Stronglifts looks very interesting (I've read most of thee content on the website), and it got me all excited about doing it, but quickly I realised that I can't even do basic shit.
I'd say my fitness level on a scale from 1 to 10 (where 1 is morbidly obese and 10 is an athlete) is about 2. I'm probably not obese morbidly, but I'm overweight (97Kg@185cm / 214lbs@6'1), and I've never done any real sports in my life. most of my day is spent behind a desk, programming; be it at my job, or at home for a hobby. On, average, I probably spend about 20 hours (might as well be more) in a sitting position.
I tried a few of Skimble workouts that were recommended for me (Easy to moderate intensity), I'd do them for 2-3 consecutively days. I'd be so sore the next few days that I couldn't lift a glass to drink; I ended up being on light painkillers to be able to do everyday things.
The 7min workout looks ideal for someone like me who's looking to take the first step towards a better life.
To conclude: Stronglifts would probably paralyse me for a few weeks after one workout. I know the author described himself as being weak at first, but people often underestimate themselves when we reflect upon our own pasts (I'm guilty of that, at least).
: I did some sailing, which required once-a-week visit to the gym, but we mostly did warming-up stuff (which, in hindsight, was pretty tiring for me)
It's also a bit tricky; there are lots of little form details you need to work out, and getting them wrong retards progress and sets you up for additional soreness. But I find that I like that aspect of it: beyond just being able to pick up heavier stuff every session, I also often walk away having figured something new out about correct form, which is gratifying.
You should also check out Rippetoe's _Starting Strength_ (there's a Kindle version of it) for a similar program and much more detail on how the motions actually work.
(Yeah, I have a referral link to Amazon on the left, but I am not exactly forcing anyone to buy the book).
Everyone has a different reason for working out. What's yours? Is it for strength? Building muscles? Losing weight? Different goals call for different routines.
If you are interested in StrongLifts, I would just suggest doing it with a weight that you feel comfortable with that doesn't completely paralyze you after a workout, not that StrongLifts is suppose to do that. Having done 7 minutes workout, it's a great start.
Not only is it not necessary, it's actively harmful. After stressing your muscles, you need to give your body time to recover. If you stress your muscles beyond your body's ability to recover quickly, you will get weaker, not stronger. If you wait at least 48 hours between workouts, you'll see better results.
1. 6'1" @ 215lb is not that bad. I'm 6'4" and 195lb. Morbidly obese would be like 250lb+ at your height, at least in the US.
2. If you start with light weight and follow the linear progression of a program like StrongLifts, you will not likely hurt yourself. Weight lifting is safer than most forms of cardio, especially when practiced with good form. It would be helpful if you have a place you can exercise where there is a squat cage, so that you can use safety pins, but it is also not that hard to get out from under a squat. Search for "how to safely fail a squat" for more info.
3. It will be helpful to have a coach or a knowledgeable friend to check your form. Preferably someone who often squats big already. In a pinch, you can video yourself doing and ask for advice on a forum, or even me, if you want my inexpert opinion. Respect the depth! (That means, squat until the crease of your hip is below your knee.)
4. I would guess that a bigger guy like yourself will find it very easy to make progress early on. I do not think that it is likely you would paralyze yourself doing stronglifts.
5. Soreness is a big problem for the first 2-4 weeks, but your muscles will begin recovering faster after that. You should work out through the soreness, at whatever level of weight you can manage.
6. You will make strength gains more efficiently by supplementing with protein and creatine, and reducing carbs in your diet in favor of fats and proteins.
You asked about my initial level of fitness. I didn't weigh as much as you, but I was skinny-fat. Very weak and flabby at 190lb and 6'4". The last sports I had done before this was Tae Kwon Do for a half a year back in '09 or so. And before that, basically nothing.
You can see what has happened to my strength since I started stronglifts six months ago here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_bJrdrwGYeWV01FRmZlVFBrTjA.... (Green line is deadlift, blue is squat, gray is benchpress. The big dip recently is when my son was born and I took a month off.) Or you can see me lifting in this YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMiIOCPvdFUBq9GtCb7L3.... I am not claiming this is good form. I am very much a work in progress.
I am by no means strong, but many of my lifts have reached the intermediate level of strength. They were all way below beginner when I started.
The only thing I'd add is that if you want your arms to look good, you're going to need to throw in some curls, because stronglifts does not focus on the bicep. It is a show-muscle -- you don't really use it for much, but it's important for appearing strong in our culture.
