Category Archives: circuit training
The World’s Healthiest 75-Year-Old Man
Don Wildman can run like a Marine, snowboard like an Olympian, and bike like a Tour de France champion. Not bad for a 75-year-old.
1 Circuit (1 Hr 15 minutes Total)
20-30 seconds in-between moves
22 Exercises In This Circuit – Some Moves are Repeated
15-20 Reps of Everything
Quality Technique, Range of motion, Endurance, and Flexibility. The goal is to do high reps with heavy weight. Laird’s exercises incorporate 2-3 muscle groups per each exercise.
1. Cable Machine Front Cable Raises – Balancing on Indo Board
2. Over Head Ab Press on Declined Bench – Weight Plate
3. Pull Ups with Legs at 90 Degree Angle on Hack Squat -360 Body Hang Stretch
4. Single Leg Wall Sit with Rotator Cuff (against stationary Object)
5. Cable Machine – Rotating Ab Twist in Squat Position (Middle to Side)
6. Upright Row on Indo Board
7. Golf Ball Stance (Foot Torture)
8. Dips with a Single Dumbbell between thighs
9. Push up to Hop Up (demoed by Hutch) similar to a ½ burpie
10. Stability Ball Balance Squat with Shoulder Flys
11. Cable Lunge Squat with a Chest Fly
[12,13,14 – 3 Circuits]
12. 1 Minute Wall Sit (single leg 90 degree) 1 with rotator cuff
13. 1 Minute Wall Sit (single leg 90 degree) 1 with bicep curl
14. 1 Minute Handstands
15. Lying Sliders Burn Out – In/Out – Side/Side (Hips Up)
16. Bosu Ball Ab Reach Up – Hands to Toes (lift arms up at the same time as legs)
17. Straight Leg Deadlift with Dumbbells (on elevated structure)
18. Wide Cable Lat Pull-down (stand on stability ball or indo board)
19. Back Lunge on Slider with Overhead Shoulder Hold
20. Leg Extension with a Shoulder Press
21. AB-CORE Leg Twist on Declined Bench (bend legs, use hips and core for height)
22. Face Down on Stability Ball on Bench – lift legs up, scissor, lower back down
A Laird Life Editor
Taken from Laird’s book, Force of Nature
Laird Hamilton explains three ways to do a circuit training workout, one of his favorite ways to train in the gym.
Depending on how hard you want to go and how much time you have, you can choose how many rounds you want to do and how many reps you’ll do in each round.
1- The Basic Circuit: Three rounds: First round is 25 reps; second round is 15; third round is 5. Increase weight on each round.
2- The One-Round Endurance Circuit:One round: Do 40 to 60reps (as many as you can do, keeping good form) of each exercise with light weights
3-The Grind:Six Rounds: first round is 30 reps; second round is 20; third round is 10; fourth round is 5 (as heavy as you can go); fifth round is 15, sixth round is 25.
Here’s an example of a few exercises. All 15 exercises plus demonstrating photos can be seen in Laird’s book “Force of Nature”.
1- Crunch: Works your abdominal muscles and obliques (the muscles along your sides that enable you to bend and twist)
2- Plank: Arms are bent at 90-degree angle with elbows directly under your shoulders and palms flat on the ground directly under shoulders. Hold for 1 minute.
3- Cable Pulldown: Use an overhand grip with your hands slightly more than shoulder-width apart, and pull the cables (or bar) down. Keep your body stationary; make sure you’re not rocking backward and using that momentum to move the weight.
4- Chest Press: There are all kinds of ways to do a chest press, both on a machine and with free weights on a bench. If you use the latter, you can vary the movement by changing the position of your body: flat, decline, or incline. Each angle works your chest slightly differently.
5- Leg Extension: Sitting with your back flat and your feet hooked behind the pads, straighten your legs (being careful not to lock or hyperextend your knees.) Slowly lower legs to starting position.
The Fall of T
Castration in the Gym?
