The Ton up Circuit
Most workouts are controlled in a similar way – using a prescribed number of sets, reps and recovery periods. There is nothing wrong with this but it does mean that, in many cases, the main workout variable is the exercises selected. In this workout, all traditional set and rep schemes are done away with and instead, we’ll be using a system called self –regulation. In simple terms, this means YOU, the exerciser, will decide what order you perform your exercises in and how many repetitions you perform of each exercise per set.
The aim of this workout is to perform 100 repetitions of each of the following exercise in the shortest time possible. All repetitions must be performed with good technique but other than that, you are free to choose how you get through the workout. So long as, by the end, you have completed all 100 reps of each exercise, you have successfully finished the workout.
The five exercises are follows…
- Press ups
- Bent knee sit ups
- Squat thrusts
Work your way through the allocated 100 repetitions any way you can. Try to move from one exercise to the next as quickly as possible and perform the exercises in such an order that one exercise provides an active rest from the previous one. For example:
5 burpees, 10 press ups, 25 squats, 15 sit ups, 5 burpees, 20 squat thrusts, 10 press ups, 10 sit ups, etc.
Keep chipping away at the rep targets in any order you like until all 100 reps are completed. On completion, note your time and try to beat it when you next repeat the workout.
To help you keep track of your exercise performance, here is a handy chart you can use to record your reps as you are going along…
The exercises listed above have been selected because they deliver great results without the need for los of space or equipment. I’ve performed this workout in hotel rooms, car parks, my spare room and even on a Navy ship in the Irish sea! If, however, you want to make any substitutions then please do so but remember swapping a hard exercise for an easier one simply reduces the effectiveness of the workout!
Exercise Descriptions and Tips
A No-Frills favourite – the humble burpee works just about every muscle in your body and will also crank your heart rate up to stratospheric heights! In terms of exercise effectiveness and efficiency, the burpee is hard to beat!
How to Perform: Stand with your hands by your sides and your feet together. Squat down and place your hands in front of your feet. Jump your legs to the rear and perform a single chest to the floor press up. Jump your feet back up to your hands and then leap high into the air. Land on slightly bent knees and repeat.
Tips: Leave out the press up and/or jump for a less intense version of the burpee.
The king of upper body exercises, the mighty press up is the most commonly performed exercise on earth. Just make sure you do them correctly…!
How to Perform: Place your hands on the floor with your fingers pointing forwards and around shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back so your shoulders, hips and feet form a straight line. Tense your core to ensure your spine remains immobile throughout. Bend your arms and lower your chest to lightly touch the floor. No touch means no rep! Push back up to full arm extension and repeat.
Tips: Bend your legs and rest your knees on the floor for a less demanding version of the press up.
Bent knee sit ups
This out of vogue exercise is often overlooked in favour of more “functional “ abdominal exercises but that doesn’t mean it has lost any of its effectiveness.
How to Perform: Lie on your back with your legs bent, your feet flat on the floor and your heels around 12 inches/30 centimetres from your glutes. Place your hands on your temples. Sit up until your elbows reach and lightly touch your knees. Lie back down and repeat.
Tips: Do NOT pull on your head as this can lead to neck injuries. Place your hands on the sides of your head or, if you must, hold your earlobes to avoid the temptation to pull with your arms.
Lower body exercises don’t come much better than squats. With a barbell they are a champion leg strength exercise and when performed with just bodyweight they develop prodigious muscular endurance. A workout is not a workout without squats!
How to Perform: Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and clasp your hands so they are touching your chin with your elbows point downwards. Push your hips beck, bend your legs and descend until your elbows lightly touch the inside of your knees. This ensures you squat to the correct depth each and every time. Stand back up and repeat.
Tips: Keep your weight on your heels and your chest up to maximise the effectiveness of this exercise. Do not allow your lower back to become rounded at the bottom of the squat. Remember; hips back!
This cardio/core/leg exercise is” old school” through and through but that doesn’t mean it’s not effective!
How to Perform: Adopt the press up position with your shoulders directly over your hands and your legs fully extended. Keeping your feet together, jump slightly, bend your legs and pull your knees up and under your chest. Without pausing, jump and drive your legs out and back to the starting position. This constitutes one repetition. Continue jumping your legs forwards and back for as many reps as desired.
Tips: Keep your hips low and bend your knees rather than lift your hips and keep your knees straighter. Keep your core braced and make sure you jump your knees all the way into your chest and back to full extension each and every rep.
This workout goes to show that you don’t need a lot of equipment, time or space to have a great workout. Oftentimes, when it comes to exercise, plain and simple hard work trumps complex and convoluted –it’s all a matter of application!