If you want to go fast go alone, but if you want to go far go together because there’s plenty of temptation to tap out when you’re circuit training. It’s all too easy to call it a wrap and think you’ve done enough by the end of circuit two, walk out the gym and feel satisfied, but you weren’t even close to your maximum effort and that’s scientifically proven. A paper at Kansas State University found people who teamed up to exercise lasted 160% longer than those who trained alone. It’s part of human nature to believe you can achieve something once you see someone else do it first so if your training partner is hitting that fourth set with 100% intensity, it’s likely you’ll put in the same gargantuan effort and that’s where the progress is made. To show you it’s possible we got two high performance dads, Brandan Fokken and Todd Abrams, to illustrate the best possible high impact workout that can be done in record time so they could get back to their family life commitments. If they can juggle the demands of fatherhood and running their own business while looking incredible, so can you.
What to do
You will complete each exercise with 10-15 reps and move to the next. You will not take a break until after the sixth exercise. From there you get a 60-90 second break and then repeat the circuit 3-5 times based on the amount of time or energy you have left in the tank. Work with a weight you can do for 10-15 reps but a weight that is harder to do as you near the end of the set.
- Seated shoulder press machine (10 -15 reps)
Works: shoulders, abs
- A) Sit on the bench of a seated shoulder press machine with the back pad set to vertical or just below. Hold a handle in each hand so they’re on either side of your head.
- B) Straighten your arms to push the handles above your head. Do not lock your elbows at the top of the movement then slowly lower them to the start position.
- Overhand pull-ups (10 -15 reps)
Works: back, biceps, abs, forearms
- A) Grab the pull-up bar with an overhand grip that’s shoulder-width apart. Hang at arm’s length without letting your body sway.
- B) Bend your elbows to pull yourself up until your chin crosses the plane of the bar. Pause then lower yourself to the start.
- Seated chest press (10 -15 reps)
Works: chest, triceps, shoulders
- A) Sit at a seated chest press machine. Adjust the seat height so the handles pull back in line with the middle of your chest. Grab a handle in each hand with your elbows bent.
- B) Straighten your arms to press the handles away from your body. Don’t completely lock out your elbows at the end of the movement. Pause then slowly lower back to the start position.
- Hamstring curls (10 – 15 reps)
Works: hamstring, glutes
- A) Lie on the hamstring machine with your ankles under the pads and your torso pressed flat on the platform.
- B) Bend your legs to curl the pad up until it touches your glutes. Take 3-4 seconds to lower the pad to the start.
- Leg extensions (10-15 reps)
- A) Sit at a leg extension machine with your ankles tucked under the footpads, back and glutes pressed flush against the seat.
- B) Slowly extend your legs up and forward until they are straight in front of you, but keep your knees unlocked. Pause, then slowly bend your knees until your legs are lowered back down.
- Battle ropes for speed (30 seconds)
Works: shoulders, chest, forearms, core, triceps, biceps, traps
- A) Anchor a heavy battle rope then stand in front of it, taking an end in each hand with your arms extended at your side. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart with knees slightly bent, keeping your back straight.
- B) Start by rapidly raising one arm to shoulder level as quickly as you can. As you let that arm drop to the starting position, raise the opposite side. Continue alternating your left and right arms, whipping the ropes up and down as fast as you can.
- Sled push (30 – 40 yards)
Works: quads, glutes, calves
- A) Load your pushing sled with the desired weight or have your training partner sit on it so they can hurl encouragement as you push them up and down. Crouch down and hold the top of the sled’s handles.
- B) Take an athletic posture, leaning into the sled with your arms fully extended, grasping the handles. Push the sled, focusing on extending your hips and knees to strengthen your posterior chain.