Kettlebells vs. Dumbbells
Bands vs. Chin-ups
Glute-Ham Raise vs. 45-Degree Back Extension
Prowler Pushes vs. Suicides
Lateral Raises vs. Shoulder Pressing
Pushdowns vs. Dips
Planks vs. Spinal Flexion
Step-ups and Split Squats vs. Squats and Deadlifts
Active Warm-Up vs. Static Stretching
80/20. Not 20/80.
Do this circuit 3 days a week. Perform 1 set of each exercise in succession.
Each set consists of doing the exercise as many times as you can in 30 seconds. Use only perfect form—it doesn’t count if you cheat, Mr. McGwire—and when your 30 seconds are up, give yourself 15 seconds to rest before moving on to the next exercise. Rest for 2 minutes after you’ve completed the entire sequence. Then repeat the whole process two more times for a total of 3 circuits per workout.
If you get tired and can’t continue exercising for the entire 30 seconds, stop and rest for a few seconds, and then resume performing reps until the time is up. For each exercise, you should start with a weight that you can use for 10 to 12 perfect reps.
By Stephen Perrine
By: Scott Quill
You’ve been told to listen to your body, learn its idiosyncrasies, embrace it like a friend. Don’t buy it. You can listen and learn, sure, but forget the friendly stuff. When it comes to muscle, you need to be less good buddy and more psychotic drill sergeant.
Keep your muscles off balance. When they get used to lifting a certain amount in a certain way (sound like your workout?), they stop growing. A weight-training program that never changes also creates strength imbalances; that’s unproductive and dangerous.
This doesn’t mean you have to master the incline behind-the-back modified Slovenian triceps windmill. Just do your usual exercises, but use different combinations of sets and repetitions.
What follows is a guide to different kinds of sets and how they produce different results, from trainer Craig Ballantyne, C.S.C.S., owner of workoutmanuals.com. Plug this into your weight training-program and see the surprised—and supersized—reaction you get from your muscles.
What they are: The usual—a number of repetitions followed by a rest period, then by one or more sets of the same exercise.
Why they’re useful: The rest periods and narrow focus of straight sets help add mass and build maximal strength. As long as you rest enough between sets (1 to 3 minutes), your muscle, or group of muscles, will work hard two, three, even five times in a workout.
How to use them: The start of your workout is the best time to do straight sets, regardless of your experience level, Ballantyne says. Your energy and focus are high at the start, so it’s the best time to execute difficult moves. Perform three straight sets of six to eight repetitions of a challenging exercise like the bench press, pullup, or squat; aim to do the same number of repetitions in each set, with either the same or increasing amounts of weight.
What they are: A set of each of two different exercises performed back-to-back, without rest.
Why they’re useful: Supersets save time and burn fat. You can multitask your muscles—for instance, working your chest and back in one superset and legs and shoulders in another. Lifting heavy weights in a short time period increases the rate at which your body breaks down and rebuilds protein. This metabolism boost lasts for hours after you’ve finished lifting.
How to use them: Insert a superset at any time in your workout. To involve the most muscles, pair compound exercises—moves that work multiple muscles across multiple joints. For example, combine a chest press with a row, or a shoulder press with a deadlift. To save more time, pair noncompeting muscle groups, such as your deltoids and glutes. One muscle group is able to recover while the other works, so you can repeat the set without resting as long.
What they are: Three different exercises performed one after another, without any rest in between.
Why they’re useful: Trisets save time and raise metabolism. A single triset can be a total-body workout in itself, like our 15-minute workouts.
How to use them: Trisets are a good workout for at home (or in an empty gym), because you need to monopolize equipment for three exercises. Do basic exercises that hit different body parts—like bench presses, squats, and chinups. Perform a warmup set using 50 percent of the weight you usually use in each exercise. Then repeat the triset two or three times, using weights that allow you to perform eight repetitions per set. Rest 1 to 3 minutes after each triset.
What they are: Three or four sets of one exercise performed without rest, using a lighter weight for each successive set. Also called descending sets or strip sets.
