallsits (or walk stairs) when I was in puberty. It hurts the knees.

Speaking of knee injury. Practice squat techniques very well. IT might look easy, but doing them well takes a lot of practice. Your knees shouldn't go further than your toes, otherwise it's really bad for your knees!

That assertion on wikipedia is also disputed.

>According to wkiipedia, it's safety is disputed

To be more accurate: according to an unsupported claim made by a single random individual.

i don't get the excitement for this 7 minutes workout, can't you just go in the gym for 1 hour 3 times a week and do some squats ?

aside from this the site looks good, simple and to the point, props for it.

I do tabata most weekday mornings before work to get my body moving. This looks much more fun, and it doesn't replace my gym time, which is after work and an hour in duration.

Awesome! Thank you!!

The last two should be repeated twice though (one for each arm)

I was wondering who is going to make this first. Salute to you :D

Pretty similar to the Android app 'Relaxed Abs'. Awesome job!

My only complaint is that it doesn't tick on my phone.

That is beautiful! Love the art design.

Awesome! Does the job, keep it simple!

Thank you for doing this. I will use!

I love this, thank you so much!

setting custom times would be nice I like to do 30 seconds with 10 seconds rest

This is awesome. Good job!

How is this useful? Do you stand and exercise in front of your computer or tablet computer?

Even if you don't exercise in your "computer room," it'd be trivially easy to put your laptop or tablet on a chair and do the exercises with it in your field of vision

Or your laptop/phone. Or your web enabled TV. Or any modern gaming console.

Are you sure you are on the right site? This is a pretty tech-heavy news site.


Man, if only he'd have thought of that before he built it.

its like a coach right there making sure you're on top of it

Simple and elegant.

Thank you so much!

Pretty Javascript.

Thanks, good work.

Love it! Yay!

Really good!

Great work!

Love it!


god bless you

thank you

It would also be pretty sweet to have the ability to move exercises around. I tend to throw in pull-ups and other stuff at the end (with things around the house). Possibly even creating custom 7-min workouts that fit the guidelines of upper/lower/upper/lower, etc.

EDIT: but this is an awesome thing, regardless

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact