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Because 7 Minutes Was Too Much for You Candy Ass Sissies
June 19, 2013 9:56 AM   Subscribe

Well, all you lazy butt people who couldn't manage 7 minutes, here's hope. Norwegian researchers have discovered an even shorter and effective workout. Straight off the heels of the 7-minute workout (which really was more of a 21 minute workout), the 4-minute program (but designed to be done 4 times, so 16 minutes of HIIT total) is said to contain the minimum amount of exercise required to develop appreciable endurance and health gains.
posted by kinetic (64 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
Or you know you could do something fun.
posted by The Whelk at 9:58 AM on June 19, 2013


And...previous discussion of the 7-minute workout.
posted by kinetic at 9:59 AM on June 19, 2013


So what these workouts boil down to is trading time for pain?
posted by notyou at 9:59 AM on June 19, 2013


Frees up time for my three-minute Apprehension of the Godhead.
posted by Iridic at 10:07 AM on June 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Given how badly the average mefite responds to the 7 minute workout, this post may amount to a death threat....
posted by pwnguin at 10:07 AM on June 19, 2013


Pain and endorphins.
posted by cmoj at 10:08 AM on June 19, 2013


"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."
posted by di11ihd at 10:10 AM on June 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


Was there ever a definitive study done on the effects of those machines you see in old-timey movies where you stretch a wide leather strap or rubber band over your stomach which the mechanism then causes to rapidly vibrate while you just stand there, supposedly jiggling your fat away? (Think human pneumatic paint shaker.)

'Cause that's the type of workout that I could be OK with.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:12 AM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


It seems worth noting that according to TFA and the underlying study, this is for improved cardiovascular health, metabolism, endurance, etc. and not for direct weight loss.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:13 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, these things pop up on imgur all the time and I'd love to have a static url for them because I always wind up seeing them at 2 am when I have insomnia.
posted by boo_radley at 10:13 AM on June 19, 2013


It's an interesting idea. They're saying "What's the smallest amount of effort I can put into retaining my current level of fitness?" And the answer is apparently four minutes of these particular exercises. Do them once a day along with eating a healthy diet and you won't get fat.

But I'm extremely skeptical of these scientific studies that treat human bodies like they're interchangeable machines. Some people probably respond to exercise a lot more effectively than others, so four minutes would be at best a fuzzy average.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:15 AM on June 19, 2013


Was there ever a definitive study done on the effects of those machines you see in old-timey movies where you stretch a wide leather strap or rubber band over your stomach which the mechanism then causes to rapidly vibrate while you just stand there, supposedly jiggling your fat away? (Think human pneumatic paint shaker.)

From what I understand those electronic muscle contraction stimulation machines actually work. But are kinda scary. And again, more for strength than weight loss (although I'd imagine it can result in some change to the body fat percentage).
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:16 AM on June 19, 2013


Or you know you could do something fun.
Workouts suck. (at least for me.) Doing things you don't like sucks.
The trick is finding something you like.
I believe I am part dog. I will chase balls or Frisbees until I can't walk. I get exercise without trying to exercise.
I also like riding my bike, and do it a ton.
But workouts? now way.
posted by cccorlew at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I don't know if the best introduction to exercise are short HIIT workouts that are incredibly painful and exhausting considering that the barrier to exercise is mostly one of willpower and getting to that place where you see it as crucial in your day-to-day and not as a chore.

Also, as someone who is pretty fit, HIIT workouts kick my ass. I've been doing three sets of NYT's 7-minute Workout ever since I've had this hamstring injury and it's definitely not something someone who is out-of-shape should do over just going for a jog.

god I fucking miss jogging in the morning
posted by dubusadus at 10:18 AM on June 19, 2013


Well, all you lazy butt people

I'm sick of these vile slanders against my people! We are a proud and industrious race!

/butt person
posted by Rangeboy at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Is this something I would have to get out of my chair to understand?
posted by Samizdata at 10:20 AM on June 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


"Was there ever a definitive study done on the effects of those machines you see in old-timey movies where you stretch a wide leather strap or rubber band over your stomach which the mechanism then causes to rapidly vibrate while you just stand there, supposedly jiggling your fat away? (Think human pneumatic paint shaker.)"

They've changed a little, but those vibrating machines still exist. The idea now is to do push ups and squats on a plate that vibrates up and down really quickly. I've no idea if it actually works.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2013


The trick is finding something you like.

And have time for.
posted by DU at 10:21 AM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


those vibrating machines still exist. The idea now is to do push ups and squats on a plate that vibrates up and down really quickly.