Why they’re useful: Drop sets are a great quick workout, fatiguing your muscles in a short time, getting your heart going, and giving you an impressive postworkout pump as your muscles fill with blood.
How to use them: Use drop sets when you’re pressed for time. Don’t do them more than three times a week; you’ll get so tired you won’t be able to accomplish much else. Start with a warmup, using 50 percent of the weight you expect to use in your first set. Now use the heaviest weight you’d use for eight repetitions of that exercise to perform as many repetitions as you can. Drop 10 to 20 percent of the weight and go again. Continue to reduce the weight and go again, always trying to complete the same number of repetitions (even though you won’t), until your muscles fail.
What they are: A series of exercises (usually six) that you complete one after another without rest, though you can do some cardiovascular work (such as jumping rope) between exercises.
Why they’re useful: When you use weights, circuits can be a great total-body workout. But they’re most valuable without weights as a warmup of the nervous system, joints, and muscles, Ballantyne says. Because a circuit stresses the entire body, it’s more effective than a treadmill jog, which primes only your lower body.
How to use them: You’ll annoy the other guys at the gym if you do an entire workout based on circuits, because you’ll monopolize so many pieces of equipment. But one circuit is quick and effective. If you’re using it as a warmup, you need only your body weight or a barbell. Or use just a pair of dumbbells and circuit-train at home where you won’t annoy anyone.
by Chris Bathke
We’ve all heard the saying by Benjamin Franklin: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.”
While we can’t speak for the long-dead Mr. Franklin, we’re pretty darn sure that if he were alive today he would expand his list of life certainties to three: death, taxes, and packed gyms in January.
Most hardcore trainers will agree that the January gym crowd is about as annoying as a Hanna Montana marathon. They all seem to show up at the same time on the first Monday evening after New Years, full of piss and vinegar from yet another drunken New Year’s resolution to finally lose that “last 10 pounds.” Fortunately for us, after two or three weeks of wandering from cardio machine to cardio machine, these misguided souls generally slink away when they realize that this whole fat-loss thing actually takes a little work.
If you see the need to drop a belt loop or two this month but don’t want to get lumped in with the “read the paper on the stationary bike crowd,” coach Chris Bathke has an out-of-the-box program that thumbs its nose at traditional cardio training. But as you can well imagine, it takes work. But you’re no New Years Noob; you can handle it.
It’s that time of year again! You know, the one when we have to confront the cruel reality of what happens to our physique as a result of saying yes to that third serving of pumpkin pie too many times.
But instead of just telling you to get in touch with your inner hamster and hop on the treadmill or puke your way through torturous rounds of Tabata intervals, here are some ideas for dropping fat and making progress in other areas at the same time.
Many of you might be familiar with density circuits of the type that strength coaches Robert Dos Remedios and Charles Staley advocate, in which one seeks to increase the number of rounds done in a given time period or a set number of rounds as quick as possible.
I’m a huge fan, and these work great for improving conditioning, power, endurance, and hypertrophy. However, with a slight twist regarding pace, we can add the incentive of rest, and thus create motivation to work faster and create a significant metabolic effect.
Just be warned, as the consensus of everyone that has performed these circuits is that they well, suck. But if you’re the type of person that revels in suffering, this will be right up your alley.
For those that still want to get in some strength work, I’ve found that a couple of movements done for 3×5, 5/3/1, or whatever you favor, done before these circuits, works well for most people to maintain or even improve strength. Needless to say, if your primary goal is strength or hypertrophy, then use an appropriate program.
This is how it works.
Start out with one or two 12 minute circuits per training session. Eventually, you’ll progress to 15 minute circuits, but wait a couple of weeks before increasing time. We’re going to focus on increasing the amount of work in the 12-minute period before moving to longer circuits. When you try it, you’ll know why.
Exercises: For the first circuit we’ll use three compound movements. You’ll want to typically choose one lower body movement, one upper, and a third that compliments the other two. In other words, a pulling movement works well with a push and a squat variation. For example:
1B) Clean and push press (or jerk)
1C) Front squat
Note that all three can be done with minimal equipment and space, which has obvious benefits if you train in a big box gym, and also maximizes rest time. For cleans and front squats, I prefer using kettlebells due to being able to rack the bells on your chest, but you can also use a barbell or dumbbells.
