Circuit Training / Right Volume?

J9R4W

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Hi all,

I’d like to hear if I’m on the right track with my gym training. After posting here Dec and realizing I've been over-training, I’ve dialed my training back a bit to where I do three 'leg days' per week on Mon, Wed, Fri which I usually do as x2 runs and x1 weighted leg day. So these workouts are on Tue(1), Thurs(2), Sat(3) with a rest day on Sunday.

1) Either PJFT mock or usually this as circuit:
Pull-up 7,8,8
Sit-up (unfixed) 25,35,30
Press-up 12,12,12
Plank 60,90,60 (sec)

2) Weights session:
Bench press 3 sets of 10
Weighted vest pull-ups + press-ups 5x5
Rows 3x10
Tricep pushdowns 3x10
Chin-ups 5x5
Face pulls 3x15
Sit ups 3x30

(3) Bodyweight circuit modeled on 'Circuit 2' from RM website.
Pull up 7,8,7
Sit up 20,20,20
press-up 12,12,12
Hill climbs 25,25,25 (each leg up)
Crunches 7,8,8 (From laying out flat to elbow-to-knee)
Wide Press-up 7,8,8
Oblique crunch 18,18,18
Plank 60,60,60

I'm wondering if I've got the balance right and I'd like to see if I should carry on with this or if this needs changing. My current PRMC scores to the beep are:

Pull-up 12
Sit-up 85
Press-up 33(!) ((needs improving))

I do the weights session as I find it's good for building strength. I'm 6'2" 70kg and am naturally tall/skinny/weak and I've found that by training w/ my bodyweight alone I hit a plateau and tend to pick-up tendinitis issues in elbows from where I think I basically lack strength. I'm not certain on this though, it's just my guess so any feedback on that would also be good to hear.

Thanks
 

thirdtry

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Personally I don't think it's enough volume or intensity. Have a look at some of the sessions some of us share in the "Your Last Session/Workout" thread.

I try to base most of mine on the Instagram page Grizz_Phys, either directly doing their sessions or adapting them based on available equipment.

The best way to get those press-ups up is sheer volume and doing them in sets of 12 isn't going to do anything. Also bare in mind intensity, most of those sessions are very balanced and deliberate 'constructive' sessions which do have a place but there's no full-on breathing-through-your-hoop wanting-to-die circuits there (such as AMRAPs or Workouts For Time).
 

J9R4W

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Okay cheers, I've never done AMRAP or workouts for time so I'll look into that. How many of those high intensity sessions would you say to do each week?
 

Mosquito

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Okay cheers, I've never done AMRAP or workouts for time so I'll look into that. How many of those high intensity sessions would you say to do each week?
I'm doing mine based on how much I ache really. If I've got bad aches after a session, I'll tone it down a bit. If not, conditioning and HIIT circuits usually borrowed off the Grizz Phys page on Instagram, or some of the commando units on Twitter have good workouts there too. VPJFT for me at the moment is twice a week, one on Monday and one on Friday just to scope how I'm doing. Two active rest days so walking or cycling just to give the body some time to get used to the changes.

Also a weighted vest is a really good way to add some resistance to your bodyweight exercises. My press ups have improved and I can now hit 2 rounds of 20, 1 round of 18 and 1 round of 16 for the VPJFT without it because my body has had to put more effort in.
 

mrar32

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Okay cheers, I've never done AMRAP or workouts for time so I'll look into that. How many of those high intensity sessions would you say to do each week?
You need be conditioned for this, so focus on Deadlift form and build your volume slowly before trying this. Don’t want you getting injured. But here’s an example of a killer AMRAP that might make you throw up.

20 min AMRAP
5 Deadlifts (@ 70-90kg)
5 Burpee over Bar
5 Pull-ups
200 metre sprint

Go fast and smooth. Awesome for RT prep as well as the movement patterns are vital. Enjoy mate.
 

thirdtry

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Okay cheers, I've never done AMRAP or workouts for time so I'll look into that. How many of those high intensity sessions would you say to do each week?

I'd say minimum of 2 with rest between them.

I see in your original post you mention something about running counting as your 'leg day'. There's absolutely zero reason to do that, all the sports science out there says you can train legs and run pretty consistently without overworking as long as your nutrition and rest is OK, and obviously you build up to it from whatever your current fitness level is. I have zero issues doing 6 days running per week and 4 full body circuits session per week currently, of which 3 are High Intensity and 1 is a deliberate and controlled strength session.

A good YouTuber to check out is Nick Bare. Former US Army officer now a full-time fitness guru that has set out to prove you can be strong and good at running simultaneously. He will do marathon training in the AM and bodybuilding or power lifting in the PM and has never been injured or over trained so far.

Ross Edgley's "World's Fittest Book" also discusses how to balance running and strength training. He notes that it's best not to do sprints on the same day as intense leg sessions (e.g. don't do hill sprints in the AM and heavy Squats in the PM) but you very safely can do your steady state runs on the same day as your heavy leg sessions because you're working completely different muscle fibres and physiological pathways.

I'd actually argue it's quite hard to over train but quite easy to under-recover, if that makes sense. I.e. your body can do a lot more than you think as long as you plan your phys timetable efficiently and eat/sleep enough.
 

thirdtry

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You need be conditioned for this, so focus on Deadlift form and build your volume slowly before trying this. Don’t want you getting injured. But here’s an example of a killer AMRAP that might make you throw up.

20 min AMRAP
5 Deadlifts (@ 70-90kg)
5 Burpee over Bar
5 Pull-ups
200 metre sprint

Go fast and smooth. Awesome for RT prep as well as the movement patterns are vital. Enjoy mate.

Definitely need to be conditioned for deadlifts for that one as you say!

Perhaps an idea given current circumstances of no gyms, and for anyone who hasn't been trained in how to lift properly, a more PRMC/ROP/RT focused few ideas could be:

20 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Pull-Ups
- 10 Press-Ups
- 15 Squats

Or

15 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Bastards (chest-to-floor burpees with a jump)
- 10 Jumping Lunges
- 15 Press-Ups

Or

For Time (start a stopwatch and go as fast as poss)
5 sets of 20 Burpees, 20 Sit-Ups, 20 Press-Ups, 20 Squats
 

mrar32

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Definitely need to be conditioned for deadlifts for that one as you say!

Perhaps an idea given current circumstances of no gyms, and for anyone who hasn't been trained in how to lift properly, a more PRMC/ROP/RT focused few ideas could be:

20 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Pull-Ups
- 10 Press-Ups
- 15 Squats

Or

15 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Bastards (chest-to-floor burpees with a jump)
- 10 Jumping Lunges
- 15 Press-Ups

Or

For Time (start a stopwatch and go as fast as poss)
5 sets of 20 Burpees, 20 Sit-Ups, 20 Press-Ups, 20 Squats
Agreed mate. Still think it’s worthwhile learning fundamental movement patterns before gyms open up though. Because without a bombproof core and a foundation of strength, continuous circuit training when you’re not conditioned will lead to injury, especially in RT when you have no chance to recover.
 

B11

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Hi all,

I’d like to hear if I’m on the right track with my gym training. After posting here Dec and realizing I've been over-training, I’ve dialed my training back a bit to where I do three 'leg days' per week on Mon, Wed, Fri which I usually do as x2 runs and x1 weighted leg day. So these workouts are on Tue(1), Thurs(2), Sat(3) with a rest day on Sunday.

