You may be getting tired of running, or let’s face it, maybe you never wanted to run in the first place. But with warmer weather and beach season on the horizon, now is not the time to give up on a New Year’s resolution that struggled to survive this long winter.
Luckily, there are other options that can generate positive results without the time or distance that a running workout demands. The key to getting any good fat-burning workout is to engage in activities that require maximum oxygen consumption. Put simply, the more oxygen-demanding your workout is, the more fat-burning results you will see. I’ve created a body weight circuit for my Revolution players that even fitness beginners can try. It will yield results comparable to, if not better than, running. This circuit is a series of four different movements, each with a slow component, followed by an “explosive” version of the movement.
1. Do 10 normal squats, then five squat jumps: Explode out of the squat position into a jump, and land in a squat.
2. Ten pushups: Based on your own fitness level, you can adjust this by going to your knees, or elevating your hands on blocks, a park bench or even a window sill. The higher your hands are elevated, the easier this exercise becomes. Then do five explosive versions of this — again, based on your own skill level, this may be as minor as pushing up as fast as you can, or as advanced as clapping in between pushups.
3. After the pushups, move into 10 lunges, followed by five split jumps: From lunge position, jump up and switch feet in the air, landing in a lunge on the opposite leg.
4. Row back for ten reps: The final part of this circuit is the only one that requires equipment; you can use PVC tubing or a set of rings. Row back for ten reps. Finish by standing straight, lift your right leg up, reach your right hand to your left toes and snap up quickly yet controlled. Do five sets of this, switch sides and repeat.
The great thing about this exercise circuit is that every muscle group is firing, giving you a total body workout. I prefer this to running, because while running uses arm movement, most muscle engagement is from the core down at best. This circuit can also be tailored to your fitness level through the number of repetitions you do.
These exercises will increase in your body’s ability to burn fat long after you finish your workout. With running, you may burn fat an hour or so after your workout, but by doing either of these circuits that only require 10-12 minutes. This circuit provides a fat burn benefit up to 16–48 hours after you finish, depending on the intensity level of your session. The small amount of time required for these exercises, paired with the extended benefits make each of these a great option for people who don’t have an hour and a half to go jogging but are still looking for similar results.
For beginners: Get through one round of it as fast as you can without sacrificing good form- at Gillette we have a board in the gym where we keep track of each player’s times. It gets a little competitive between guys, but also with themselves, they are always striving to beat their own record. When you get competitive with yourself, you fuel the fire to improve.
Intermediate level: Try doing the circuit two or three times for speed; again, don’t sacrifice form. Sloppy workouts are not only far less effective, they are also very dangerous — it makes no sense to risk an injury in the name of improving health.
For serious athletes: Do this circuit in descending ladder. This is what I have the Revs players do; for the first round, go through it as written: 10 reps of the slower component followed by five of the explosive movement, through each exercise. Then start again doing eight reps of the slow, and five explosive, and work your way through each circuit with six, then four, and finally two reps, still doing five reps of the quicker moves each time.
An additional exercise routine for regular gym-goers involves a barbell, but can be subbed out for PVC piping, wooden rods or whatever you have available- just be sure to keep the weight of the bar at or below half of your own body weight. This series of exercises transitions quickly and smoothly, each new lift starting where the other ended.
1. Ten deadlifts
2. From ending the final rep of those, move to 10 Romanian deadlifts: Lift from the floor, hinging at the waist, then stand up straight with the bar reaching hip height, finish these reps bent over
3. From the bent position, do 10 reps of rowing the bar to your chest
4. Ten hang cleans: Stand up with the bar resting on hips, rock hips back and then push forward as you bring the bar up to your chin, resting on your palms. Do 10 reps, and finish with the bar under your chin
5. While the bar rests on your palms under your chin, do 10 squats
6. Slightly bend your knees, and do 10 overhead presses. You will want to tilt your head back so you don’t smoke yourself in the face with the bar
7. Finish with 10 squats after resting the bar behind your head onto your shoulders