Rest between sets: You’ll do one movement per minute, and then switch to the next movement at the top of the minute.
So for the above example, finish all the prescribed chin-ups (more on that below) in one minute, and then you’ll get whatever time is remaining in the minute to rest until the start of the second minute, when you switch exercises. After you finish the front squats in the third minute you’ll return to chins again in the fourth. So for a 12-minute set you’ll be doing 4 rounds of each movement, and for a 15-minute set you’ll be doing 5 rounds.
Reps: If you can do a maximum of 10 consecutive chin-ups, then do only five per set. If you can do a max of 15, then do eight per set; and if you can do 15+, then go for ten reps. You get the idea. If you can’t do 10 chin-ups then substitute band-assisted chins or inverted rows. The idea is to work at a set pace, or number of reps per minute, and try to maintain that volume the entire circuit.
Load: On the cleans and push presses and front squats, choose a load you can do for 15 good reps. The clean and push press is obviously comprised of two movements, so just do 5 per set. Do 10 front squats per set. If using KBs, try using the same size bells for both the cleans and squats.
Once you complete the last rep of each movement, rest until the end of that minute. I suggest using a Gym Boss, or similar timer that can be programmed to beep at the top of each minute. It may seem easy at first, but just wait until you hit the halfway point and you’ll think differently.
One reason to start with a conservative number is to ensure each rep is done with perfect form and a full range of motion. Keep the quality of movement good and no slop!
You should be able to finish all three exercises for the required reps for the first few rounds of the circuit within 20 to 30 seconds, and then use the remainder of the minute to rest until the start of the next minute. But as you begin to fatigue it’ll get harder, which forces you to work harder in order to finish and allow yourself some rest, thus providing a greater metabolic effect.
If you can’t keep doing the prescribed reps, then drop a rep or two. The idea is to keep working with perfect form and gradually increase the amount of work. Provided your nutrition is on point, any strength coach will tell you that improving work capacity and conditioning has a significant benefit on body composition.
Progression: Make sure to keep track of how many total reps are done each circuit. The next time you do the same circuit, try to add a rep each minute. Once you can add two reps to each exercise and maintain that pace for the 12 minutes, then either nudge the weight up slightly or move to a 15-minute circuit. The choice is yours.
For second circuits, I tend to favor exercises that aren’t loaded as heavy, or even bodyweight movements. Examples of this could be:
2B) Lateral lunge
2C) Inverted row on rings/TRX or barbell
Use the same rules regarding loading and volume as with the first circuit, and of course maintain strict form. If you’re doing a unilateral exercise then halve the volume, so for the above example do five lunges on each side.
I find that most people are good with using the same size dumbbells or KBs with the renegade rows and lunges, so again we can be efficient with equipment and space.
Other combinations that work well are:
• Single leg Romanian deadlifts/DB bench press/DB row
• Glute ham raise/Lat pulldown (can be done on same station)/Bulgarian split squats
• Judo pushups/KB swings/woodchops
• Single leg squats/ab wheel rollout/cable row
• Farmer’s carry/dips/burpees
If you have the equipment available, then sleds, sandbags, and battling ropes are also great tools for this type of circuit as they allow you to keep a hard pace, yet are relatively easy on the joints. I have a number of clients that have had hip, knee, or back surgeries that do well on such circuits with this equipment.
Feel free to get creative and come up with your own combinations, but make sure to include a mix of pulling and pushing, core, and hip and knee dominant movements over the entire session.
Six total movements should do for one day, along with mobility and pre-hab work of course, so stick with two circuits per session, or one if you do some preceding strength work. Two or three days per week of paced density circuits plus another day of intervals or other work is ideal for most people.
If you choose to do two days per week, then pick four circuits total and arrange them into an A and B day. If you want to do three days per week than pick six different circuits and arrange them into and A, B, and C day and get after it.