In short, I'd recommend the barbell to anyone who doesn't have a particular bone, tendon, or muscle disease. This stuff works.
This (unofficial, but true-to-source) site is a better resource for the actual Starting Strength programs if you don't want to buy the book: http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/FAQ:The_Program
Why would that be true? I believe the only difference is that SS recommends 3 work sets and SL recommends 5 sets, and SS uses power cleans while SL uses rows. Do the additional sets work better for people starting from low fitness levels?
Yes, because they cannot handle too much weight and so, their training volume is very low even on 5 work sets. Note that the body will catch up pretty quick and 5x5 will be too demanding after 9-12 of solid training.
Also, SS is much more technical because of the power clean, which is a very demanding exercise. You cannot possibly do 5 sets of power cleans without putting you in risk of injury.
I basically started with the original set, for two months I tried to increase number of repetitions during each phase without hurting myself, then after I pushed to my peak intensity my body got adapted to it so I added a 2nd set at a lower intensity and was slowly increasing it. The same repeated later and I added 3rd set. Now I can push all 3 sets at the same intensity (actually, 2nd and 3rd are easier), and I tried adding 4th one but got an injury so I decided to stick with 3 as my optimum.
I've had much more trouble consistently increasing weight on bench presses.
In fairness, I probably have a mechanical advantage for squats.
I'm a relatively experienced lifter - heavy squats 3x per week is brutal for the first week or so and then your body adapts to it.
I've found that I'll actually stick with a ~hourlong workout, 3-5x a week that I believe in and have goals for over anything quick with no discernible aim. And it's amazing how time magically appears to actually show up at the gym when you prioritize it.
A "scientific" 7 minute workout with no discernible goals is an admirable thing but honestly it's a cheap novelty at best - I've never heard of anybody actually sticking to one, "doing the bare minimum" is just not motivating at all. Scientific according to whom? To what end? Why am I doing this?
Exercise science is inherently a little bit voodoo. Motivation and consistency are much more important than the time requirement.
If somebody's had any success with vague goalless 7-minute workouts, or has even stuck with them consistently, I'd love to hear differing opinions.
I think you're right that the biggest problem with this is that there are "no discernible goals" associated with this "scientific" workout. For noticeable strength and physique improvements, the lowest I've found to be effective are 40 minute workouts 3 times per cycle with a cycle length of 7-10 days depending on the types of workouts done.
1. Leave one rep in the tank for every set you do. 5 reps means 5 picture-perfect repetitions. As soon as form starts to break down, you are doing it wrong.
2. Start light.
3. Eat like a horse. At least 10% above you maintenance levels in training days.
4. Deload every 4 weeks.
Note that I am 40+ years old. I have been squatting twice per week more than 3 years now.
The theory is that because the large areas (ex: leg, back) are actually composed of many muscles, you can hit them more frequently with slight variations (working different parts/ranges/etc.) and still recover.
- Recovery doesn't take seven days.
- Squats target the biggest muscles.
- The biggest muscles produce the most testosterone, enabling you to make gains in other muscle groups more easily.
Ex. http://breakingmuscle.com/strength-conditioning/new-study-pi.... The muscle may not produce the testosterone, but it is produced by working the muscle.
That's all I know.
In particular, the GP was talking about Stronglifts, which has you doing the same old back squats 3 times a week, variations strongly discouraged.
Stronglifts is one, but there are programs from Glenn Pendlay, Bill Starr, Mark Rippetoe, etc. and they're all good for beginner to intermediate lifters - and they all feature two or three days a week of the same-old squats.
A beginning lifter should make gains in the squat even while doing it three times a week, sometimes for many months. After you hit the wall, programs will drop the number of squat days, replace a day of back squats with the front squat, or replace all-heavy days with a light-heavy-medium rotation.
It's true - you'll eventually plateau. But a 3x week squat program works for a lot of people, especially when starting out.
You're right though that more experienced trainees who have built up a base level of strength take more like a week to recover. Intermediate powerlifting/Olympic weightlifting programs (see Texas Method, Bill Starr 5x5) usually still recommend squatting three days a week, but only one of these days is a heavy day.
SL5x5 starts out with the unloaded bar, SS with a _lightly_ weighted bar. The whole idea is that you're initially _well_ below your actual potential.
You're increasing the weight fairly aggressively (10# per week for squats), but it'll take you a few months before you're up to significantly challenging weights.
