DISCLAIMER: This post contains swearing, so be ready for that 🙂
Ever since the new year you’ve made a plan to get started on that beach bod. Except everything else has seemed to be getting in the way and now it’s April, the sun is shining, the weather is warm and panic sets in that the training must commence ASAP! Don’t panic just yet, we still have a couple months before we can jump into the river without freezing to death anyways. This is the perfect opportunity to kick it in to gear and get some results. The first thing we need to clear up is that cardio and abs alone are not going to get you to where you want to be. I’m sorry but it’s the simple truth. Now, rigorous power-lifting isn’t completely necessary either, but we as humans need some sort of laborious strength training to get into optimal shape. If you are currently doing cardio, hitting abs and even hitting the weights, good, keep doing that. Below are 5 circuits of varying difficulty that can easily be implemented into your existing workout to kick your ass a little harder to make some serious gains (not talking about bulking here). I also cannot take credit for several of these workouts (therefore I do not own those workouts) so I will do my best to give where credit is due.
I will start with some of the easier circuits first then move to the harder ones. Also, these are not the official names since they’re relatively made-up so I will make up names for purposes of this post. I would not consider these circuits to be cross fit but you can call it whatever you want. Personally, I like to call them “SHIT” since that is the first thing that comes to mind when I realize that I’m working extra hard by incorporating these into my workout. They are worth it though!
- Cardio Circuit
- 3-Level Kettlebell Swings (below is the video for this workout)
- Battle Rope Variation (30 – 60 seconds)
- Ab Finisher* (ab workout of your choice)
Do these exercises in order with minimal rests in between and repeat 3 – 5 times depending on your physical ability and how “in-shape” you are. After the KB swings, move into battle ropes where you can either rope slam, alternate arms, little (but fast) swings, circles, etc. and finish with a quick ab workout to round out the routine. There should be 10 KB swings (30 since there is 3 levels ;)), battle ropes for 30-60 seconds and, again, abs of your choice.
**Credit for 3-Level KB Swings goes to Brandan Schieppati at Rise Above Fitness.**
2. Body Weight Circuit:
- Walking Lunges
- Body Weight Lunges (last set to failure)
- Push-Up Variation
- Inverted Row Variation
- Plank Variation
Above is a GIF showing how to do inverted rows on rings (it should move when clicked on).
**First, I must give credit to Luke Atchley and his shared workout with Tiger Fitness for this routine. Although it is not in the EXACT order he provided, it is still his routine so credit and thanks are necessary to Luke for sharing such a great workout using nothing but your own body.**
This workout can pretty much be done anywhere at any time since you don’t need any weights. Do each workout and then rest or split it up and do 2-3 (lunges to squats, push-ups to inverted rows, etc.) workouts at a time then rest. Start with 50 walking lunges followed by 25-30 body weight squats then into a push-up variation. This variation can include regular push-ups, diamond push-ups, feet elevated or feet lowered push-ups using a bench. Move into inverted rows either with rings or a bar, and much like the push-ups this will be a variation as well. Either raise the bar, raise your legs, change hand position, etc. Both push-up and inverted row variations should be 15-20 reps. Lastly, move into a plank variation which can include regular plank, side planks, push-up planks, suicide push-ups, or whatever you want to include. The plank variation can vary from 30-60 seconds and the entire circuit should be repeated 4-6 times.
3. Random Power Circuit:
- Kettlebell Swings (for power)
- Jump Rope
- Squat Jumps
- Ab Finisher*
There really isn’t anything special about this circuit other than it needs some stepped up intensity. These are NOT the 3-level KB swings but normal KB swings. The only difference for these KB swings are that you should grab a kettle bell heavier than you would usually go and swing the shit out it to really generate power. DO NOT disregard form and hurt yourself by going too heavy or swinging violently but if these are done properly they will be beneficial for sure. Work up to 20-30 swings before moving on to jump ropes for 100 or 150 jumps. Squat jumps are fairly basic and do not require weight, simply squat low and on the drive up to the top become airborne. 15-20 squat jumps are sufficient before completing the routine with an ab finisher of your choice (at the end of the blog you will find a couple potential ab workouts to use as finishers). The entire circuit must be completed in succession and repeated 3-5 times.
4. All Kettlebell Leg Circuit:
Level: Intermediate – Advanced
- Walking Lunges
- Stiff-Leg Deadlifts (Romanian Deadlifts)
- Decline Deadlifts
- Front-Loaded Plyo Squats
- –Optional– wall sit for 30 sec with or without added weight
Stiff-Leg Deadlifts w/ KB
Front and Side view of Decline Deadlifts w/ KB
Personally, this is my favorite circuit to incorporate into a leg-day workout. This routine is truly an ass-kicker! So much sweat, which means you’re working hard, right?
Grab a pair of Kettlebells that you will be able to do each workout without it being too easy or to the point where you must take a break after each exercise. Start with walking lunges working up to 5-6 reps each leg. Then move into stiff-leg deadlifts (Romanian deadlifts) for 10-12 reps. If your gym does not have a slant board then you improvise with a makeshift slant board or do normal deadlifts with kettlebells (just do more reps). Decline deadlifts should also be 10-12 reps before moving into front-loaded plyo squats. Simply set the kettlebells on your shoulder similar to a front squat and perform a squat jump. A good way to begin this circuit without killing yourself is to do 5-6 normal front-loaded squats without jumping followed by 5-6 squats with the jump. Eventually you will want to work up to 10 reps of plyo squats but that will come with time. This circuit is suitable to be repeated 3 or 4 times.
**Credit for the slant board decline deadlifts goes to Brandan Shieppati at Rise Above Fitness** –> this is the link to one of his videos incorporating the slant board deadlifts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8Z4k00UBqQ
5. Hardcore Circuit:
- Prowler Sled
- Battle Rope Slams
- Tire Flips
- Tire Slams w/ sledge hammer
Thank you to Russell Haynie for the photos of the tire!
Unfortunately, the gym I work out at only has one of these pieces of equipment so I was not able to demonstrate the workout for this blog. This circuit really only applies if you have all or some of the equipment needed (Prowler sled, battle ropes, and one big ass tire).
Quick rundown: push the prowler sled with added weight approximately 10-15 yards before moving on to battle rope slams for 30-45 seconds. If you have enough space, perform 10-12 tire flips before grabbing your sledge hammer to perform tire slams. 12-15 slams with each arm taking turns being on top to complete the workout. Repeat 3-5 times.
**Credit for Prowler sled and tire workouts also go to Brandan Schieppati at Rise Above Fitness**
*Examples of Ab finisher workouts:
There you have it. 5 quick circuits in a nutshell. I truly hope these can benefit you in obtaining your goals, or at least becoming that much closer to reaching those goals. The shitty part about circuits is that they take a little extra work. That extra blood, sweat and tears will go a long way and most importantly you will be proud of yourself for accomplishing what you have just done. Lastly, I am going to go out on a limb here and put my social media for anyone to follow and to ask questions about anything fitness related. I know that I am no where near the physique that I want to be or that should be posting socially but I want people to succeed in fitness so I am here for advice or anything. Thank you very much for taking a look, sharing, liking, etc. Let me know what you think. Keep working hard and Happy Training!
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