This is not the lazy workout that I signed up for!
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:28 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


/butt person

This is where hyphens come in. Are we talking about "lazy-butt people" or "lazy butt-people." Will this workout help one more than the other?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:28 AM on June 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have pretty much already perfected this style of workout and used it my entire life. I'm relieved that I can now call it HIIT rather than 'sex'.
posted by srboisvert at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Twenty-six inactive but otherwise healthy overweight men...
Emphasis mine. Call me back when they control for the novice effect. All this study proves is that going from no exercise to some exercise is about the same as going from no exercise to a some exercise (with a smidgeon higher value for "some"). People who are inactive get results from virtually any exercise program:
When an untrained person starts an exercise program, they get stronger. They always do, no matter what the program is. This is because anything they do that is physically harder than what they’ve been doing constitutes a stress to which adaptation will occur. I’ve said before that for this rank a novice trainee, riding a bicycle will make his bench press increase – for a short time. This, of course, does not mean that cycling is a good program for the bench press for anybody. It just means that for an utterly unadapted person, the cycling served as an adaptive stimulus.
(From Rippetoe's PDF espousing strength uber alles. Previously.)

Also, from the study, the 4-sets-of-4-minutes group did show greater improvement along some of the most important metrics:
Body fat, total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and ox-LDL cholesterol only were significantly reduced after 4-AIT.
posted by daveliepmann at 10:31 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Step into my office.

Why?
posted by burden at 10:32 AM on June 19, 2013


Uff da
posted by hal9k at 10:33 AM on June 19, 2013


"From what I understand those electronic muscle contraction stimulation machines actually work. But are kinda scary. And again, more for strength than weight loss (although I'd imagine it can result in some change to the body fat percentage)."

TENS is something completely different. The irony is that electrical stimulation at high frequency and low intensity is supposed to be an effective method of relieving pain, but TENS for weight loss is done in precisely the opposite way: low frequency with high intensity, and it hurts like hell.

One of the more surreal experiences of my life happened about thirteen years ago, when this fitness place was running a special on TENS sessions. I remember walking through a tanning parlor full of beautiful women, into the back where they had the fitness machines. Then trying to lie still while this young, attractive blonde velcroed electrodes onto my arms and legs, and ran a really intense current through my body. It was excruciatingly painful - and circumstances to the contrary, not the slightest bit erotic.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:34 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


> the 4-minute program (but designed to be done 4 times, so 16 minutes of HIIT total)

The article actually says they had two groups, one that did just 4 minutes, and one that did 4 minutes 4 times. They found no appreciable difference between them.
posted by memebake at 10:40 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait, so is it TENS or EMS, regarding which (from wiki:)

The FDA rejects certification of devices that claim weight reduction. EMS devices cause a calorie burning that is marginal at best: calories are burnt in significant amount only when most of the body is involved in physical exercise: several muscles, the heart and the respiratory system are all engaged at once.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:40 AM on June 19, 2013


I have pretty much already perfected this style of workout and used it my entire life. I'm relieved that I can now call it HIIT rather than 'sex'.

well lah - dee - dah
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:42 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


EMS, I guess. Seems like they use the same machinery, but in different ways.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:42 AM on June 19, 2013


I have pretty much already perfected this style of workout and used it my entire life. I'm relieved that I can now call it HIIT rather than 'sex'.

banging for four minutes, four times in sixteen minutes? Are you 16 years old?
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:43 AM on June 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


The trick is finding something you like.
And have time for.


We can always find time for stuff we really like.
On the other hand, I'm so busy writing this that I don't have time to work on a paper that's due.
posted by cccorlew at 10:43 AM on June 19, 2013


those vibrating machines still exist. The idea now is to do push ups and squats on a plate that vibrates up and down really quickly.

Completely different machines and completely different ideas. The old-timey rub the fat off machines were basically that. The newer vibrating machines are based on the idea of creating an unstable dynamic environment to actually do work on, as opposed to just hanging out. Doing any workout will be productive as long as it's work, although might not be the most effective or inline with your goals. Using a ten thousand dollar machine that limits your ability and at best strengthens through stabilization may be useful for some, but for most could spend their time better.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 10:47 AM on June 19, 2013


Sure, I could do this soul-crushing hyperactive bullshit, or I could go swimming in the breeze and sunshine for an hour while the oldies station on the PA system plays "Junior's Farm" and "The Night Chicago Died," as if I'm still a 13 year old frittering away my gangly afternoons at the subdivision civic center pool. Tough choice.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:51 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, all you lazy butt people
...
I'm sick of these vile slanders against my people! We are a proud and industrious race!


*stares through narrow eyes across the Iron Seas, wind whipping my hair*

"The butt people are amassing, my lord. Not today, and not tomorrow... but soon. They have already allied with the Boobs Clan and the Dorkwad Nomads of the southern peninsula... and every day their power is growing."

