I love research that makes movement more accessible to everyone. An article from the American College of Sports Medicine does just that. The researchers reviewed the literature on high-intensity circuit training and developed a cycle of bodyweight exercises that can be done anywhere in less than eight minutes.
The exercises in the circuit are carried out continuously for 30 seconds with high intensity, with a 10 second break and transition between the exercises. The 12 exercises in the circuit are:
1. Jumping Jacks
2. Sit on the wall
9. Run on the spot
11. Pushups with rotation
12. Side plank
While this short won't make anyone a top athlete, it could help break down training obstacles for those who don't have time to go to the gym. It could also be a great option for traveling athletes. Athletes who need even more challenges can repeat the route several times.
High-intensity circuits also depend on the athlete working with high intensity. This is difficult for people who are deconditioned or new to the exercise. I often read mainstream articles like this from the New York Times that trumpet the fact that you can get a complete workout in just a few minutes.
I don't think most of these authors really understand the requirements of 4-7 minutes of very high intensity work. It is neither comfortable nor pleasant, but they pretend that a few minutes of intensive work is preferable to 20 minutes on a treadmill.
I remember a quote from The Princess Bride that was applied to the phrase "high intensity": "You continue to use this word. I don't think it means what you think it means. "
But for the right audience at the right time, this could be a useful circuit to maintain your fitness on vacation or to start training on a limited time and budget. Try it out and let us know what you think!
1. Brett Klika and Chris Jordan. High-intensity circuit training with body weight: maximum results with minimal investment. ACSMs Health & Fitness Journal: May / June 2013 – Volume 17 – Issue 3 – pp. 8–13. doi: 10.1249 / FIT.0b013e31828cb1e8