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ARTICLES::: CROSS-OVER


CIRCUIT TRAINING 101

by Mick Larrabee, P.T.

As the off-season is upon most of us, it’s time to look at incorporating a variety of different training methods (often referred to as cross training) to expand your endurance base. Obviously it is important to continue running, but you may also want to spend some time on the bike or in the water, or maybe even look at a triathlon for the summer. Another way to shake things up a bit is to do some type of circuit training.

Circuit training is an excellent way to improve mobility, strength, and stamina.

General circuit training format utilizes a group of 6-10 exercises that are completed one exercise after another. Each
exercise is performed for a specified number of repetitions (or for a prescribed time) before moving on to the next exercise.

Now I can hear some of you already complaining “But I don’t want to go to the gym and I don’t have any machines at the
house”...believe me, I understand! That’s why I am going to give you a couple of my favorite routines (modified from renowned exercise physiologist Owen Anderson, PhD) that require little or no equipment, and place an emphasis on body weight and functional movement patterns.

Example Circuit Training Sessions

PHASE I

1. Run 400m at 5K race pace

2. 5 chin ups

3. 36 abdominal crunches

4. 15 squat thrusts with jumps (burpees) - Stand with your arms held at your sides, and then squat down, placing both hands in front of you on the ground. Extend both legs backward (hop backward), ending in a push up position and then return legs forward (hop forward), ending in a low-squat position with hands on the floor. Finally, jump into the air and return to a standing position. Repeat this action rhythmically and continuously.

5. 15 push-ups

6. 30 body weight squats performed quickly (hands behind head)

7. Run 400m at 5K pace

8. 12 squat and dumbbell overhead - Use two dumbbells, each weighing approximately 10% of your body
weight. Stand upright with your feet spaced about hip width apart and your hands supporting the dumbbells in front of your
shoulders. Squat down until your thighs form an angle of 90 degrees (half-squat), while maintaining an upright posture with your torso and while keeping your hands in front of your shoulders. Rise quickly from the squat position while pressing (pushing) the dumbbells overhead simultaneously. Both arms and legs should reach full extension at the
same time (you will end up standing tall with legs straight and arms straight overhead). Then lower the dumbbells in a controlled fashion to the starting position. Repeat this three count movement smoothly and continuously.

9. 10 feet elevated push-ups - Normal push-up position with toes on bench/ball or something that is at least 12” off
the ground.

10. 36 slow back extensions - Lie on your front with hands at your side (hips). Raise your chest off the ground, hold position x 5 seconds then lower your trunk. Do not do this exercise if it increases low back pain.

11. 15 bench dips15 bench dips15 bench dips15 bench dips15 bench dips - Sit with hands on edge of bench and legs extended in front of you (heels on ground). Allow your body (buttocks first) to slowly descend to floor and then press up through hands.

12. 15 lunges on each leg

13. Run 400m at 5K pace

14. Repeat steps 2-13Repeat steps 2-13Repeat steps 2-13Repeat steps 2-13Repeat steps 2-13 one more time
(for 2 circuits in all), and then cool down.

PHASE II

1. Run 400m at 5K race pace

2. 8 high bench step ups with jumps - Begin from a standing position on top of a bench that is approximately knee high, with your body weight on your left foot and your weight shifted toward the left heel. The right foot should be free and held slightly behind the body. Lower your body in a controlled manner until the heel of the right foot touches the ground (be sure you maintain full support of body weight on your left foot). Return to (and explosively through) the starting position by driving down with the left heel and straightening your left leg as quickly as possible, so that you actually jump vertically and leave the surface of the bench. Upon landing from the jump (hopefully in the same spot from which you took off), lower
your body again in a controlled manner until your right foot touches the ground.
Repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions, and then switch over to the right leg. Maintain upright body posture with your trunk throughout the entire movement, with your hands held at your sides.

3. 6 plyometric push-ups (with6 plyometric push-ups (with6 plyometric push-ups (with6 plyometric push-ups (with6 plyometric push-ups (with clap) - Begin in the standard push-up position on the floor. Lower your chest toward the floor bybending your elbows while keeping your trunk and hips extended and “rigid.” When your chest is 1- 2 inches from the floor, rapidly straighten your arms and push your body upward as fast as possible. As your arms reach full extension, release your hand contact with the floor and clap your hands to- gether very quickly, before returning your hands to the floor in the same position that they were in before the clap. Repeat this action (lowering, rapid exten- sion, clap and land on your hands).