Stick with the same circuits for three to four weeks so that you can try to improve on the previous week’s result before switching it up.
Another way to up the intensity and improve results is to work with a training partner or two. Having each person start on a different exercise and rotating through is a great way to push each other and inject that elusive element of fun into your training.
Dropping those holiday pounds and getting in shape doesn’t have to be boring or monotonous. Though the diet end of things might seem a little bland after a month of pumpkin pie and eggnog, at least you can still make your training as challenging and enjoyable as possible.
Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Kettlebell clean and press.
Barbell front squats.
Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
In our last installment of TMUSCLE Twitter, we put a few of the TMUSCLE coaches on the spot and asked them to come up with their five essential kitchen tips to kick-start fat loss.
This time, we’re sticking with fat loss but switching to the subject of training. Because after all, even if diet is the biggest player in the fat loss equation, how you train matters, right? Or does it?
Before you take your Christmas bonus and buy the Kung Fu 5000, that latest infomercial fat loss gadget that doubles as an autoerotic asphyxia device while folding up neatly in the closet, give this article a quick read. You might learn a thing or two.
Check it out!
I have one exercise that is 100% guaranteed to expedite your fat loss gains. I’m not kidding, guys and gals, this one’s foolproof. It works for EVERYONE.
A little interested, aren’t ya?
They’re called Table Pushaways. Push your fat ass away from the table more often, and it’s amazing what kind of progress you can see.
I’ll be frank — fat loss programming is pretty easy. Maybe not going from 6% to 4%, but the start of the journey is easy with regards to programming.
The diet/nutrition is where people get lost.
Whether it’s peer pressure from friends, emotional issues tied to food, or simply being lazy, if you can get your diet in check and eat a little bit less, you should be pleasantly surprised at the success of your next fat loss training program.
I don’t have a specific favorite fat loss routine because they vary a lot from client to client, but I certainly have a favorite fat loss protocol.
The idea is to rotate multiple training styles over the course of the week: one day bodyweight, another day density based fat loss training, another day complexes.
Taking it a step further, each workout would use variations of different exercises, but always include one variation of the squat, lunge, press, pull, dynamic abdominal exercise, and static/stability abdominal exercise.
A single workout might be: jump squat, floor press, plank, alternating lunge, pull-up, and ab rollouts. These exercises would be done according to a set up determined by what style of training we’re doing.
Doing this keeps the workouts fresh, the client motivated, and the training stimulus both challenging and varied enough to ensure consistent progress.
For my athletes looking to drop fat, I go to my Hurricane Training. Of the five categories, my favorite version utilizes a treadmill and simple weight exercises.
Do a 30 second sprint on the treadmill at 10% grade and about 10 mph (or whatever is comfortable), followed by 10 reps each of two weight exercises like the bench press and barbell curls. Then, you jump right back onto the treadmill and sprint again. The sprints and two lifts are repeated three times to equal one “round.” Rest one minute between rounds and perform two to three more rounds with two new exercises between the sprints.
Good choices are high pulls, chin ups, triceps pushdowns, and push jerks. Keep the intensity high and not only will you lose fat, you’ll gain some muscle too!
For fat loss, I like total body strength training workouts with “finishers” at the end. I believe that the Airdyne and Prowler are the two greatest pieces of equipment for fat loss.
With the Airdyne, you’re using your upper body pushing and pulling muscles and your legs to pedal the bike as fast as possible. I like alternating intervals of 20 seconds fast and 40 seconds slow.
With the Prowler, you’re using your lower body to push the sled while contracting your upper body and core muscles for transfer into the sled. I like 30-meter sprints with the Prowler with 60 seconds of rest in-between sets.
An important caveat to these two activities is that there isn’t too much technique to them; any healthy, somewhat athletic individual can do them.
It’s more of a technique than a routine. It’s called “put the fork down.” There’s also the advanced version called “stop eating, you fat bastard!” But in all seriousness, there are a few routines that I used when I was training athletes that were always very effective.
