Mini Circuit Program

Mini Circuit Program

Only have 20-30 minutes 2 – 3x/wk for exercise? This is the program to help you lose bodyfat and increase fitness.

Day One
Outline (Example Exercise)
1a. Combo Lift (Squat – Bi Curl – Shoulder Press)
b. Bridge (Prone Bridge w/ Y Reach)
c. Combo Lift (Cable Squat – Row)
d. Abdominal Crunch (Bicycle Crunch)
e. Balance (Single Leg Balance Eyes Closed)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (2 min Bear Crawl 10 yds – Crab Walk 10 yds – Run 10 yds)

2a. Combo Lift (Push Up – Row)
b. Bridge (Side Bridges w/Abduction)
c. Combo Lift (MB RDL – Dead Lift – Overhead Squat)
d. Abdominal (Standing BB Russian Twist)
e. Shoulder PreHab (Bodyblade Sagittal Plane 90˚ Abduction)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (SMR Latissimus Dorsi)

Day Two
Outline (Example Exercise)
1a. Combo Lift (SL RDL to Row)
b. Bridge (Supine Bridge Elbows on Bench)
c. Combo Lift (Cable Split Squat – Chest Press)
d. Core (Cable Lift)
e. Balance (Single Leg Balance Triangles)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (SMR ITBand)

2a. Combo Lift (Pull up – Hanging Ab)
b. Draw In (Dead Bugs)
c. Combo Lift (Double Leg Hip Lift – DB Chest Press)
d. Core (Cable Chop)
e. Power Lift (Push Press)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (60 second Jump Rope)

Exercises performed in succession (i.e. set of A, set of B, set of C, D, E, SMR/Cardio Agility…repeat). All exercises in each group performed with no time between.

Sets: 2-4
Reps: 6-10 (strength/power), 8-12 (general fitness, bodyfat decrease)
Frequency: 2-4 days/week (must alternate days)

Tri Set Program

Great Program to Lose Fat/Get in Better Shape

Day One
Program Outline (Example Exercise)
1a. Vertical Pull (Chin Up)
b. Squat Variation (BB Front Squat)
c. Prone Bridge (Double Arm/Leg)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (30 second each SMR ITBand)

2a. Vertical Push (Single Leg Standing Shoulder Press)
b. Hamstring Hip Variation (Roman Chair Hip Extension)
c. Supine Bridge (Double Leg/Shoulder Blades on Swiss Ball)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (60 second Jump Rope)

3a. Vertical Pull (Alternating Extended Lat Pulldown)
b. Squat Variation (BB Back Squat)
c. Side Bridge (Double Leg on floor)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (30 second each SMR Piriformis)

4a. Vertical Push (Handstand Push up)
b. Hamstring Bent Leg Variation (Double Leg Hip Lift)
c. Calf/Lower Leg (SL Calf Raise or Toe Raise)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (60 second Slide Board)

Day Two
1a. Horizontal Pull (Inverted Row)
b. Abdominal Crunch (Ab Roller)
c. Single Leg Squat Variation (Step Up)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (30 second each SMR Pectoralis Major)

2a. Horizontal Push (Foot Elevated Push Up)
b. Spinal Extension (Back Extension on Swiss Ball)
c. Hamstring Bent Leg Variation (Leg Curl to Hip Lift on Swiss Ball)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (60 Second Stair Stepper or Step Mill)

3a. Horizontal Pull (Standing BB Row)
b. Quadrupeds (Opposite Arm/Leg on floor)
c. Single Leg Squat Variation (Kettlebell Split Squat)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (30 second each SMR Lateral Gastrocnemius)

4a. Horizontal Push (DB Alternating Extended Bench on Swiss Ball)
b. YTWL (Prone on Floor)
c. Hamstring Hip Variation (RDL)
*SMR or Cardio/Agility Interval (60 second Rowing Machine)
Exercises performed in succession (i.e. set of A, set of B, set of C, SMR/Cardio Agility…repeat). All exercises in each group performed with no time between.

Exercises performed in succession (i.e. set of A, set of B, set of C, SMR/Cardio Agility…repeat). All exercises in each group performed with no time between.

Sets: 2-4
Reps: 6-10 (strength/power), 8-12 (general fitness, bodyfat loss)
Frequency: 2-4 days/week (must alternate days)

It’s Simple: Stop Resting/Work Harder/Do More Table Pushaways

“I’ve been walking 3x/week for 3 hours and I can’t lose any weight.”