1) Either PJFT mock or usually this as circuit:
Pull-up 7,8,8
Sit-up (unfixed) 25,35,30
Press-up 12,12,12
Plank 60,90,60 (sec)

2) Weights session:
Bench press 3 sets of 10
Weighted vest pull-ups + press-ups 5x5
Rows 3x10
Tricep pushdowns 3x10
Chin-ups 5x5
Face pulls 3x15
Sit ups 3x30

(3) Bodyweight circuit modeled on 'Circuit 2' from RM website.
Pull up 7,8,7
Sit up 20,20,20
press-up 12,12,12
Hill climbs 25,25,25 (each leg up)
Crunches 7,8,8 (From laying out flat to elbow-to-knee)
Wide Press-up 7,8,8
Oblique crunch 18,18,18
Plank 60,60,60

I'm wondering if I've got the balance right and I'd like to see if I should carry on with this or if this needs changing. My current PRMC scores to the beep are:

Pull-up 12
Sit-up 85
Press-up 33(!) ((needs improving))

I do the weights session as I find it's good for building strength. I'm 6'2" 70kg and am naturally tall/skinny/weak and I've found that by training w/ my bodyweight alone I hit a plateau and tend to pick-up tendinitis issues in elbows from where I think I basically lack strength. I'm not certain on this though, it's just my guess so any feedback on that would also be good to hear.

Thanks
I’d second the grizz phys, like someone said if you haven’t got the kit you can easily adjust them to suit
 

thirdtry

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Agreed mate. Still think it’s worthwhile learning fundamental movement patterns before gyms open up though. Because without a bombproof core and a foundation of strength, continuous circuit training when you’re not conditioned will lead to injury, especially in RT when you have no chance to recover.

100%, I can't wait for next week to finally chalk up and get my hands around an Olympic bar again, as it is so good for that injury 'prehab' and also will make a refreshing change to 4 months of constant bodyweight phys.

Just aware the forum has recently had a surge in mega young people joining like a lot of school age members who may not be best placed to get into big lifts just yet, so just thought I'd throw in some options maybe more suitable to them (which are also good sessions for any of us).

I'll give your one there a go in a couple weeks once I've established my post-lockdown baseline lifting ability next week.
 

mrar32

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100%, I can't wait for next week to finally chalk up and get my hands around an Olympic bar again, as it is so good for that injury 'prehab' and also will make a refreshing change to 4 months of constant bodyweight phys.

Just aware the forum has recently had a surge in mega young people joining like a lot of school age members who may not be best placed to get into big lifts just yet, so just thought I'd throw in some options maybe more suitable to them (which are also good sessions for any of us).

I'll give your one there a go in a couple weeks once I've established my post-lockdown baseline lifting ability next week.
Awesome to hear mate, all that strength gain coupled with a big aerobic engine and you’ll hopefully be smashing it down in Lympstone. Get that phys superior bib
 

thirdtry

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Awesome to hear mate, all that strength gain coupled with a big aerobic engine and you’ll hopefully be smashing it down in Lympstone. Get that phys superior bib

Likewise mate, let's see what happens haha. It's the goal but there's always those absolute ninjas who don't even seem to be working hard when they destroy everyone haha.
 

J9R4W

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Lads thanks for the info there. What I've got from this is that I need to change things up in terms of the intensity of the sessions that I'm doing (whilst still doing a 'gainers' type of circuit that I have been doing up till now but once per-week).

I'll look at the Commando units socials and the Grizz phys page for inspiration there, as I see they've got a 2 week beginners program to gauge where you're at.

Just some questions on the actual workouts, @thirdtry you mentioned this as an example:

20 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Pull-Ups
- 10 Press-Ups
- 15 Squats

Does AMRAP mean I'd go through that circuit as many times as I can over 20 minuets? And that the goal for the 'for time' workout is to get through the exercises/sets as fast as possible?

Also specifically on the gym tests, are these sessions geared towards improving max reps or more for cardio/conditioning? Should I be doing anything else to train for high reps? Cheers.
 

B11

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Lads thanks for the info there. What I've got from this is that I need to change things up in terms of the intensity of the sessions that I'm doing (whilst still doing a 'gainers' type of circuit that I have been doing up till now but once per-week).