This one was a “favorite” of one of my hockey players who played in Europe. Back in 2001, he started the summer at 195lbs and 12% body fat, and ended the summer at 192 and 6% body fat; all without any particular attention to his diet.
A1. Power snatch from hang: 3 reps using around 70-75% of your maximum.
A2. Sprint 200m: (basically 100m, turnaround, 100m back to the starting point).
A3. Power clean: 3 reps with the same weight you used for the snatches.
He started at two sets, and by the end of summer was able to do 14. No, I’m not kidding; but he was also the freakiest overall athlete I’ve ever worked with. Besides him, the most anyone ever did was 8, with three minutes between sets.
If you’re training indoors and can’t do sprints, do burpees (15 reps) or sprint stair climbing (30 seconds).
For fat loss, fast full body exercises are best since they create a large metabolic demand. I’ve used the following sequence for years with clients that need to lose fat and build athleticism.
Start with 50 revolutions of rope jumping, then drop the rope and perform two burpees (a squat thrust with a push-up, and be sure to jump in the air and reach overhead).
Next, do 50 revolutions and four burpees. Then, it’s 50 revolutions and six burpees. Keep adding two burpees each time until you each 10. At that point, decrease the burpees by two each time and work your way back to 50 revolutions and two burpees.
This is an excellent way to finish up your fat burning workout to bring out those “hidden abs.”
Dr. Clay Hyght
All of my fat loss clients that have access to a Step Mill (aka Gauntlet) do a killer 20-minute HIIT routine on it.
Warm-up two minutes, then go ALL OUT for 30 seconds (skipping a step with each stride), followed by 60 seconds at a normal pace (normal single steps). Repeat 12 times. Five of these sessions per week will get you lean FAST!
If someone wants to lose weight and will do anything I tell them, I have them get up earlier in the morning and do a brisk 30-60 minute incline walk before breakfast.
Most people should start out walking at 4 mph with a 2% incline for 30 minutes, and try to work up to 4.5 mph with a 4.5% incline for 45 minutes in a couple of months. Do this four or more times a week and you’ll get leaner, guaranteed.
The beauty of walking is you can put it in your regular routine and you won’t overtrain; in fact, you’ll probably recover even better. You can also do this walk after your workout or before bed if necessary, but I do think fasted in the AM is the number one choice for it.
Fat loss training is about maintaining muscle, burning calories and cranking up metabolism. The best programs have always used a combination of weight training and some kind of cardio or interval training (with solid nutrition planning).
However, the fastest training method that I’ve used (with several hundred clients) is a hybrid that we call metabolic resistance training (MRT). Basically, it’s higher rep, density based, short rest-period resistance training.
The usual argument about high reps not working for fat loss is bullshit. Traditional interval training (e.g. running) has always worked for fat loss and that uses VERY high reps! MRT is just taking that same principle and using more muscle than traditional cardio while doing lower reps (albeit still high).
Think higher rep (or about 45-60s work), superset or tri-set style with incomplete rest periods.
I’m with Coach Robertson, my favorite fat loss exercise is Table Pushaways. Most people just eat too much and need to push themselves away from the table with greater frequency.
The old saying that you can’t out train a bad diet is so true. I tell my clients seeking to lose fat to forget the word meal and substitute the word “feeding”; five to six small feedings a day is the key. Combine Table Pushaways with Airdyne intervals and you have a pretty good start on fat loss. For intervals, try riding a half mile for time on the AirDyne at a 2-1 rest to work ratio, or better yet, use a HR monitor and just rest until your heart-rate goes under 120 BPM.
But first and foremost, fat loss is primarily a psychological exercise, and requires more mental strength than physical strength.
Are people really this confused? Fat loss doesn’t have to be complicated. Push something heavy: a Prowler, a truck, a shopping cart loaded with a couple of your fat fucking friends, it doesn’t matter. Run up hills or stadium stairs. Do this four to seven days a week. Lift four days/week.
Eat less, type less, and train like you have a fight. Repeat.
