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A creative compound exercise circuit

Jackie Wright / The Fitness Trail
Grand Lake, CO Colorado

A compound exercise is one that requires the use of two or more parts of the body.

For example, a hip abduction/squat with an overhead body bar press, is a compound muscular strength training exercise. It is common, when performing a set or two of 8-12 repetitions of the exercise described above, due to the total-body exertion required, to also experience cardiovascular benefits.

What an efficient method of training, particularly for those of you that do not have a great deal of time to devote to your exercise program.

This week we will feature a terrific six-compound exercise circuit, all low impact, which may be completed in 15-20 minutes, post warm-up, two-three times per week on non-consecutive days. All you need is a set of 5-12 pound dumbbells/kettlebells, a figure-8 tubing, long tubing with handles and you.

Depending upon your exertion level (i.e. the higher the intensity, the greater the number of calories you expend) and your body weight (i.e. the heavier you are, the more calories you will expend in general), you may anticipate expending approximately 100-400kcal per session.

Next week, the exercise description details will be highlighted. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Circuit set-up

Set up the circuit prior to warm-up and then perform a five minute warm-up of walking, marching, lifting knees up alternately, arm reaches over head, bringing the ratings of perceived exertion to a 1-2 which is very light to light exertion. Each station is 75 seconds; 30 seconds per set with a 15-second break to change sides or actively recover.

You may repeat the circuit through 1-5 times depending upon your fitness level and allotted timing. Complete the program with a comprehensive cool down and stretch for all major muscle groups of the body.

Tip: Attempt to move efficiently from one station to the next permitting only 15-30 seconds between stations.

Station 1

Squats with 5-20 pound kettlebell swing (i.e. one dumbbell may be substituted)

Tip: Choose a weight increment that you can completely control on the “swing” particularly at the shoulder joint and lumbar spine.

Station 2

Pushups with kettlebell rows (i.e. two dumbbells may be substituted)

Tip: Choose kettlebells/dumbbells that you are able to row with from the pushup position. This will be a lighter increment than, for instance, a bent over row.

Station 3

Lunges with biceps curls – 5-12 pound d/b

Tip: With this exercise you will generally not be able to effectively lift as heavy a weight increment as you would if you were just performing the biceps curl or the lunges alone.

Station 4

Kettlebell getups – 5-20 pound kettlebell or dumbbell

Tip: This is a very challenging exercise, so be prepared to get winded!

Station 5

Supine hip extensions with bench press – 8-12 pound d/b

Tip: If you have a step platform or BOSU, you may place the heels on either to increase the challenge.

Station 6

Hip Abduction with triceps press – figure 8 tubing

Tip: You may substitute a long tubing with handles, but you will need to synch it up leaving approximately 6-8 inches between the ends.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at http://www.neversummerfitness.com, her email at NSFGL@comcast.net, her blog at http://www.skyhidailynews.com and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.


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