Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Metabolic Bodyweight Circuits

Are you ready?

Metabolic bodyweight circuits. The name implies sound scientific protocols applied by guys in white
lab coats on subjects hooked up to multiple monitors.

While this may be how we discover the effectiveness, or uselessness of certain exercise modalities, (read: Tabata vs. long slow cardio for the average person,) here we can just say that this is going to be a kick-ass workout that tests your strength-endurance and cardiovascular endurance.

Of course, it will also leave you in that lovely state of EPOC, or excess post exercise oxygen consumption. But don't worry, you'll recover, eventually.

So, on to the B-WOD.


Light jog, you'll need this as a specific dynamic warm-up for what's to come. Aim for ~10 minutes going easy.

Joint rotations. Always, always do mobility exercises. If you need a refresher on this, you can review here.

Circuit 1:

*I recommend having a space at least 15-20 feet long, and outside would be ideal.

  • Leg raises. Plain Jane. Lying on floor, hands at your sides. Do 1, hold in the up position for 3 seconds. Do 2, hold for 6 seconds. Do 3, hold for 9 seconds. See where this is going? Try to make it up to ten. 

(By the way, these are not necessarily scientifically derived multiples of 3, I just happen to know that having to exert muscular strain for longer and longer periods takes serious mental and physical effort.)

If 10 is laughable to you, keep going and do as many as possible. The second you can't raise or hold your legs 8 inches off the ground, jump up and do:

  • Burpees: x10-20 (or 5, scale it to your failure rate.)

Once you've pushed your limit on Burpees, start crawling:

  • Bear Crawl: If you have 15-20 feet, try to make the 2-3 round trips. If you are doing this outside, aim for 25 feet out and 25 back. Again, if you can bear crawl a football field, that's what you do. 

*Keep going until you can't crawl any further.

When you reach the end of your crawling, stop, in a push-up plank that is (you'll be tempted to rest, but don't, you can do this!)

  • Push-up Plank: How long? Beginners could crumble at 10 seconds or less, but if you've ever done more that 2 core sessions involving planks, you should be doing no less that 30 seconds at a time.

  • No sagging pelvis.
  • Tuck the belly up and in.
  • Shoulder blades are engaged, not shrugging.
  • Head neutral.
  • Engage lats by pushing hands hard into the ground and shoulders back until you feel the lats flexing. 
  • **You can switch between pushup planks and elbow planks for this. Just maintain solid form and serious contracting. It is even easier to engage the upper back in the elbow plank by pulling elbows down and back, keeping them on the floor of course. 
The strong athlete can aim for 1-2 minutes, while you elites out there are welcome to go for world records. 

Keep this in mind: If you are contracting everything in the plank, abdominals, glutes, lats, etc., you are not going to last as long as if you just tightened your stomach enough to keep from sagging. 

More effort-less time-stronger core.

Now you can rest, AFTER you repeat this circuit at least 2 more times. Advanced and show-offs, if you are ready for more when you finish 3 rounds, you didn't push hard enough!

Seriously, if you do leg raises/holds until your muscles fail, followed by Burpees to failure, then Bear Crawls and fully contracted planks until you literally drop to the ground, 3 rounds will be enough.
Keep going, you're halfway there.

Circuit 2:

You'll be glad you skipped those extra rounds anyway, because we're not quite done yet. 

This circuit is best done outdoors, but if you have to stay in, use a treadmill or a spin bike.

This is the deal, it's very simple:

After a nice stretch, and about 3-5 minutes rest after Circuit 1, do:

  • 400 meter sprints (or your fastest run at least, unless you're a seasoned track athlete.)
  • BW Squatsx20

Repeat this circuit 4 times. As always, the repetitions are a guideline, if you don't start feeling bodyweight squats until you hit 50, then get to that number and then sprint. If you get to 10 and need help standing up, then that's fine too.

*Also, 400 meters is one lap around a standard collegiate track, or about a 1/4 mile. You don't need to go further if this isn't enough, you need to go harder. You can work on your long distance time trials another day.

Now, if you happen to be lying flat on your back on the ground, I recommend doing some back bridges to stretch out those hip flexors, followed by deep lunge stretches, followed by the Camel posture or Beautiful Thunderbolt if you know your yoga.

That's it! Post your results in the comments below!