You'll also re-set a few times, and eventually switch to a different progression.
If you're not going balls-to-the-wall, you can squat twice a week. If you're going heavy, 1x is more viable.
Sometimes less is more.
(Theres a study on risk factors from smoking to education here:
Health benefits of strength training listed on Wikipedia look still pretty attractive, to be honest. The primary obstacle is necessary equipment, for someone who travels around this means gym access becomes a factor.
I agree that cardio seems to be far more essential to health than strength training, though.
Thanks for sharing a very interesting document.
That's really the difference. You need your heart-rate pumping for 30 minutes to really see benefits from this, not for 7 minutes. I doubt any "scientific" claims that 7 minutes a few times a week is all the exercise someone needs.
At the very least double it. Do 14 minutes. I remember trying this while out of shape (hadn't done any intense exercise in months) and with 7 minutes I barely broke a sweat. Unless you're morbidly obese you need to do more than this.
If you really want a god exercise buy some weights or go to the gym. Moving around really heavy objects for 30 - 45 minutes is the best bang for your buck workout you can get.
The 7 minute workout was misinterpreted in the mainstream press. The scientific claims specifically mention a very high intensity workout that most people actually cannot reach. You need to train to get to the level where 7 minute workout makes sense for you.
"Research has demonstrated that improvements can be made in VO2max and insulin sensitivity in as little as 4 minutes of total exercise time in an HICT session. However, it is to be noted that this result often requires working at intensities equivalent to greater than 100% of VO2max. Because most individuals may not be able to execute the program at an intensity significantly greater than 100% of their VO2max, following the established ACSM guidelines for high-intensity exercise of at least 20 minutes is recommended. This may require multiple repetitions (or circuits) of a multistation exercise circuit."
- 56 push ups
- 44 abdominal crunches
- 36 chair steps up
- 35 squats
- 56 triceps dips on chair
- 30 lunges
- 20 push ups with rotation
(all in 30 seconds)
I thought the point of this exercise was to slowly allow you to raise your intensity to have a real interval training, all while being constrained by time.
I'm a twig who eats averagely and does no exercise other than walking everywhere (around an hour a day) -- I break a sweat after ~3 minutes and collapse on the floor panting at the end of the 7 >_>
I'm pretty sure that it is helping, because now I can actually do the full 7 minutes, where a few months ago I would only manage ~20 seconds of activity out of each 30-second burst before I fell over from muscle pain.
Are you sure that the specific numbers of minutes are what's important? I am by no means an expert, but I was hoping that "push every group of muscles to their limit every day" would be enough...
At least.. it should be: I've seen and done many exhausting HIIT/Crossfit-style workouts that last only 7 minutes yet wipe out even the most athletic people.
E.g.: here's a 3 minute workout https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz9pXeLsmQk
I really hate that this 7 minute workout thing is becoming a trend. It's misleading in its benefits. If everyone writing or talking about it wants to clarify and say it's only beneficial for people who are dangerously out of shape, fine, but otherwise it's stupid. Workout for 30 minutes. Please.
However, my resistante is to get started ("boot time"), once I'm dressed for a workout (that is, not in a suit or jeans), 7 minutes or 14 or even maybe 30 is not that much of a difference.
At the end of the day, if 7 minutes of cardio is all you can stand to do, you're screwed.
The patronising attitude isn't going to help anyone who has gotten that far out of shape.
Even if someone is sufficiently unfit that they can't do more than 7 minutes of cardio work in a session, they still have to start somewhere and build up. The alternative in most cases will be their fitness decaying even further.
Keep in mind that there are a lot of reasons people might be that unfit. Some will just be lazy. Others might be recovering from a serious injury or illness, and just being able to walk for five minutes to get to the shops unassisted is a big achievement.
I've been exercising regularly for a long time and know pretty well what my "equilibrium" exercise time is, and it's about 5 - 6 times longer than 7 minutes. If I thought it could be shorter, then I would make it shorter because my #1 goal is to minimize the number of minutes of my life I spend on exercise.
All I can say about this is that 7 minutes strains credulity and sounds like marketing nonsense to me. At a very minimum, I need to sustain an elevated heart rate for a few minutes to feel good.
(Of course, you might get hit by a bus tomorrow, but that's true whether you exercise or not. I guess you should avoid exercising near traffic.)
But I bet exerciser years are better than non exerciser years, in old age.