“I lift weights for 1 1/2 hours – 2 hours 4x/week and I can’t gain any muscle or get definition.”

You think I’m kidding, but people actually tell me this stuff. And here’s the kicker…they’re not lying. This is the truth.

As you well know by now (hopefully), the main issue with Americans gaining weight and having a variety of cardiovascular related disease issues is that we eat too much and don’t exercise enough. It’s not really rocket science. The equation hasn’t changed much over the past decade:

Burn More Calories than consumed/day = Weight/Bodyfat Loss

Consume More Calories than Burned/day = Weight/Bodyfat Gain*
*this is in the absence of hypertrophy-type exercise

What about all the hormonal issues, genetic and metabolic issues that people are dealing with that may lead to weight gain? Yes, they exist, but I think we have been putting a bit too much emphasis on those issues over the last couple years. If you’re following the above equation and can’t lose bodyfat, then go to your physician and get a physical to find out if, in fact, you do have something medically that must be dealt with. Otherwise…get to work.

So what’s with “Stop Resting/Work Harder/Do More Table Pushaways?”

First, let’s agree that everyone has the same 24 hours/day. So be honest and decide what is realistic for you to achieve with health/performance goals with the time you have to spend. If your goals are out of balance with the time available, you either need to sacrifice time in other areas so you can use it for exercise or modify your goals to match your time. Now let’s get down to it.

1. Rest Less = Burn More
I love it when I see people in the health club sitting around reading the paper in between sets, or even when they are doing cardio. Then the same person makes one of those statements up above. Anyone home? Of course you can’t hit your goals…you’re wasting too much time.

Mistake #1: Most people rest too much in the gym. It is more beneficial to rest less and work more in the gym.

When you’re in the gym, stop resting. The goal is to burn calories to create that caloric deficit (and increase Excess Post Exercise Oxygen Consumption…but that’s for another blog). You’re not in high school anymore. You’re not not trying to become Mr. Olympia (I hope). So stop worrying about how much you can bench or how big your biceps are (in truth, nobody really cares anyway). Use your “rest time” effectively. I hate it when people tell me they don’t have time for core or cardio or balance training or corrective exercise work. YES YOU DO! Do it during your down time.

Instead of doing what I call a Straight Set routine (do a set of reps, rest, repeat), start doing Tri Sets or Mini Circuit workouts.

Tri Set = 3 exercises in a row
(see Tri Set Routine blog for examples)

Mini Circuit = 4 – 6 exercises in a row
(see Mini Circuit Routine blog for examples)

By the way, if you’re holding on to the handles on the cardio machine for dear life, you’re not burning more calories…you just beating the heck out of your joints.

2. Work Harder
Another favorite statement is the “I do cardio for 3 hours everyday” claim. If it’s actually true…great. But if you’re not seeing results…not great.

Mistake # 2: Putting in the time but not the effort to burn enough calories (and see results).

If you do one of the workouts I just recommended, chances are your intensity will automatically go up. But, it is still important to to simply work harder. If you are working at intensities that do not challenge you to a level of fatigue, you’re probably not working hard enough. This is true of resistance training and cardiorespiratory activity. No challenge = Body has Adapted = Less Calories Expended = Less Results.

If you put the concepts of Work Harder and Rest Less together, you should get the idea of more workout density. That is what you want…more bang for you buck…more calories burned in less time.

3. Table Pushaways
Can’t take credit for this one. Got this idea from Mike Boyle (Nationally Renowned Strength & Conditioning Coach). Here’s the final deal: if you want to get in caloric deficit to lose bodyfat, it is a lot easier to NOT eat 500 calories/day than to eat it and have to BURN an extra 500 calories/day.

Why? Takes one decision not to eat 500 calories. Takes about 30-60 minutes (depending on exercise intensity) to burn off 500 calories.

So do some table pushaways and don’t eat as much. Eat 5-6 smaller, balanced macronutrient meals each day.


Here’s an invitation to all of you in cyber-land.

Often times I am asked questions over the phone or face to face regarding training and nutrition. While there’s no doubt it is easier to answer questions that way, many times the questions are similar from person to person. Long term it is more time-efficient for me to answer some of these questions via a post here on the blog so that others can be referred to it.

So here is an open door for you. If you’ve got a training/nutrition question you’d like answered…drop me an email or post a comment here on the blog.


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