Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Bodyweight Metabolic Circuit

You might as well call this "Death."

This morning, per my usual Thursday schedule, I got up and forced myself to go to one of my favorite classes at my gym: Total Body Challenge

And when they say "challenge," they mean it. Today was no different.

Usually, we grab a step with 2 risers on each side, a yoga mat, and hand weights. Today my instructor said all we needed was a mat and a swiss ball. Which was more terrifying than reassuring. And it turns out I was right. Today's class was rough.

After class, the instructor let us take a sneak peak at the sheet she was using to torture and told us that this is the exercise circuit she does while on vacation or away from a gym. So, I thought I'd share so that those of you who don't have access to a gym or some other form of cross-training type video/class could get the deadly workout I got today.


5 minutes of some relatively intense cardio activity
(You can run, jump, flip, whatever you want. We did a combination of high knees, running in place, sprinting, lunges, squats, etc. The key here is to get your entire body warmed up and get your heart rate going.)

First Circuit

1 minute of static squats jumping in and out
(Basically, squat in a neutral position then jump out to a wider squat and repeat to the neutral squat.)

1 minute of alternating prone cross toe twists
(This one is more difficult to explain, but start in a plank on your hands. Lift your right foot, and twist it under your body to the opposite side and touch with your left hand. Twist back and repeat on the other side.)

1 minute break

1 minute of squat-jacks
(We do these a lot in my group fitness classes because they burn... bad. But it's a jumping jack that has a squat at the bottom. So jump legs out arms up, and when you jump back in, slow down for a second and squat. You when then jump back out from that position to the next jumping jack.)

1 minute of 1-leg burpees
(If you don't know what a burpee is, just Google is because it's hard to explain here... In this variation you do 30 seconds on one leg, keeping the other off the ground the entire time. Then switch legs for the final 30 seconds.)

2 minute break

1 minute of mountain climbers
(These are a more basic move. Get is a plank position on your hands. You will pull your legs in toward your chest, alternating legs. The quicker you go, the more difficult it is. The key is is not sticking your butt up in the air.)

1 minute of jump squats
(Stand in a neutral or wider position, depending on what you prefer. You will squat and as you stand from your squat position, you jump as high as you can. You will find yourself barely getting off the ground by the end, which is normal. It hurts.)

1 minute break

1 minute of inchworms
(Start in a standing position with your feet together. Then walk your hands out in front of you until you reach a plank position and try to go as far past that as you can. Then talk your hands back in. You don't have to stand up after each one.)

1 minute of spiderman climbs
(These are rough. Real rough. You start in a plank position. You pull your right leg up toward your right arm and try to do a push up at the same time. Then put your right leg back and do the same with your left leg. If you can't do the push up, just pull your legs up your side. If you do these right, you really will look like a spider.)

2 minute break

Cardio Interval
10 minutes of some form of intense cardio activity
(We did circuits that included ladder in-and-out runs for 3 minutes, medicine ball throw downs, sled pushes, and squats with weights. But any form of activity that gets your heart rate through the roof is the goal.)

Second Circuit

1 minute of over/unders
(These are a little odd, but you start to feel them toward the end of the minute. Stand in a neutral position. Pick up your right leg and step up and over. Your hips should open up here-- that's the key. When you put your foot down, squat. Then do the same with your left leg and squat. Coming out of the squat, jump. Imagine yourself on an obstacle course. You are stepping over the barbed wire and ducking under a net twice and then jumping over the wire again.)

1 minute of 5-dot drills
(Start with feet together. You will jump forward into a wider position then jump back to the middle with your feet together. Then back to a wider position. Then back to the middle and repeat. The 5-dots are the middle, your right-front, your left-front, your right-back, and left-back.)

1 minute break

1 minute plank on swiss ball
(You will be doing an elbow plank on the swiss ball. Rest your forearms on the ball and make sure your stomach and chest are not resting on it. And hold.)

1 minute lateral step-out on swiss ball
(These were tough. Balance your feet on the swiss ball with your hands on the ground. Then take your right foot off the ball, balancing on the ball with your left leg, and tap the right foot on the ground then back up to the ball and switch legs. You will fall off the ball a few times. It's inevitable, but just keep trying. The key is to not loosen your body-- keep tight and don't over rotate your body.)

2 minute break

1 minute bicycle crunches
(These are pretty basic. Pull in right leg, turn left arm/upper body toward and and switch.)

1 minute explosive step-ups
(These are fun. Lay on your back with your knees up at a 90 degree angle. You are going to roll back a little bit then roll forward. Your feet will hit the ground and when they do, use your hands to help you stand up. Then sit, roll, and do it again.)

1 minute break

1 minute of squats
(This is killer by the end of the workout. First ten seconds pulse at the bottom of your squat. Next ten, do jump squats. Then the next ten just hold a squat. Repeat again.)

1 minute of various abs
(We did a combination of leg lifts, basic crunches, bicycles, etc.)


This workout is rough and all done pretty much without anything other than you and a mat. It's about an hour long and will absolutely kick your butt if you push yourself. 

I have to say, for once, I'm glad I got out of bed at a decent time this morning. It was well worth it.

What workouts do you enjoy?

xoxo, jgp

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