CERG 7 week fitness program

Professor and leader of CERG, Ulrik Wisløff, runningWelcome to a 7-week journey towards improved fitness and better health. This program is for both those that hate and those who love to exercise. It is time efficient and gives a robust training effect for body and soul. The endurance activities that we describe below are walking or running. However, those words can be changed to swimming, cycling, rowing etc. as long as your activity involves dynamic work with large muscle groups. If running/walking – the aims become a bit easier to achieve if you do the exercise up an incline (not to steep).

We also refer to % of maximal heart rate but there is absolutely no need to use heart rate monitors – the effect of the training is similar with and without, but many find it motivating to use it. Also if you think progression is a bit too tough for you – use an extra week or two but make sure you complete the program. If you for one reason or another drop out of the program, just “go back” and “perform week-1” and then jump back into the program where you left it.

Exercise program

Monday

Endurance program: 1x4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you're back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you're on the path to improved fitness!

 

Note that it's important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for the entire four minutes, you've overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you're unable to maintain a conversation.

 

Wednesday

Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at an intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up – without stopping.

Core strength program

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or as in the picture below.

  2. 15 squats. Exercise the front of your thighs (quadriceps), buttocks and lots of stabilizer muscles. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and “go down” as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.

    Squat
     
  3. 10 squat jumps – same movements as for squats described above, but move so quickly up that you jump up in the air.
    Squats. Photo: Lasse Berre

 

 

Friday

Endurance program: 2x4 minutes health boost

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating lightly.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  5. 5 minutes of calm walking – and just like that, you're done for the week!

Give yourself an hour or two and check the feeling you have now – well done!

All photos: Lasse Berre

Go to the top of the page to find next week!

 

Monday

Endurance program: 1x4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you're back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you're on the path to improved fitness!
     

REMEMBER that it's important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for entire four minutes, you've overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you're unable to maintain a conversation.

Several pepole exhausted after intervall training uphill

 

Wednesday

Endurance program: 3x4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.

 

If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the first 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate). During the rest of the intervals it should take you about 2 minutes to reach 85-95% of your maximum heart rate. 5-minute cool-down – and you're done for the day!

 

Friday

Core strength program

Perform 5-10 repetitions of all three exercises (number depending upon your fitness level), 30 seconds rest between each exercise, and 1-minute rest between each of 3 series.

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. Split-Squat. Keep your hands behind your neck. Take a big step forward with one foot so that your knee comes in contact with or close to the ground - slide quickly back to the starting position - repeat on the opposite leg.

    Split-squat
     
  3. Squat jumps. Keep your hands behind your neck and keep your legs a shoulder width apart. Keep your back upright (look up and forward, and tighten your abdominal muscles somewhat), bend your legs and “go down” as far as you can without losing your balance. Go down slowly and upwards relatively quickly.
    Squat Jumps

     
  4. Push-ups either with bent knees, or as in the picture below.
    Push-up

 

Weekend assignment

Is it really harmful not to undertake regular physical activity? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Inactivity causes about 5.5 million deaths annually worldwide, while in comparison, about 5 million die annually as a direct result of smoking. Inactivity is a risk factor for death, and health authorities worldwide have estimated that the strength of the risk factor “inactivity” is equal to the smoking, high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol status risk factors combined. Do your favourite activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

 

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

Go to the top of the page to find next or previous week!

Monday

Woman and man running outdoorEndurance program: 3x4 minutes interval

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  7. 5-minute cool-down – and you're done for the day!

 

Wednesday

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

 

Friday

Our brain is often seen as the overarching control-centre that regulates the rest of the body. We are born with about 130 billion brain cells that are completely dependent on physical movement and good blood circulation with the supply of oxygen and proper "fuel" for them to develop and function optimally. It has been shown that people who are regularly physically active have a slower aging of the brain, larger brain volume, better learning, improved memory and less risk of developing neurological disorders (such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, dementia and reduced cognitive function).

Endurance program: 1x4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (see the FAQ on how to find this).
  3. 5-minute cool-down.

Enjoy your weekend off – next week is going to be intense…

Go to the top of the page to find next or previous week!

Monday

Endurance program: 4x4 Health Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – enjoy!

 

Wednesday

Endurance program: 4x4 Health Booster

Repeat the Monday session from this week – a real booster for your health! You are really on your way to improved fitness and younger fitness age!

 

Friday

Endurance program: 1x4 minutes kick-start

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate (see the FAQ on how to find this).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you're back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you're on the path to improved fitness!

Core strength program

  1. Squats 10 reps.

    Squat
     
  2. Split-Squat 7 reps on each foot.

    Split-squats
  3. Squat jumps 5 reps.

    Squat-jumps
  4. Push-ups, as many as you can do.

