Just when you thought that workouts couldn’t get any shorter, the New York Times has shaved another minute off and created the 6-minute workout. Tara Parker Pope offers us a cheery encouraging introduction:
I know that six minutes of exercise doesn’t seem like much. You might wonder: Is it even worth my time? The answer is yes! We created this workout with Chris Jordan, Director of Exercise Physiology at Johnson & Johnson Human Performance Institute and creator of the widely-known 7 Minute Workout. His research shows that even very small amounts of exercise, when carried out with intensity, can reap big fitness rewards. By committing to a super short workout today, you are taking the first small step to building a fitness routine. Remember, new habits start with small changes, not big moves. Commit to just six minutes of exercise three times a week and you are on your way to a lifelong fitness habit.
Pope’s message seems super-clear: 6 minutes is not a huge commitment, the exercises are tough but doable (for some people– more on this later), and sticking to them for a while may well open up in us the possibility of incorporating more exercise into our daily lives. This is a total win.
At least you would think so. Not all the NYT commenters agree.
But before I get to those, here’s what the 6-minute workout is. There are actually three different 6-minute workouts, each to be done once a week (in theory).
Workout 1 is here. It consists of:
- Jumping jacks
- standing lunges
- kneeling push-ups
- forearm plank
You’ll repeat them twice, giving you a total body workout. Each exercise is 30 seconds long. Do them at your own pace. You’ll rest for 15 seconds after each exercise.
Workout 2 is here. It consists of:
- Stand and box (standing– punch forward with left and right arms)
- side squats (moving from standing, left and right to a squat)
- kneeling push-ups
- bird dog (on hands and knees, lifting opposite arms and knees front and back, respectively– I hope that makes sense)
Workout 3 is here. It consists of:
- march in place
- squats (with arms outstretched front)
- push-ups with twist (after pushing up, lift one arm to ceiling, repeat other side)
- bicycle crunches (arms by side, palms down, you know the rest– ouch)
There are no real surprises here. I happen to love bird dog– we do this in yoga– and I like holding the pose for a while. Standing lunges are hard for me, so I don’t dip so far. And there’s no way to sugar-coat bicycle crunches. They put the work in workout.
So you would think the comments would be sparse and fairly bland, since this is not a revolutionary exercise suggestion.
But no. They had a whole host of complaints, including:
- didn’t like the vocal tone of the narrator
- preferred pulling-movements to pushing movements (so pushups back, row good)
- pointing out that reading about the workout is much easier than actually doing it
- didn’t fit their very specific physical needs and exercise preferences (followed by a detailed description of the aforementioned)
- all they care about is filling in the green ring in their Apple watch; would this do that?
- this is a total wuss workout– instead people should do e.g. 40 plank pushups, 80 static lunges (40 each leg) with extra weight, 50 squats with extra weight, and a 2:00 min. straight plank (there were many such suggestions)
- DON’T do this if you: have bad knees, are over 50, just ate, didn’t eat, have a last name that begins with M, and so on
- Given that many workout wardrobe changes (12 in total), this would likely take more than 6 minutes (this one I concede has humor, if not merit)
- People who don’t exercise more than this are in part responsible for global warming
- Where’s the “mature” version of this (hmmm… do they mean naked version? I know, they mean older people, but really, “mature”?)
- What can I sub for… fill in the blank (As former wait staff, I know that Americans do love their substitutions!)
And then someone just posted a picture of Theodore Roosevelt.
Okay, that’s actually their profile picture, but I thought it was jarring and funny.
Of course, a lot of commenters thanked Tara Parker Pope for posting, and sung the praises of the 6-minute workout.
My favorite of these compliments was this one:
And my favorite responder to the “this workout is nothing and makes people too complacent and contributes to national ill health” complainer:
Yes, dear responder. But I do think exercising with a cat on my head will take more than 6 minutes. We should ask this woman.
Readers, what do you think about these 6 or 7-minute workouts? Have you tried them? Did they do anything for you? I’d love to hear your stories.