Return Of The Max

Apart from working towards 20 pull-ups, I have not really been exercising in an organised manner. So on Thursday this week, I again started on Week 1 Day 1 of Max Capacity Training, using the app. You can read my review of the app here.

The first workout has common exercises: squats, pushups, lunges and plank. The 16-minute workout  was tough! By the time I was done, I was sweating! I had expected that, though and I was glad to finally be following a systematic plan.

I hope I pursue it to the end this time. I expect to get stronger and to lose some fat in the process.

Pushup
https://pixabay.com/en/users/Hans-2/

If you are not following any workout plan, I suggest you get one. You can try Max Capacity Training, or the 7-Minute app that I reviewed here, or any other plan that is challenging and gradually increases what it demands from you.

Keep working out!

The 7-Minute Workout (App) Review

I came across the free 7-Minute Workout app and installed it in my phone. I also installed the Max Capacity Training app (which I reviewed here. I had it on my previous phone but not my current one). I had heard of the seven-minute workout before, so I was familiar with the concept. The idea is basically that you perform various exercises for 30 seconds each, with about 10 seconds rest between exercises. Ideally, the exercises should be performed as intensely as possible.

Note: There are a number of different 7-Minute Workout apps on Google Play. This review is about the one by Abishkking.

The Exercises
The app has two workouts: A ‘Classic’ workout and and Abs workout.
The classic one is usable immediately while the Abs one is locked by default. You can unlock the Abs workout by doing the Classic workout for five days in a row, or by paying $1.99.

I have only done the Classic workout, so I will only talk about that one.

The Classic workout has 12 exercises:
Jumping Jacks
Wall sit
Pushup
Abdominal crunch
Step-up onto chair
Squat
Triceps dips on chair
Plank
High knees/running
Lunge
Pushup and rotation
Side plank
(The app says 13 exercises, but the last two are the same exercise, just for different sides of the body. Interestingly, the app does not make the same distinction for the lunges or the step-ups).

There are brief illustrated instructions on how to perform each exercise and links to videos (or video categories) showing the exercises.

Screenshot_2015-09-11-13-05-41

You can change the duration of each exercise period, rest times, countdown time and also how many times you want to repeat the circuit.

The Workout
The day after I installed it, the app told me that it was time to work out. I hesitated, since I had planned to start the Max Capacity Training, which I had done part of before. Then I decided to try something new and do the 7-minute one. After all, it’s only 7 minutes.

When you start the workout, the app tells you by voice and also shows you on the screen what exercise to do. An on-screen timer times each exercise. The voice also tells you when you are halfway done with each exercise and counts down when the time for each exercise is ending.

7 minute workout

7 minute workout

I have done the workouts three different days now and they were pretty intense. I did only one circuit each time and it was fairly challenging. I was breathing hard when I was done, but I was not sweating a lot. I generally felt it was good and repeating the circuits would have been tough.

The Good Things

  • The exercises in total generally provide a full body workout
    The workout can be done anywhere. You only need a wall and a chair or equivalents
  • The workout lasts only a short time.
  • An in-built calendar shows you which days you worked out, so you can tell if you have been slacking off.
  • The app is free, though supported by ads. You can remove the ads by paying.
7 minute workout calendar

7 minute workout calendar

The Things That Could Be Better

  • The only major category of exercise missing is pull exercises, perhaps because this would require a place to hang from or something to pull, while the app aims to provide a workout that can be done anywhere.
  • I would perhaps change the order of exercises a bit, so that you alternate between upper and lower body exercises and not tire out some muscles too much. For example, the step-ups and the squats both exercise your thigh muscles, and the pushup with rotation and side plank are also alike.
  • Another thing that would be good to have is the ability to record scores for each exercise, so that you can track your progress.
  • It seems you do the same exercises every day, meaning you might get bored.
  • There is no scheduled rest day, which is needed for rest and recovery. However, there is a calendar that shows you which days you worked out, so you can schedule your own rest day.
  • If you choose to remove ads, then you will be required to pay for one year’s removal of ads. In other words, this is a subscription service that you pay for per year. The amount is not high (HK$ 15.46 which is about US$ 1.99 per year) but I found that approach a bit unusual.

