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December 10, 2009 / Angela McCuiston

Need something to kick your own butt in 10 minutes?

Cardio can be really boring.  I mean, really, who wants to spend the better part of an hour on a machine staring at a screen?  Even if you’re on a bike outside, or walking or running, if the scenery isn’t great, it’s easy to get bored.  And if you’re like me and you like to try new things, well, meet my new thing…

bodyweight circuits.

These are in no way new to the world.  Heck, I did them at Basic Training for the Army and didn’t realize it.  We would go outside and set ourselves up in stations: jumping jacks, mountain climbers, skiiers, full situps, crunches, pushups, diamond pushups, squats, military presses, and anything else the drill sergeants could think of.

Well, bodyweight circuits make a great substitute for cardio, and a good sub for HIIT, or High Intensity Interval Training.  If you don’t know what that is, basically, you run all out for a brief period of time, recover, repeat, puke. 🙂   HIIT has been proven time and time again to be a better cardio choice than steady state cardio for upping caloric expenditure, especially, post exercise calorie burn, meaning your body will be burning calories at a higher rate for hours later.  What’s not to like about it?

You can do it in about 5 feet of space, with no equipment, anywhere and anytime you want and in 10 minutes you’ll be sufficiently huffing and puffing and dripping, if you really give it your all.  What’s not to like?

It’s really hard!
Here’s the Crazy 8 Bodyweight Circuit I did twice this week by Craig Ballyntine.  You can see the original here: http://fitnessblackbook.com/workout-routines/body-weight-circuits-are-kickin-my-butt/

In fact, he has a ton of bodyweight videos on his Turbulence Training website here: http://fitnessblackbook.com/recommends/turbulence-training-videos

So here was my circuit today:

  1. 60 Jumping Jacks: Done as fast as possible, but make sure you do full jumping jacks.
  2. 15-20 Spiderman Pushups: I’m just doing normal pushups until they become too easy. Typically it is a breeze for me to do 40+ pushups, but it is much tougher when you do these with zero rest in between jumping jacks.
  3. Walking Lunges: I take 20 steps total. This is the easiest part of the workout in my opinion.
  4. Spiderman Climb: I do a total of 20 of these (10 per side) I really feel these in my abs and obliques.
  5. Wall Squat: Do for 45-60 seconds. This hurts! Don’t rest your hands upon your legs, since it makes it easier.
  6. Planks: Do for 60 seconds. Tough after doing all these other exercises without rest.
  7. 5 Burpees: Make sure and do a full pushup at the bottom and explode as high as pssible at the top into a jump. I’m still kind of uncoordinated with these…probably because I’m “smoked” at this point!
  8. High Knees: Done as fast as possible. Do 50 total. I just count when my right leg hits the ground for 25. It is hard to count both legs for 50 since you are going fast. You will be dying about 1/2 way through.

Notes: Each exercise is done back-to-back with zero rest in between. You will want to rest, but immediately hit the next exercise. After this 8 exercise circuit is done, rest exactly 60 seconds. I usually run over to the microwave and set the timer. Those 60 seconds will feel like 15-20 seconds. Do this circuit 1 more time. Don’t add in the 3rd one until you are ready.

I Felt Like a Chain-Smoker After My 2nd Circuit!

I simply was not in good enough shape to complete the 3rd circuit my first 2 times doing this routine. I was breathing hard and my body was zapped. My skin was hot to the touch. These are all great signs of a great interval workout, but I just couldn’t push myself to do this circuit a 3rd time. Again…I have pride when it comes to being fit. I can max out a treadmill for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of walking and continue this pace for 15-20 minutes. This is after lifting heavy weights. That being said, these body weight circuits are a humbling deal.

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2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Imerson / Dec 11 2009 6:42 AM

    Have you heard of FitDeck Mobile? It basically creates a bodyweight circuit for you. It has over 50 bodyweight exercises which are shuffled to make a new workout every time you use it on your mobile phone.

  2. Kris O'Connor @Krazy_Kris / May 15 2011 11:02 AM

    Love this! I have the attention span of a small rodent, so I’m always looking for things to mix it up – w equipment or without – and I LOVE combining resistance & cardio – it is so much more efficient! Thanks so much for the link – I’ll give this one a go!

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