Body Weight Circuits Are Kickin’ My Butt!

December 3, 2008

I used to think I was in outstanding shape. I can go into any gym and lift impressive weights for my size and I look like a Ninja Master on the treadmill. I can run a few miles in a decent period of time, I don’t have any noticeable body fat, etc. That was until I explored the world of bodyweight circuits. My 20+ years of consistent lifting and intense cardio, have not prepared me at all for the intense torture called Bodyweight Circuits.

[This is the exact workout I have been doing in my apartment 3 times per week. I thought this would be a piece of cake...heck it looks like the type of training I did in Junior High!]

No Wonder Why Craig Ballantyne is Ripped!

“Yes Craig…I am humbled”. I thought I would try one of your intermediate level circuits and I figured it would be a breeze. I mean…I am a veteran gym rat who has experimented with every tortuous routine know to man. How on earth could a 15-20 minute routine done in my apartment with no equipment kick my butt?

Still Breathing Hard 10 Minutes Later…

This was just after 3 of these bodyweight circuits. Craig mentions on the video to add in 15 minutes of running on the treadmill if you want an even better workout. I still haven’t had the guts to go downstairs to my apartment gym and hit the treadmill after this brutal workout.

“The Crazy 8 Body Weight Circuit”

I live in Downtown Seattle in a tiny studio apartment. I love this workout, because it just takes 20-30 minutes and I can do it as soon as I get home from work right in my apartment with zero equipment.

  1. 60 Jumping Jacks: Done as fast as possible, but make sure you do full jumping jacks.
  2. 15-20 Spiderman Pushups: I’m just doing normal pushups until they become too easy. Typically it is a breeze for me to do 40+ pushups, but it is much tougher when you do these with zero rest in between jumping jacks.
  3. Walking Lunges: I take 20 steps total. This is the easiest part of the workout in my opinion.
  4. Spiderman Climb: I do a total of 20 of these (10 per side) I really feel these in my abs and obliques.
  5. Wall Squat: Do for 45-60 seconds. This hurts! Don’t rest your hands upon your legs, since it makes it easier.
  6. Planks: Do for 60 seconds. Tough after doing all these other exercises without rest.
  7. 5 Burpees: Make sure and do a full pushup at the bottom and explode as high as pssible at the top into a jump. I’m still kind of uncoordinated with these…probably because I’m “smoked” at this point!
  8. High Knees: Done as fast as possible. Do 50 total. I just count when my right leg hits the ground for 25. It is hard to count both legs for 50 since you are going fast. You will be dying about 1/2 way through.

Notes: Each exercise is done back-to-back with zero rest in between. You will want to rest, but immediately hit the next exercise. After this 8 exercise circuit is done, rest exactly 60 seconds. I usually run over to the microwave and set the timer. Those 60 seconds will feel like 15-20 seconds. Do this circuit 1 more time. Don’t add in the 3rd one until you are ready.

I Felt Like a Chain-Smoker After My 2nd Circuit!

I simply was not in good enough shape to complete the 3rd circuit my first 2 times doing this routine. I was breathing hard and my body was zapped. My skin was hot to the touch. These are all great signs of a great interval workout, but I just couldn’t push myself to do this circuit a 3rd time. Again…I have pride when it comes to being fit. I can max out a treadmill for 60 seconds followed by 30 seconds of walking and continue this pace for 15-20 minutes. This is after lifting heavy weights. That being said, these body weight circuits are a humbling deal.

My Goal is to Work to an Advanced Level 

This “Crazy 8 Body Weight Circuit” is one of Craig Ballantyne’s Intermediate level routines. I am going to begin with this one and then work my way through the other body weight programs in Craig’s Deluxe Edition Turbulence Training Course. This course is a little more pricey than his Basic Course, but it focuses on bodyweight training. It is the most extensive and proven body weight course on the market.

I Have Not Given Up on Weight Training!

These next two months I am focusing 100% on bodyweight training, but this is so I can develop this skill to a high level. I have 2 reasons why I want to master getting ripped with body weight exercises.

  1. I want to be able to give solid advice for people who do not have access to a gym.
  2. My goal is to travel the world with my girlfriend and I need to be able to workout and stay lean no matter what environment I’m in.