I'll look at the Commando units socials and the Grizz phys page for inspiration there, as I see they've got a 2 week beginners program to gauge where you're at.

Just some questions on the actual workouts, @thirdtry you mentioned this as an example:

20 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Pull-Ups
- 10 Press-Ups
- 15 Squats

Does AMRAP mean I'd go through that circuit as many times as I can over 20 minuets? And that the goal for the 'for time' workout is to get through the exercises/sets as fast as possible?

Also specifically on the gym tests, are these sessions geared towards improving max reps or cardio/conditioning? Should I be doing anything else to train for high reps? Cheers.
I did that workout a lot mate, yeah you do as many rounds as possible in the 20 minutes, I think I started with 10 minutes and built my way up to 20. Another way of doing it is complete them on the minute for 10-20 minutes, depending where your at
 

thirdtry

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Lads thanks for the info there. What I've got from this is that I need to change things up in terms of the intensity of the sessions that I'm doing (whilst still doing a 'gainers' type of circuit that I have been doing up till now but once per-week).

I'll look at the Commando units socials and the Grizz phys page for inspiration there, as I see they've got a 2 week beginners program to gauge where you're at.

Just some questions on the actual workouts, @thirdtry you mentioned this as an example:

20 Minute AMRAP
- 5 Pull-Ups
- 10 Press-Ups
- 15 Squats

Does AMRAP mean I'd go through that circuit as many times as I can over 20 minuets? And that the goal for the 'for time' workout is to get through the exercises/sets as fast as possible?

Also specifically on the gym tests, are these sessions geared towards improving max reps or cardio/conditioning? Should I be doing anything else to train for high reps? Cheers.

That's exactly what AMRAP and For Time is, yes. Not too different except on an AMRAP your clock is counting down and For Time it's going up.

Another one you can do is EMOM - Every Minute On the Minute. That can really help you boost those numbers because you get a bit of rest. E.g. you do your 5-10-15 sets then have the rest of the minute to catch your breath, shake out etc. Then when the next minute starts you do it again.

E.g. 10 Minute EMOM you can easily get 50 Pull Ups, 100 Press-Ups, 150 Squats done in 10 Mins and still have time to breathe and stretch out.

I'd say these are more for your overall conditioning but will help improve those max reps.

Edit: B11 beat me to it
 

J9R4W

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Awesome thanks for the info there. I've never done those style of workouts before so I probably will start off with EMOM and build up to doing the AMRAP/For Time sessions.

Does it matter how many exercises you do in the sets for these sessions? I noticed they tend to be 3-4 exercises. Can pick any 3-4 exercises do to in these sessions that you want to improve on?
 

mace

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@J9R4W alternatively look into joining a CrossFit gym that has a proper foundation class for beginners where they TEACH you to lift correctly.
My top tip for anyone wants to learn the basics very well is to have a look at here if there is a StrongFirst kettlebell group class in your area:

You can never go wrong with a StrongFirst coach as it’s a very strict and hard course to pass compared to a CrossFit course... and there are some crazy bad ones out there.
 

mace

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Awesome thanks for the info there. I've never done those style of workouts before so I probably will start off with EMOM and build up to doing the AMRAP/For Time sessions.

Does it matter how many exercises you do in the sets for these sessions? I noticed they tend to be 3-4 exercises. Can pick any 3-4 exercises do to in these sessions that you want to improve on?
Don’t need to reinvent the wheel:
 

mace

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Also look up CrossFit “benchmark WOD’s” that are bodyweight only and do them every couple of weeks to track your progress. The above mentioned “Cindy” is a great one for that.

Cindy:
20 min AMRAP
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 air squats

20 rounds is a good place to be ;) (With kipping pull ups it’s very reasonable but don’t worry about kipping pull ups for now)
 

J9R4W

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@mace Thanks mate, luckily my brother is a massive gym bunny with his own Olympic kit so I’ve been able to keep on top of functional lifts at home.

Some of those look horrendous haha. I look forward to getting started.
 
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