This simple circuit increases your muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, hits your biceps, triceps, quads, glutes, hams AND abs. And it can be done in ten minutes or less!
The only equipment you need for this workout is a pullup bar. IMO this is one of the best investments you can make. You could save the money for this pullup bar by not eating out two nights this week. Investing in YOURSELF and your HEALTH is the best investment you can make. Find it on amazon by clicking here.
Also I highly recommend getting a Kleen Kanteen stainless steel water-bottle you can carry with you everywhere you go and stay hydrated all day. My Kleen Kanteen is never more than five feet from my side haha. Click here to get a Kleen Kanteen on Amazon.
Recommended set/rep scheme for beginners, please hit like to reveal
Pushups should be done with good form. That means your back straight, butt isn’t sticking in the air, and you should go all the way down until your elbows make a 90 degree angle and go all the way up as far as you can without locking out your elbow. Locking out the elbow can damage the joint and should not be done during any lifts(pushups, bench, military press, etc.)
- Beginner: 1-5 reps, on your knees if you need to
- Intermediate: 5-15 reps
- Advanced: 15+ reps
Pullups should be full extension, that means starting from a dead hang on the bar. You should pull yourself up until your chin clears the bar and then let yourself down in a controlled manner. Don’t use any techniques like kipping(swinging your legs and using momentum to carry you up) as kipping defeats the purpose of the pullup and makes it more of a workout for your abs and hips rather than your lats and biceps. The wider your hand grips are, the more you will work your lats(the muscles that make you look like you have a wide back).
- Beginner: Place a chair under the pullup bar and use your feet and legs to help you achieve five pullups, you want to make sure your arms are still dong most of the work and your legs are just helping you a tiny bit
- Intermediate: 1-5 reps
- Advanced: 5+ reps
You should go as low as you can without creating pain. If you’re flexible this might be all the way below parallel. If you’re not, this may be a very short range of motion. It’s okay if you have short range of motion in the beginning, this is something that will develop with time and practice. Squat all the way down and all the way up, focusing on feeling your quads flexing with each repetition and remembering to breathe in and out.
- Beginner: 5-10 squats going as low as you can COMFORTABLY. If you feel pain in your knees, back, or hips do not go any lower.
- Intermediate: 15-20 squats
- Advanced: 20+ squats
Not much to explain here, just do some crunches One note, crunches are much easier on the lower back than situps which is why I prefer to do crunches rather than situps.
- Beginner: 10 reps
- Intermediate: 20 reps
- Advanced: 20+ reps
Flutter kicks not only work your lower abs but also your hip flexors as well. This is a four count exercise. Learn how to do a four count flutter kick here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl_1l1WPb9M
- Beginner: 5 four count repetitions
- Intermediate: 15 four count repetitions
- Advanced: 20+ four count repetitions
Progression and intensity
The idea with this circuit is to do it continuously, moving from one exercise to the next. Done correctly this will keep your heart rate between 150 and 180 beats per minute, or the same effect as a medium intensity jog. So you’re not only working almost every major muscle group in your body, you’re also getting all the benefits of medium intensity cardio. Believe it or not if you do this circuit 20 minutes a day for three months you could run three miles in under 20 minutes without EVER incorporating ANY running training into your program.
Reps and Sets
You want to choose reps that are between 15 and 20% of your maximum effort. For example I can do about 80 pushups without stopping, so 20% of 80 is 16. I choose to do 15 pushups per set. The 20% is a good baseline, but you should play around with the numbers. The idea here is to be able to finish an entire workout without completely fatiguing your muscles. If, for example, you tried to do 50 pushups per set then by your 2nd or 3rd set your muscles would hit failure and you wouldn’t be able to do very many pushups at all. That is not our goal, the goal is to maintain a intermediate level of intensity, and this is actually a BETTER way to increase your maximum pushups, pullups, and situps/crunches than trying to do as many as you can each set.
How many sets you do depends on the time you have, your desired level of fitness, and your current level of fitness. Personally when I do this workout I will run for a mile, do 15 pushups, 5 pullups, 15 squats, 15 crunches, and 10 flutter kicks for 20 sets, equaling out to 300 pushups, 100 pullups, 300 squats, 300 crunches, and 200 flutter kicks, and then finish with another light mile jog. But my goal is to score 120 pushups/120 situps and run a 12:30 two mile on my next Army PT test. You should adjust this workout based on your goals and fitness levels. For someone starting out a good workout is just to do this for 15 minutes and get as many sets in as you can, document it, and then beat that number during your next workout.