Torch those calories with a three by three

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As is evidenced by the dozens of various programs featured in this column throughout the years, there are an infinite number of program designs. Each program is unique and offers different results and outcomes providing us with a lifetime of varied fitness challenges keeping us fit for life.

Consequently, this week we will highlight a “three by three” circuit program. This program design differs from many that we have discussed previously in that there are three separate, 3-station circuits which are performed three times through each. It is fun, diverse, and time-efficient, builds strength and torches calories. Here are some of the exciting details:

-Each station interval is 30-60 seconds in duration (some are unilateral requiring 60 seconds performing each side) with little or no break between stations followed by a full one-minute recovery following completion of three rounds of each three-station circuit. Therefore, you perform circuit number one three times, followed by a one-minute recovery; perform circuit two, three times, followed by a one-minute recovery and complete the series by performing circuit three, three times followed by a one-minute recovery. The concept is to work efficiently and at the highest level of intensity that you may safely perform during each exercise and each circuit. If performed as suggested, the three by three circuit is approximately 33-35 minutes in duration including warm-up.

Each circuit concentrates on different physical fitness components and also includes high intensity interval training (i.e. HIIT). However, it is simple to modify the program for beginners through advanced, so keep an eye out for those program modifications next week as well as the details of each exercise within the program. The sequence is important as many variables are considered in the program design. So, attempt to follow the sequence, paying particular attention to the form and technique of each exercise ensuring safety and effectiveness. Below are the three by three templates—save this information so you may apply it to the details provided next week. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Three by Three Warm-up – Repeat these three exercises three times each in succession. Each is performed for 30 seconds. On the bird dog, hold each side for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side; the glute bridge is held statically for 30 seconds. Time – approximately 6 minutes.

-Bird Dog

-Glute Bridge


Circuit One

Station #1: Goblet Squats

Station #2: Pushups

Station #3: Side Bridge (modified/full) – both sides – 30 seconds each

Circuit Two

Station #1 Jumping Jacks

Station #2: Triceps Pushdowns w/back lunge – tubing tethered – both sides – 30 seconds each

Station #3: Mountain Climbers

Circuit Three

Station #1: Supine leg curls/stability ball

Station #2: Knee Tucks/stability ball

Station #3: Lunges w/rows /tubing tethered – both sides – 30 seconds each

*Note that there is a small amount of equipment suggested for this circuit. Resistive tubing, dumbbells, and a stability ball will enhance the effectiveness of the program. However, I have performed this circuit with dozens of deconditioned clients with no external resistance and with numerous modifications, so if you do not have equipment or you have not exercised in a while, a positive outcome is still feasible to achieve.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Never Summer Fitness, LLC located in Grand Lake, Colorado. She may be reached at her website at, her email at, her blog at and her Facebook page at Never Summer Fitness.

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