Final Verdict
The 7-Minute Workout app is a bit limited if you want a greater variety of exercises or if you want to track progress within the app or if you want to customise your workouts. However, this app will help you exercise. If you are stuck somewhere and want to exercise, or if you have no workout plan at the moment, you can get a quick full-body workout using this app. The 7-Minute Workout app is good for that purpose. In my view, get the app.

HIIT Interval Training TimerAD

The HIIT Interval Training TimerAD is what I use for many of my workouts.

It is useful for setting up and timing custom workouts.
It allows you to set the following:

  • Preparation time – that you can use to warmup, psyche yourself and so on
  • Round time – the duration of each work interval
  • Rest time – rest time after each interval
  • Number of rounds and
  • Relax time that you can use to cool down.

SC20130716-192355
For each round, you can set a warning to sound before the round ends (and the next round begins). So if you were seated during your rest time, you can get up and be ready for the next interval.
You can set how many seconds in advance the warning should sound.

Using this timer, you need not keep checking to see where you are in your workout. You just need to listen for the sounds.

SC20130716-192524

You can give a save each workout with a name that will help you identify it. For example, I have a workout named Pull-ups.

The timer also logs the date and the times of your workouts, but not the name of the workout.

SC20130716-192600

You can combine individual workout sessions into one long session. For example, you can have a sprint/rest workout followed by a steady run.

It is also possible to create dynamic workouts, in which every work or rest time is longer or shorter than the previous one.

While the timer is running, it shows you which round you are currently on. This is feature is useful for me because sometimes when I am not using this timer (when I have low battery for example), I usually have to count laps to know which round I am on.

Find it on Google Play.
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=sk.halmi.itimerad

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Max Capacity Training – Review

Max Capacity Training is a workout programme that offers intense bodyweight training over a 12-week period. You are required to work out three times a week for 12 weeks. Each workout session lasts 16 minutes, excluding warmup and cooldown. I came across the Android app of the plan and later the web site that also has the plan available for free.

There are a variety of things that I find very good about the program:

Full Body
The exercises in the training plan will work out your entire body. They cover the main exercise groups: squatting exercises, pushing exercises, lunge variations and plank variations. The only missing group is pulling exercises.

Bodyweight
The fact that the workouts all consist of bodyweight exercises means that you do not need to have any special equipment to follow the plan.

Intensity
One of the things that stands out for this program is the intensity. There are only short rest periods between exercises, thus ensuring that the workout session is kept intense throughout, unless you decide to slack off.

Variety
Max Capacity Training has a wide variety of exercises, so that you will not feel that you are overdoing any one particular exercise.
Also, the workout intervals are different, such that when you complete a workout, for the rest of the plan, you will not do the exercises in it again it in the same way again.

Consistency
One of the best things about the program is that while having a variety of exercises and interval timings, the program follows a consistent pattern:

  • 16 minutes per workout,
  • four exercises per workout,
  • consistent protocols – One week will follow the 50-10 Protocol, the next week will follow the Tabata Protocol and the week after that will be the Time Attack
  • Each workout will usually have a squat variation, a pushup variation, a lunge exercise and a plank exercise

Clarity
The program contains clear instructions on how to perform each exercise, complete with illustrations. There are also instructions on how to score your performance. These scores are used in subsequent workouts, but can also be used to evaluate your performance against that of others who share theirs on the Web.

Free
The plan is available for free at http://www.maxcapacitytraining.com and as a free app. However, there is also a book available for purchase at Amazon.

Shortcoming(s)
There are only two things where the plan could be improved. First is that perhaps because of its entirely bodyweight approach, there is no pull exercise in the plan.
The only other thing that may perhaps be seen as a drawback for some is that the workouts are quite intense, and may not be suitabe for someone who is not relatively fit. However, even if you are a beginner, you can still follow the plan and perform the exercises at your pace.

I highly recommend the plan for anyone who is looking for a serious fitness workout that can be done at home, and for free.