First off, the only thing that separates a fat loss exercise from a conditioning exercise is the diet. So, if you’re trying to lose fat, tighten up the diet!
One of my personal favorite fat loss exercises are good old fashioned 300-yard shuttle runs performed at the end of a workout, two to three times per week. Depending upon your available space inside or outside, place two cones either 25-yards or 50-yards apart.
Sprint as fast as possible, completing six 25-yard round trips or three 50-yard round trips for a total of 300 yards. This should take you roughly one minute to complete. Perform two to five 300’s per workout, resting three to five minutes between sets.
Be warned, until you adapt to it, this workout will have your legs feeling like over-cooked spaghetti. Exorcist-inspired projectile vomiting is also a common side-effect, so please be kind to the guy who owns the gym and adjust your pre-workout food choices accordingly.
My favorite fat loss routine combines German Body Composition Training and a ketogenic diet.
For all you fat sum-bitches, follow a 4-day Poliquin GBC program such as the following:
|A1)||Trap Bar Deadlift||4-5||4-6||30X1||60 sec|
|A2)||Sternum Chin-up- supinated grip||4-5||4-6||2010||60 sec|
|3 mins after circuit|
|B2)||Dips – Chest||3-4||8-12||30X1||60 sec|
|3 mins after circuits|
|C1)||Glute-Ham Raise||2-3||6-8||30X0||45 sec|
|C2)||Seated DB Shoulder Press||2-3||6-8||30X1||45 sec|
|C3)||Cuban Press||2-3||6-8||30X1||60 sec|
|A1)||Javorek Wave Squats||4||(5,5,5,5)||10X1||60 sec|
|A2)||Hanging Leg raise||4||6-10||2010||60 sec|
|3 mins after circuit|
|B1)||Incline Thick Bar Press||3-4||4-6||30X1||60 sec|
|B2)||Pull-Up-Pronated, close-grip||3-4||6-8||2010||60 sec|
|B3)||Drop Lunge-front||3-4||6-8||X0X0||60 sec|
|3 mins after circuit|
|C1)||One-Arm Cable Row-offset stance||3-4||6-8||21X1||45 sec|
|C2)||Reverse Hip Extension||3-4||6-8||2010||45 sec|
|C3)||Low Pulley Upright row||3-4||8-10||30X1||45 sec|
Combine this with a ketogenic diet such as Dr. Mauro DePasquale’s Metabolic Diet.
I have personally lost up to 10lbs of fat in less than a month on this type of regimen with no loss of strength or muscle mass. I have many clients who’ve achieved similar results.
Well, first off, no one can out train a lack of diet consistency for fat loss.
Next, people are too concerned with the “immediate” aspects of fat burning, as in calories burning, rather than the cumulative effects of application and diet. And yes, circuits are great, but they can take people too far away from muscle-development work.
I have dozens of finisher type moves that are strategically placed once or twice per week in programs to enhance fat burning, while not adding too much time, or too much unrelated work. I’ve paid special attention to other sports and have noticed what I call “sequential activation” as a common thread in leaner athletes’ training. I’ve since been implementing various new versions around this concept.
Check out the following two examples at the right: the Shoulder Girdle Core Sequence and Power Sequence, which are samples that can be used after a workout, within a training block to pronounce fat burning.
Although what you do in the kitchen remains king, there are a few things you can do in the gym to strip away fat.
Fat loss is a psychological war, not physical.
Keep telling yourself she finds chubby guys attractive.
Training like a fighter is never a bad idea.
You don’t need to get to a crowded gym to get your heart rate up.
The Power Sequence
The Shoulder Girdle Blast
I’ve worked with lots of athletes over the years with the issues I just described, and I’ve found alternative exercises that helped them get bigger and stronger. I’m able to do this with a concept I call joint-friendly lifting.
Joint-friendly lifts are simply creative variations that aren’t as hard on the joints as their traditional counterparts. They allow serious lifters and athletes to work around their limitations without compromising the results they get from their training.
