Monthly Archives: February 2015

Short circuits

There is a place in the world for low intensity, steady state cardio. There, I said it. It can build a strong aerobic base and help you recover faster from higher intensity training. The problem is, it’s so damned boring. And time consuming. And boring.

I think short circuits for fat loss and conditioning are a more efficient way of doing both. Now don’t get me wrong, if you are training for an endurance event or for a sport like football, basketball or rugby then you have to put the miles in, but for fat loss and general conditioning these are a really good option.

I’m going to share a really simple way of building circuits, all you have to do is to take 1 exercise from each group and use the appropriate rep ranges to get the best out of them.

Group 1:

Performed fro 6-15 reps

Deadlift (40-50% max)

KB swing


DB shoulder press/ squat and press

Pull up


Group 2:

Performed for 20-30 secs or equivalent distance

Walking lunge

Bear crawl

Frog squat – for those who haven’t done these before –

Farmers carry

Treadmill/ woodway curve treadmill/ deadmill




Group 3:

Body weight exercises done for 6-15 reps


TRX row

Reverse lunges

Bodyweight squat

Mountain climbers

While these lists are by no means exhaustive, the illustrate the types of exercises and reps they can be done for. You notice that the heavy exercise is first, then a high intensity conditioning exercise is next, then you finish with a bodyweight exercise where load is taken out of the equation and technique is more easily maintained.


Deadlift x 6-12 reps -aiming for as many good reps as you can

Frog squat x20-30 seconds

Push up x6-15 reps

Rest 60s and repeat for 3-5 rounds.


Pull up x3-10 reps

Bear crawl x10m forwards and backwards

Mountain climbers x 10per side

Rest 60s and repeat for 3-5 rounds.


KB swing x10-15 reps

Deadmill x 20secs

Bodyweight squat x 12

Rest 60s and repeat for 3-5 rounds.

While I use a 60sec rest and 3-5 round format as it fits in nicely with my training plans, you can change the rest time and number of rounds to suit your needs. For example, increasing both rest and number of rounds can help you build a better aerobic base. You could also see how many rounds you can complete in a set time period, 10/ 20 or 30 mins as a stand alone conditioning session.


Have fun, and stay strong


Motivation waning…?

How are those goals going for you? We’re 6 weeks into 2015, about 11% of the year gone, you should be 11% closer to achieving the goals you set out at the start of the year.

Everybody starts out with great motivation and lots of energy to set about getting your goals done, but about this point, motivation starts to fall away, so what can you do to get back on track?

1. Revisit the goals, both outcome and process goals, remember the “why” behind your goals.

2. Review the process goals and see if they are still doable. Process goals are the stepping stones that you use to break down the bigger outcome goals into smaller manageable chunks. If these are too big, too vague or too difficult, chances are you won’t succeed. Reassessing these stepping stones gives you an opportunity to make your steps easier.

3. Get rid of any goals that don’t have a good “why” behind them.  Why you want a goal is a great motivator and reminder to stay on track with whatever it is you are trying to achieve. Knowing clearly why it is important allows you to, this video from Simon Sinek on TED talks explains better than I ever could. The book is awesome too!

If you feel like you’re losing ground on your goals, revisiting them and reviewing your processes, then you can get back on track to achieving your targets.


Stay strong



Simplify, simplify



Sometimes when you are pushed for time, training takes a back seat, but it doesn’t need to.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple, perhaps it’s the introvert in me that doesn’t like a lot of things going on, maybe I don’t have the patience or attention span to deal with lots of stuff, particularly when it comes to training!

My training plans are pretty straightforward. A big compound lift variation, then some accessory work to strengthen weak areas highlighted by the main lift, then some conditioning. Nothing too fancy, but effective nonetheless. Working through one of these sessions should take around 45 – 60mins, including the warmup and assuming your rest times aren’t forever!

However sometimes all you have is 30 mins or so, so what can you do?

Here are 4 options for the time limited amongst you!

1. 30 mins of 1 exercise. No smart ass, not bicep curls! Pick either a front or back squat, deadlift variation, bench press or pull up. And do as many good reps at 60-70% of your max as you can in 30 mins. Sets of 8-10 are advised. Rest as needed…

2. Pick one of the big lifts, perform 4 sets of 7 reps (enough to work you, short enough rest times) at around 80% of your max and then do 3 sets of an accessory lift to compliment your main lift.

3. Timed circuit. After your warmup, put 25 mins on the clock and do as many rounds as you can of a circuit. Pick 1 exercise from

Push such as bench press/DB bench, Landmine press, push up etc

Pull such as pull up, seated row, trx row, reverse fly, band pull apart

Squat such as back or front squat, goblet squat, bodyweight squat

Hinge – Deadlift variation, romanian deadlift, bridge variation, KB swing

Lunge – forward or reverse lunge, walking lunge, step up

Core, Cable crunch, band crunch, leg lowers

Do 8-10 reps of each, resting as needed at the end of each circuit, completing as many rounds as you can in 30 mins. These can be done with bodyweight exercises as well as loaded so can be done at home if need be.

4. Complex. Put you time on the clock, load a bar with what you can press overhead, and perform the following complex:

RDL x6

Bentover row x6

Overhead press x6

Back squat x6

Good morning x6

Rest and repeat.

If you are pressed for time, then you only need to simplify your workout to get a good amount of quality work in a short amount of time,