Kicking It Up a Notch: Compound Circuit Training!

I’ve been working out with Joel for about 50 weeks. I’ve lost 50 pounds. I recently ran a half-marathon. I’d like to think I’m pretty damn strong at this point.

Then I walked into the gym yesterday for a workout with Joel. After a weekend of slacking, I was excited to be back in the gym. But nothing could have prepared me for the ass-kicking that awaited me. Technically, this ass-kicking is called compound circuit training, and it’s a high-intensity combination of cardio and strength training. In my case, Joel specifically planned this workout to mix things up so I could bust through the slight plateau I’ve been chilling at. The “compound” part refers to working multiple muscle groups.

We did this for 44 minutes — two sets of 22 minutes each (I think) with a 2-minute break in between (water has never before and will never again taste as good as it did in those two minutes). Each rotation was about six exercises, with each exercise done for 20 seconds with 10 seconds of rest between exercise, although most of that was used switching exercises. Below are the 7-8 core exercises that comprised this workout:

[I have no idea what the technical names for these exercises are, so if you do, please let me know!]

  • Step-Ups/Kicks: Joel set up a step with (I think) 3-4 risers on each side, and I did step-ups and step-up-then-kicks. I did one leg at a time (so, 20 seconds on left leg, 10 second rest, 20 seconds on right leg)
  • Squat-and-lift: This one was with a bar (with no extra weight on it, but these bars can be heavy on their own!), and I would squat and then lift the bar above my head, using my leg strength.
  • Bunny jumps: (Clearly this is the technical term.) I held a weight plate flat at about chest height and sort of squatted and jumped lightly on my tippy-toes. (This one was SO much harder than it sounds, especially with a slightly sore back from too much sitting on my couch working.)
  • Alternating lunges: This one was pretty much what it sounds like — lunging with alternating legs. (I can’t remember right now if I also used weights on this one.)
  • Bicep curl/overhead press.
  • Reverse lunges: Lunging backwards. These are great if, like me, your balance isn’t the greatest. (It’s been nearly 13 years since I quit gymnastics!)
  • Hip thrusts: (Anyone else think this exercise is a little sexual? No? Me neither ;))
  • Twisting Sit-Ups: Sit-ups, twisting in each direction as you come up. (These were way way way way easier than they used to be for me!)

There’s one trainer at the gym that definitely has a Jillian Michaels stomach. Joel trains her, and that’s where we’re trying to get my stomach! Since my weight is in the healthy range (WOO! HOO!), it’s also harder to drop weight now since my body really wants to hold on to any remaining fat, but workouts like this and the tough cardio schedule that I’m getting back to today are meant to tell that fat “too damn bad!”

Any questions?

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