Before I get into the specific exercises, I want to wave the obligatory caution flag: Before switching out the tried-and-true lifts for the ones I show here, make sure the aches and pains you have aren’t caused by suboptimal exercise technique, poor program design, or too much training with too little recovery.
I also want to mention an article I wrote a few months ago called “Making Gains with Pain.” Today’s article shows you how to work around your pain and limitations. The earlier piece shows you how to alleviate that pain. I know I’m biased, but I recommend it as a complement to the one you’re about to read.
The kettlebell folks have popularized the pistol squat (shown below). But I rarely use pistols with my athletes, especially those with back pain related to disc problems, since they force a lot of unnecessary spinal flexion. Also, pistols don’t allow the glutes to activate as much as the variation shown above due to the position of the torso. Glute activation is important, since it helps reduce the load on the spine and increases stabilization of the knee joint.
The best way to add load to a one-legged squat is to put on a weight vest. This will increase the intensity of the exercise without adding stress to your bad back.
I absolutely love sled training. I use it with just about everyone who walks through our doors. It’s especially valuable for those who have knee problems and those who have back trouble. I’ve found these athletes can move heavy loads on the sled with no added stress on their painful areas.
My favorite sled exercises:
Sled dragging with the hand position shown in the photo below is much safer than using a waist or shoulder harness for people who have back issues. Be sure to maintain good spinal alignment, and don’t allow your arms to move away from your sides.
This is a great way to blast your quads if you have knee problems and can’t do squats, lunges, or leg extensions. It’s also a valuable exercise for knee rehab, thanks to the terminal knee-extension action it requires.
No sled? No problem — just get a big tire from a junkyard.
I’m not saying tire flips are a bad exercise. But I am predicting that many of the people who do them will end up paying for some back surgeon’s new Porsche. There are no bad exercises, just bad applications.
This is another of our go-to exercises for building strength and increasing work capacity without putting excess stress on the knees and backs of our athletes.
You want to keep your back straight, with your hips more or less level to your shoulders. Athletes with bad backs need to be especially cognizant of their back position, maintaining a neutral spine and avoiding spinal flexion as they step forward.
For building strength, stack up a sled and push it for 20 to 40 yards. To improve conditioning, use a plate push (as shown above) for 50 to 100 yards.
As with sled dragging, this is another exercise we use with almost everyone we train. But it’s especially valuable for athletes and clients who need posterior-chain work but can’t do the traditional hip-extension exercises.
Hold as much weight as you can without discomfort on top of your shin, as shown below.
The movement is straightforward. With the heel of your working leg on a bench or step, contract your glutes and hamstrings to elevate your hips off the floor, until your body forms a straight line from the knee of your working leg to your shoulders. Do all your reps with that leg, then switch.
By limiting the range of motion, the floor press also limits stress on the injured shoulder. Many of our athletes who experience pain during and after bench presses find they can floor press big weights without discomfort.
The reason it works for people who can’t perform overhead lifts is simple: It’s not overhead. It allows heavy loads and, as a bonus, requires the core muscles to control and resist rotation throughout the range of motion.
This is, as you probably guessed, the pulling version of the angled shoulder press. And like that exercise, it forces your core muscles to work as you struggle to stay upright as the weight pulls you forward. Execution is simple enough: stand in front of the lat-pulldown station and pull the bar to your upper chest.
You’ve heard this one hundreds of times: “Train smarter, not harder.” In my opinion, the saying should be updated to this: “Train smarter and harder.”
If you currently suffer from back, knee, and/or shoulder pain, you have no choice but to train smarter than the average lifter in your gym. But you also need to train harder to recover from your injury, and to prevent a recurrence. With joint-friendly lifts, it’s possible to do both.
But even if you have no injuries, joint-friendly lifts are a pretty good way to help you maintain that winning streak. Not only are they easier on your most vulnerable joints, they provide new, interesting, and challenging ways to build muscle and improve your strength, athleticism, and work capacity.
Assuming, of course, you’re interesting in that sort of thing…