4. 3 series of the 6 way lunge with3 series of the 6 way lunge with3 series of the 6 way lunge with3 series of the 6 way lunge with3 series of the 6 way lunge with arm droparm droparm droparm droparm drop..... (1) Stand with your feet parallel and hip-width apart. Your arms should be bent at the elbows with your hands in front of your shoulders. Step forward with your right foot into a long lunge position and lean your upper body forward approximately 45 degrees at the waist. Drop your hands on either side of your right knee as your right foot makes contact with the ground. Quickly extend your right knee and return your body to the original, full-standing position. Repeat with your left leg. (2) From the full standing position step directly to your right with your right foot into a lateral lunge position. Your upper body should face to the right and lean forward over your right leg at approximately a 45- degree angle. Again, drop your hands on either side of your right knee as your right foot makes contact with the ground. Your left foot should remain pointing straight ahead. Quickly extend your right knee and return your body to the original, full-standing position. Repeat with your left leg moving to the left. (3) Then, from the original standing position, step diago- nally and to the rear with your right leg. Your left foot should remain pointing straight ahead. Quickly extend your right knee and return your body to the original position. Repeat with your left leg, moving it to the left-rear (“8-o’clock”) position. (4)Repeat the entire series of movements (forward right leg, forward left leg, right-side right leg, left-side left leg, back-and-right right leg, back-and-left left leg) the prescribed number of times.

5. 8 hanging scissors followed by double knee raises - Begin by hanging from a bar or overhead support (you need to be able to hang freely with your body fully extended, without your feet touching the ground). Raise your right knee vertically (with the knee bent as in a running stride) as high as you can while simultaneously pushing your left foot and leg behind you (with the left leg almost completely straight). Next, quickly reverse your legs so that your left knee swings forward and
upward (with the knee bent as in a running stride) and your right foot and leg move downward and backward behind you (with the right leg nearly straight). Repeat this “scissor” action for the prescribed number of repetitions before moving onto the second part of the exercise - the double-knee raise. To perform the double-knee raises, return to a straight, hanging position. Simultaneously raise both legs up as high as you can towards your chest - with both knees bent. Then, lower both legs together slowly to the starting position, before repeating the
raising and lowering action for the prescribed number of repetitions.

6. 12 single with hops - Stand with your left foot forward and your right foot back, with your feet about one shin-length apart (your feet should be hip-width apart from side to side). Place the toes of your right foot on a step
or block which is about 6-8 inches high. Most of your body weight should be directed through the heel of your left, forward foot. Bend your left leg andagain hop upward while maintaining contact with the step or block with your right foot. Be sure to maintain upright posture with your upper body and hold your hands at your sides throughout the squatting and hopping movement. Repeat on right leg.

7. 8 prone trunk extensions with arm raises - Begin by lying face down on the ground with your legs straight and your arms extended straight forward (they would be “overhead” if you were stand- ing up). Slowly raise your chest, shoulders, and
arms up toward the ceiling as high as you can, keeping your toes in contact with the
floor at all times. Then, slowly lower your chest, shoulders, and arms down to the floor, but do not rest on the floor maintain some muscle tension throughout your back for the entire exercise. Slowly repeat this up-and-down action for the prescribed number of repetitions. Do not do this exercise if it increases low back pain.

8. Run 400mRun 400mRun 400mRun 400mRun 400m at 5K pace

9. Repeat steps 2-8 (for a total of 2 circuits), and then cool down.

Well, there you have it...a couple of new workouts to throw in the mix as you get your body ready for the training that comes with the New Year. Hopefully you will see the value in this type of work done in the off-season and will reap the rewards as you begin preparing for the spring races.

Dream BIG. Train Smart. Race Fast

MICK LARRABEE, PT, MS, SCS, EMT, CSCS IS A BOARD CERTIFIED CLINICAL SPECIALIST IN SPORTS PHYSICAL THERAPY AND A USA TRIATHLON LEVEL 1 COACH. HE CAN BE REACHED AT (865) 806-8911 OR VIA E-MAIL AT mike@optimalperformanceinc.com

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