*tightens fist on sword, its mithril blade inscribed with "NO BUTTS"*
posted by Greg Nog at 10:52 AM on June 19, 2013 [17 favorites]


"*tightens fist on sword, its mithril blade inscribed with "NO BUTTS"*"

BUTTS WILL LOL
posted by Blasdelb at 10:57 AM on June 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would be curious to see what the Buttless Clan's banner looks like.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 10:59 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would be curious to see what the Buttless Clan's banner looks like.

I am more curious to see a demonstration of the much-dreaded "Buttless Stance" martial arts style.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:01 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Buttless Stance" martial arts style

Not to be confused with their marital arts style, over which we will draw a concealing curtain.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:02 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Buttless Stance" martial arts style

Watch out for the reknowned Feint of Butt.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:04 AM on June 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Buttless chaps are common amongst those brave warriors.
posted by Rocket Surgeon at 11:10 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kevin Street: "Was there ever a definitive study done on the effects of those machines you see in old-timey movies where you stretch a wide leather strap or rubber band over your stomach which the mechanism then causes to rapidly vibrate while you just stand there, supposedly jiggling your fat away? (Think human pneumatic paint shaker.)"

They've changed a little, but those vibrating machines still exist. The idea now is to do push ups and squats on a plate that vibrates up and down really quickly. I've no idea if it actually works.
Those are very different from the "vibrate the fat away" machines described in the question.

There's some very strong data supporting the vibrating platforms - and it makes sense if you think about it. Lifting weight in a curl = stressing a couple muscles a lot, plust tendons along a single axis. Lifting the same weight in a curl while your body is vibrating requires a host of support muscles and tendons to join in, each being stressed slightly, so that the overall support for the action outside of the isolated gym activity is strengthened as well.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:13 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kevin Street: But I'm extremely skeptical of these scientific studies that treat human bodies like they're interchangeable machines. Some people probably respond to exercise a lot more effectively than others, so four minutes would be at best a fuzzy average.
Scientific studies do nothing like you're describing; instead, they invariably produce results that clearly show humans have varying responses, and only attempt to capture the "expected results" (the average outcome) and the variability of those results (how much people generally deviate from the average).

I think you've been duped by years of mediocre-to-bad science reporting in the mainstream media, but if you'd clicked the second link above you'd have seen data showing exactly what you are complaining is missing from the research.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:20 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Better yet, full text that bad boy. Feel the power of charts and a discussion section!
posted by daveliepmann at 11:25 AM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can anyone explain to me the VO2MAX differences? They say
Maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and work economy 1-AIT and 4-AIT increased VO2max by 10% (17.2 (9.5, 24.9)) and 13% [22.9 (16.1, 29.7) with no group differences (p=0.23)
...which sounds like the 4x4 group had significantly more improvement than the 1-round group. The difference between 22.9 and 17.2 seems to be greater than their stated expected standard deviation of 2.0–3.0 ml/kg/min. But they seem to conclude the opposite, that there is no difference between the groups. What am I missing?
posted by daveliepmann at 11:32 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"tightens fist on sword, its mithril blade inscribed with "NO BUTTS"

How about IFS? Are you OK with IFS?
posted by epo at 11:38 AM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nope, still not going to do it. Sorry, science.
posted by Justinian at 12:19 PM on June 19, 2013


Think about it. You walk into a video store, you see 8-Minute Abs sittin' there, there's 7-Minute Abs right beside it. Which one are you gonna pick, man?
posted by distorte at 12:34 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: This is where hyphens come in. Are we talking about "lazy-butt people" or "lazy butt-people."

Some things even an Oxford Comma can't help disambiguate.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:40 PM on June 19, 2013


But they seem to conclude the opposite, that there is no difference between the groups. What am I missing?

The p-value was 0.23, so they can't claim statistical significance, no matter how much it might intuitively seem like "significantly more improvement."
posted by stopgap at 1:48 PM on June 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I laughed for four minutes over the Buttless Clan riff.

What a workout!
posted by BlueHorse at 4:38 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't we just take a pill?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:43 PM on June 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


What if you had more than four minutes that you were willing to invest in a workout per day? Is there any way to extend this routine to increase its benefits (since just re-iterating the cycle doesn't seem to do so), or do returns really just drop off dramatically after four minutes?
posted by invitapriore at 5:37 PM on June 19, 2013


invitapriore, reiterating the cycle does have increased benefits. See my comments above. The 4x4 group saw improvements in body fat and cholesterol that the lesser group did not see. Like any workout, the first set is the most effective, with subsequent bouts having diminishing (but still quite significant) returns.

