This is a great little workout that is easily customizable. I’ll give you a workout scheme that you can make work for you.
This is a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuit. That means that you’ll work really hard for a certain amount of time, rest for a little bit, and do it over. It will get your heart pumping and your breathing heavy, meaning that it’s effectively raising your VO2 Max, or your body’s ability to uptake oxygen, a sign of endurance fitness levels. HIIT is also backed by a lot of exercise scientists because it is a quick workout, so it can be easier to maintain doing these kind of workouts.
How this circuit works is that you can choose how many rounds you are feeling that day. I usually do 4-5, but if you’re just starting out, you could do 2 or 3. Set a timer (I really like using this free Tabata timer on my phone) for however many rounds of work you want to do, and for how long. The terminology can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, but you’ll do a set of each exercise within a cycle, or round, of work. This workout, for example, would be 4-5 cycles of five sets of exercises.
To break down the settings in Tabata app a bit more:
Exercise interval = how many seconds you will be working
Rest interval = how long you will rest after each exercise
Number of sets = how many different exercises you’ll do per round of work
Recovery interval = how many seconds you’ll take off between the rounds
Number of cycles = how many rounds you’ll do of all of the sets
You can see how my phone is set up to do 4 cycles this workout:
Make your own circuit workouts
Whenever my boyfriend and I go to the gym together, we like to have fun getting creative and challenging each other with circuits.
Generally, if you want it to be a full-body HIIT workout, you can follow this general timing scheme of 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off, or another that you enjoy. You can create a circuit that mixes: Upper body, lower body, cardio, core. Choose an intensity level of exercises that works for you, and repeat as many rounds as you have time for, or feels good! Some examples of exercises in each category are below.
- Upper body: pushups, rows, man makers, medicine ball slams, pullups, shoulder press, bicep curl & press, tricep extensions,
- Lower body: squats, lunges with a twist, deadlifts, deadlifts with a high pull
- Cardio: burpees, medicine ball slams, tuck jumps, jumping lunges or squats, box jumps, weighted step-ups, high knees, kettlebell swings
- Core: leg lifts, plank, toe touches, V-ups, weighted crunches, TRX planks, mountain climbers, oblique crunches, bicycle crunches
For this workout you will need:
- Medicine ball
- Box / bench for box jumps or step-ups
- Light handweights (I use 10-15 lb)
Here’s the Jump & Swing Back Burner workout below:
Explanations of the movements:
- Med ball slams: Hold a medicine ball with both hands and stand with your feet at shoulder width. This will be your starting position Raise the ball over your head and fully extend your body. Now slam the ball into the ground, directly in front of you, as hard as you can, bending in your knees like a slight squat. Receive the ball with both hands on the bounce and repeat the movement (I use a 10-14 pound medicine ball for this, but scale for your level)
- Box jumps Begin with a box of an appropriate height 1-2 feet in front of you. Stand with your feet should width apart. This will be your starting position. Perform a short squat in preparation for jumping, swinging your arms behind you. Rebound out of this position, extending through the hips, knees, and ankles to jump as high as possible. Swing your arms forward and up. Land on the box with the knees bent, absorbing the impact through the legs. You can jump from the box back to the ground, or preferably step down one leg at a time. Note: For a lower impact version of this exercise, or when you are feeling tired, try step-ups: Using one leg at a time, step up onto the box, pulling the opposite knee parallel to your hips. Step down, switch legs, and repeat for the length of the circuit. You can do this with or without weights in your hands.
- TRX Rows: Grab the TRX handles with both hands, and lean backwards so the ropes are taut, and your body is at an angle. Let your arms extend out. With your palms facing in towards each other, pull yourself up with the handles, working your back. Release yourself back down carefully.
- Kettlebell swings: Hold onto the handles of a moderately weighted kettlebell (Start with 15-20 lbs if you’ve never done swings. I’ve worked up to 25-30 lbs). Swing the bell back between your legs, leaning forward with a straight back and bending the knees a little deeper. As you explosively swing the bell forward and up, thrust the hips powerfully forward, rotating your hand so that knuckles face forward, bringing the bell up to chest-to-face height. Swing it back down. There are often form issues with kettlebell swings; this article breaks it down really well!
- Man-Makers: This is a really awesome move that is fun, and works you in a lot of different areas. Use hand weights that are a light weight (I use 10-12 lb if doing it for 45 seconds). Holding them at your side, squat down, so that the weights are at the floor, parallel to one another. Jump back into a plank position. Perform a pushup. Now perform a row on each side in the plank position. Jump your feet back into a squat, stand up, and raise the weights overhead into a shoulder press. You can scale these so that they work for you! Take out the push-up, or just perform squats and overhead presses!
If you want to finish it out with a push, do some tabatas of battle rope slams: 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off. If you gym has these, take advantage! They’re definitely scary, but so much fun. I love to do them because i always feel kickass afterwards. Slam them up & down, or swing them back and forth laterally to feel it more in your arms.
Foam roll, stretch & ENJOY! You kicked ass. I hope you feel strong and thank your body for its work.
Have any questions? Try it out? What did ya think?