That is significantly overstated. The study did not establish causation, only associations. The most that can be claimed is that A was predictor of B for group C.
Doesn't that math make you immortal?
Exercise an hour, rest for 2.5, repeat forever ... (you also have to sleep, so exercise for 3 hours, sleep next 7.5).
That's how it works, right?
Myself, I'm not overweight - I weigh about 60kg, and am 1.75m tall - but I don't exercise. I don't see that it's worth the amount of time it takes out of my day.
My perspective may change if I find myself physically challenged in anything I do. But that seems to be some way off just yet.
It may be the case that playing sports (particularly soccer) will yield some progress towards your targets, but that will be with greatly reduced efficiency than if you put focussed effort to specific goals.
I get that this is probably for people on the go, but at least having a voice telling you what you're doing and giving you tips would make this so much better.
Also, don't just say "science". Tell us what kind of "science" and link us to specific research that maybe we want to know about.
A: 5x Back Squat 5x Weighted Chin-up or Barbell Row
B: 5x Deadlift 5x Olympic Press
Repeat alternating. Do as many warm up singles as you can fit (max 5) ascending in weight before each heavy set. Increase weight on every exercise as often and as much as possible. Get or make some micro plates to extend linear progress when you can no longer sustain 5lb jumps. If you have a few minutes extra, throw in an extra set of as many reps as you can comfortably do with 70% of the working weight on each exercise. If you can't do these movements spend 7 minutes a day learning form and improving mobility until you can.
The goal of this type of training is to yield the greatest amount of impact with the least amount of effort in the shortest amount of time.
Anybody who did the nyt 7 minute exercise at max intensity for a couple months is going to be in good shape. Do it everyday for 6 months and they will be in the 90th percentile of physical fitness in the United States for their age group.
Which I think is a pretty good return for 7 minutes out if your day with no equipment other than a chair.
Disclosure: at my peak I back squatted 350 and deadlifted 400.
I think there is one key that needs to be stressed to people starting to work out: anything* is better than nothing. You may not see great gains by doing only 5x5 dumbbell curls every day, but you will start to generally feel better.
* With good form. Bad form will do more harm than good (I know from experience, having pulled a back muscle trying to speed through a warm-up set of squats). Having someone to give you form advice is another important aspect.
Fitness programs founder on three points
1. Ceasing to do the workouts.
2. Overdoing it and injuring yourself. This includes: not having rest days, too heavy weights,excessively exhausting workouts.
3. Lack of nutritional support.
Bottom line though:
- Fix your diet (whatever works for you, for me it was getting rid of carbs),
- Make time for this and build up the routine (I get most of my workouts done in under 35 minutes all included, I do this at least 3 times a week),
- You don't need a gym; you can get dumbbells for cheap, but even without it there is a lot you can do (I haven't lifted anything in a year, doing mostly bodyweight).
The major problem is that the studies are not nearly long enough. The human body can adapt really well, and these exercises don't really provide any meaningful level of progression (besides just doing them more). As a user of this program continues, they will have to keep adding cycles, and eventually they'll just be doing it an hour every morning.
As a way to trick yourself into the habit of exercise I think that's great. But the concept that 7 minutes a day can really make you healthy is kind of absurd. There is no question it's better than nothing (especially for people who are already significantly overweight), but it's too bad it's not being sold as an intro to exercise program, rather than The Only Thing You Ever Have to Do Ever.
I heard something about this, only in the past few months, but I can't remember where. Apparently, the way to create habits is to trick yourself by doing something almost ridiculous or trivial. For example, say you want to start flossing regularly. For a lot of people, this is a tough thing to make a habit of. The suggestion is to just floss one tooth, once a day. Don't even try to floss two teeth the next day. Just keep flossing one tooth every day and try not to think about starting a flossing habit.
And then, one day, so the suggestion goes, you'll just go ahead and spontaneously floss all of your teeth and continue to do so in the days after that. You've tricked yourself into the habit, because you had no conscious resistance to committing to flossing one tooth; and in the meantime, by flossing that one tooth, your subconscious built the habit. Once the habit was firmly in place, your conscious brain no longer had any resistance to put up.
Something along those lines is supposed to work for exercise, and many other things as well.
The 7 min workout definitely will not make you look like a cross-fit junkie, but who really needs to be that fit? For someone who doesn't work out at all, and sits in front of a screen for 8 hrs a day, 7 min a day is likely to add a few years to your life.