The workout they studied was just a 10-minute warm-up jog and then a 4-minute fast run, with the 4x4 group adding doing three additional rounds with 3-minute breaks in between. There's nothing special about it. It is in no way optimized or proven to be the best at anything. They merely showed that a lot but certainly not all the benefits of a workout come from getting off one's ass and doing something hard. They also showed that the bare minimum for getting off one's ass is fairly low, and that once one has gotten off their ass, more time spent working out means more results.

If you wanted to extend this workout for additional benefits, I'd do the full 4 rounds, plus strength training, mobility work, and occasional longer and shorter cardio in a variety of modalities.

This study is useful in that it helps debunk the myth that the only way to be healthy is to jog slowly for hours. But the way it's reported bolsters my existing belief that these "only X minutes a day!" pop-pseudoscience-journalism pieces are actively counterproductive to our health. People overestimate their ability to adhere to a workout program, overestimate their current level of activity, and misinterpret workout recommendations to be dramatically lower than they really are. The whole project of looking for minimal workout plans is a bad idea.
posted by daveliepmann at 8:19 PM on June 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wait wut? The 4x4 group was actually doing a 10 minute "warm up" at 70% of maximum heart rate, then four sets of four minutes at 90% interspersed with "recovery" at 70% of max heart rate and a final 5 minute "cool down" - all on an incline treadmill. So many of the participants were doing a full 40 minutes of running uphill, three times a week. This is not what it sounded like on the tin.

Even the "4 minute" group was doing the warm up and cool down, so a total of 19 minutes of running uphill. That's a pretty intense workout for someone who has been inactive for the previous two years. (Although by using max heartrate, I guess the really unfit ones may have only needed to walk briskly to get up to 70% of max).
posted by lollusc at 2:28 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rustic Etruscan: "I have pretty much already perfected this style of workout and used it my entire life. I'm relieved that I can now call it HIIT rather than 'sex'.

well lah - dee - dah
"

Ha. A MeFi actually having sex.

Now THAT is comedy....

looks sad as he has been involuntarily celibate for the last three years and realizes it wouldn't be so bad if his cat was any good at kissing
posted by Samizdata at 11:08 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Greg Nog: "Well, all you lazy butt people
...
I'm sick of these vile slanders against my people! We are a proud and industrious race!


*stares through narrow eyes across the Iron Seas, wind whipping my hair*

"The butt people are amassing, my lord. Not today, and not tomorrow... but soon. They have already allied with the Boobs Clan and the Dorkwad Nomads of the southern peninsula... and every day their power is growing."

*tightens fist on sword, its mithril blade inscribed with "NO BUTTS"*
"

Look, they are The People of the Lazy Butt, and I am one of their tribe. Trust you me, Mr. Fancy Pants Hair Whipping Sword Holder, we won't get around to attacking soon, or, probably ever.
posted by Samizdata at 11:12 AM on June 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


But they could potentially organize a Sit-Down Occupation!
posted by Greg_Ace at 11:52 AM on June 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sit-Down!

And we will not be moved.

At least by you skinny weinies, we won't! Call out your bulldozers. We laugh in the face of danger.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:14 PM on June 20, 2013


Call out your bulldozers.

We'll see who rusts first.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:31 PM on June 20, 2013


I was rather thinking more of a nice lie-down and a snack.
posted by Samizdata at 6:31 PM on June 20, 2013


I was rather thinking more of a nice lie-down and a snack.

I'll bring the beer, pretzels, M&Ms and potato chips. There's a Sopranos marathon on.
posted by kinetic at 4:07 AM on June 21, 2013


kinetic: "I was rather thinking more of a nice lie-down and a snack.

I'll bring the beer, pretzels, M&Ms and potato chips. There's a Sopranos marathon on.
"

I will bring the wasabi and Sriracha peas, and some sodas for the non-drinkers. I'll also spring for pizza delivery later.
posted by Samizdata at 1:41 PM on June 21, 2013


I'll also spring for pizza delivery later.

Whoa! Whoa!
No, that's much too much activity. Gently pick up the phone and call from a reclining position. Quietly and slowly read off your credit card number. Hang up without straining yourself.


We appreciate your paying, but we don't want to see any springing about.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:26 PM on June 22, 2013


Gently pick up the phone and call from a reclining position. Quietly and slowly read off your credit card number. Hang up without straining yourself.

What are we...training for a the Ironman Triathlon???

Order online...you don't have to pick up a phone or hang it up again.

I'll leave the door unlocked when I come over and then we can just yell, "Door's open!!!" when the pizza comes.
posted by kinetic at 9:05 AM on June 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


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