    Push-up
     
  5. Squats 7 reps, see previous picture.
     
  6. Split-Squat 5 reps on each foot. See previous picture.
     
  7. Squat jumps 5 reps. See previous picture.
     
  8. Push-ups, as many as you can do. See previous picture.
     

You will feel this week of training in your body and mind – you will like it. Weekend off – if you do exercises over the weekend anyway…. Keep them at low-to-moderate intensity.

 

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

Go to the top of the page to find next or previous week!

Monday

Endurance program: 1x4 minutes kick-start (same as Monday week 1)

  1. 10-minute warm-up, slow jog or brisk walk to get you sweating a little, preferably on an incline or hill to get your heart rate up more quickly, and to limit the stress on your knees.
  2. 4 minutes of walking or running uphill so you feel tired and winded. If you have a heart rate monitor, you should be at around 85-95% of your maximum heart rate towards the end of the 4-minute period (see the FAQ on how to find maximal heart rate).
  3. 5-minute cool-down – and lo and behold, you're back home where a hot shower awaits, and the rest of your evening is free for other activities – not to mention you're on the path to improved fitness!

 

REMEMBER (again) that it's important that the four minutes truly are high-intensity. If you find yourself unable to keep up the intensity for the entire four minutes, you've overshot it; next time, go a little slower so you can manage the whole distance. Conversely, you should be so tired and out of breath that you're unable to maintain a conversation.

 

Wednesday

Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up – without stopping.

 

Core strength program

Perform 5-10 repetitions of all exercises (number depending upon your fitness level), 30 seconds rest between each exercise, and 1-minute rest between each of 3 series.

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.
    Push-Up
  2. 15 squats.
    Squat 
  3. 10 squats with jumps.
    Squat-jumps 
  4. 15 squats, see previous picture.
     
  5. 10 squats with jumps, see previous picture.
     
  6. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
     
  7. 15 squats, see previous picture.
     
  8. 10 squats with jumps, see previous picture.
     
  9. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.

     

 

Friday

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get off the couch.

 

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

Go to the top of the page to find next or previous week!

Monday

Endurance program: 4x4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

Check the feeling after a warm/cold shower – amazing – enjoy!

 

Tuesday

Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

  1. Warm up for 10 minutes at a comfortable pace.
  2. Run or walk for 20 minutes at intensity you are comfortable with, but a bit harder than the speed at the warm-up – without stopping.

Core strength program

  1. 10 push-ups, either with bent knees, or kneeling with handholds.
    Push-up
  2. 15 squats.
    Squat
  3. 10 squats with jumps.
    Squat-jumps

 

 

Thursday

Endurance program: 4x4 Health-Booster

Described Monday this week – go for it!

 

Friday

Endurance program: 20 minutes Fun-Run

As described Tuesday this week – easy for you!

 

Core strength program

  1. 10 push-ups, either regular ones or with bent knees.
    Push-up
     
  2. 15 squats.
    Squat
     
  3. 10 squats jumps.
    Squat-jumps

     
  4. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
     
  5. 15 squats, see previous picture.
     
  6. 10 squats jumps, see previous picture.
     
  7. 10 push-ups, see previous picture.
     
  8. 15 squats, see previous picture.
     
  9. 10 squats jump, see previous picture.
     

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

Go to the top of the page to find next or previous week!

Monday

Endurance program: 4x4 Health-Booster

  1. 10-minute warm-up to get you sweating.
  2. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  3. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  4. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  5. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  6. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  7. 3 minutes of relaxed walking.
  8. 1 x 4 minutes of walking or running so you're very short of breath.
  9. 5-minute cool-down – well done.

What a feeling!

Several people running on tredmills

 

 

Wednesday

Choose an activity involving large muscle groups and dynamic movements (walking, jogging, swimming, cross-country skiing, squash, five-a-side soccer etc.) that you normally do not do, and be active more than 60 minutes. Bring a friend or your family so it becomes easier to get out of the coach.

 

Thursday

Do the maximum number of sit-ups you can manage.

Woman doing situps

30-minute walk or jog at a pace where you're not too winded to keep up a conversation.
Do the maximum number of sit-ups you can manage, see previous picture.
Great job!

 

FITTER?

Thank you for joining us on this 7-week journey - you should be proud of yourself! You are definitely in better shape than when you started and the training now gives you more energy than it takes – most likely you're feeling the mental and physical benefits already. You have improved your physical fitness, which is a very important indicator of cardiovascular health. Moreover, you've strengthened important muscles, which will make it easier for you to manage busy day-to-day activities, with a reduced risk of injuries or strains. For a numerical measure of fitness, see our fitness calculator! And if you like – take part in the “Next 7”.

 

Photos of strength program: Lasse Berre

Go to the top of the page to find previous week!

Fitness calculator