From the gloss for Practical Programming for Strength Training : "Exercise is physical activity for its own sake, a workout done for the effect it produces today, during the workout or right after you're through. Training is physical activity done with a longer-term goal in mind, the constituent workouts of which are specifically designed to produce that goal."
He emphasizes that a realistic means of progression is one of the most important aspects of any training program.
Practical Programming and Starting Strength  (which is a better introduction to these ideas for novices) are together the best analytical discussion of physical training that I've seen.
For most, the problem is getting started and forming a habit. By the time 7 minutes a day gives you diminishing returns, you've probably got a good routine going. Once you have a good routine is very easy to increase the duration or intensity. So, in a sense, it doesn't make people healthy but it does get them on the right track.
You seem to get this, because you said you wouldn't mind so much if it was being sold as "an intro" instead of a "silver bullet." While it's technically true, it would probably do more harm than good. Seven minutes is something that just about everyone, including very unhealthy people, feel like they can achieve. Which do you think is more likely to get people interested?
* Get healthy with just 7-minutes exercise a day!
* Get healthy by increasing durations of exercise starting at 7-minutes a day!
Both have the same result in the end, but my guess is the first will attract more. So, all I'm saying is, I would rather get more people started and then let them figure it out once they've got a routine.
I heavily disagree with this. People run these programs and do them as written and don't dig any deeper. They don't achieve results, and that leads them to develop (completely warranted) distrust for the fitness industry. This makes them feel like exercise only works for some people, and they must not be one of those people. People feel like their weight is genuinely uncontrollable.
On the other hand, a realistic approach gives them the tools they need when they are ready by starting out easy and gradually progressing.
So Android Firefox users aren't supposed to view their website?
Do this for all major muscle groups and you get significantly raised metabolism throughout the day as your body deals with replenishing ATP, cleaning up lactic acid, and repairing small amount muscle micro tears.
I guess if you're beginning from a very sedentary level, this is probably a great starting point. It exercises most major muscle groups and will at least activate them far more than just sitting in an office chair.
It works remarkable well to keep me fitish (basically fit enough to do all the other physical activities I want to do) and at keeping my weight down. I find that this intense exercise makes me feel sick afterwards. This takes away my hunger until a few hours later so it is not too difficult to avoid eating for the 3 hours.
The 3 hour fast afterwards is remarkably easy. I start to get hungry around 9.30am to 10.00am (around 2.5 hours in), but as I am usually hard at work at this time it is not too hard to resist eating until 10.30am. Other than this I eat whatever I like when I like.
One of the good things of this program is I only need one shower and I can cool down under warm water saving even more time. Most short exercise programs are much longer once you add in all the ancillary activities like changing clothes and showering - mine really is 5 minutes only.
In regards the fasting and not eating afterwards there is some scientific literature that exercise after 12 hours of fasting followed by no eating for 3 does helps in weight loss. I can’t say if this is true or not, but doing intense exercise does reduce my appetite for quite a while afterwards. By doing this I can avoid eating for around 15 hours a day which doesn’t leave that much time for me to eat too much.
The most famous adherent is/was probably the writer Tom Clancy.
You're dubasses, all of you.
P.S. The next The 21 Convention will be in January 2015 .
> The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.
The article was updated today (which is where I saw the app link) (http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/24/the-advanced-7-minu...)...it talks about how the 7-minute workout is "not meant to be your sole exercise"...but that's out of concern that it "will become monotonous and demotivating"
Also, as an aside, if you are repeating something 2-3 times, doesn't that mean you're doing it a total of 3-4 times?
most people, even in good shape (not overweight or obese) can only do 10-15 seconds before their quads burn into a cinder
try it! its a good exercise but 30 seconds? c'mon!
also, another reason why this suggested 30 seconds duration is bad is that it will mean that most people who do try to meet the unrealistic 30 second duration will collapse down as their legs give out and this is NOT what you want to happen because risk of injury from this exercise is greatly increased if you don't get out of the position by standing up
If you are having a hard time with 30 seconds, I recommend scaling down the time, but working your way up as you get better. You can safely get out of the position by letting your butt go down to the ground, put a pillow/cushion underneath you if you are worried.
P.S. As a military academy graduate I can tell you that 30 seconds is chump change; 5+ minutes gets you into "top shape" territory where people are collapsing, and pretty much any freshman at West Point, Annapolis, or the AFA can do 3+ minutes.