I still believe you will develop a higher level of muscle tone if you incorporate high tension lifting into your routine. A mix of body weight and strength training along with HIIT is what will give you an amazing physique. I still will advise most people to include lifting at least part of the week along with HIIT. Younger guys especially need 5+ years “under the bar” to develop a high degree of muscle definition and muscle density.

If You Are Skeptical About Bodyweight Circuits

I dare you to try this routine! Do exactly what Craig mentions in the video and don’t extend the rest periods. I was pretty skeptical myself, especially since I am leaner than most of the guys pictured in the testimonials on his sales page. I really thought this would be a “poor man’s” version of HIIT on a treadmill, but this certainly isn’t the case. What is cool about this particular circuit is how hard it works the entire abdominal region.

The Belly Off Body Weight 500 Workout

Craig has a page full of free videos. The workout below is called The Belly Off Body Weight 500 Workout (click the link and it opens up a page of videos…click the one with this description). This isn’t suppose to be done every day. It is done as a challenge to gauge how conditioned you are. I’m going to give this a shot once every other week.


[This looks rough! I doubt I will be able to complete this the first time through, but I am going to psyche myself up for this one.]

All Excuses for Not Getting in Great Shape…Gone!

I’m a pretty big fan of Craig because he basically has mastered a methodology for anyone to get in great shape regardless of time constraints or location. If someone has a 10×10 space and discipline, they can get in outstanding shape.

Note: I’m sure most of the regular readers have read my 2 part interview with Craig Ballantyne, but in case you missed it, here it is… Turbulence Training – The Most Efficient Fat Loss Workout? One last thing…if you give the “Crazy 8 Body Weight Circuit” a shot, please tell me how it goes for you. I bet you will be pleasantly surprised at how effective this brief workout is in jacking up your metabolism!

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Rusty Moore

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

Clint December 18, 2009 at 9:55 am

I lift weights 6 days a week. I’ve been into HIIT for about 2 years. I run sprints up a hill 2 days a week. I have recently replaced my intervals on an elliptical 4 days a week with bodyweight circuits. It is a great warm up for lifting, a new kind of tired, and I started to feel and look tighter almost immediately. I’m sold!

Jan Michael December 19, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Hey Rusty, this is the first one that i tried since visiting your site. It torched me even though i rested for 3 mins ! With this result I think that i’m in a bad shape. I’m from the Philippines and just turned 18. Want to get that Jacob Black look ! Can’t believe I’m older than him. LOL. thanks Rusty !

carla December 27, 2009 at 9:09 am

I totally love CB’s workouts. They are evil and save me a load of gym traveling. By the way, check out http://www.bodyrock.tv. This girl has some fun and challenging ideas about working out. Many of her workouts have kicked my butt.

Steve February 4, 2010 at 6:13 am

Started this workout mid Dec 2009 and could just about do the 3 circuits.
I can now do 5, 1 min rest between circuits; and complete them in under 45 mins. Doing 1 min on wall squats and planks; I have also added in close grip pushups before burpees.
Best workout ever.

Lou April 2, 2010 at 2:41 pm

I found FBB a couple of days ago and am enjoying the all of the articles and open-mindedness.

This TT training is exactly what I’ve been looking for. My first serious fitness routine was out of a book I found about twenty years ago. There was a lot of bodyweight exercises, some lifting exercises which I was able to do with a basic weight set and a crate, and cardio (I bought a NordicTrack for that). That routine would be considered fluff by a lot of people today, but I got great results with it (along with careful eating). I got into weight training shortly after and have being doing that on and off ever since, but it occurs to me as I write this that none of my weight training workouts gave me the overall conditioning that that first workout did. TT looks like an excellent way to get back to that. Thank you for writing about it!

andy April 30, 2010 at 3:55 am

hey Rusty, i’ve been working for a year know, heavy weightlifting, and i like my bodyshape now, but nos i just wanna get real ripped , would the crazy 8 routine and eating healthy would do it???>… or so i have to continue with weights, i dont wanna end up all like jello… no hard muscles… tnx a lot!!

Andy

Robin H June 1, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Just did my first crazy 8 circuit. i had to cheat a little with the intensity, just so i could complete 2 sets. it was VERY hard, but the great thing is that it went so fast i didn’t get a chance to suffer much :) i also looked at myself in a good mirror in skimpy workout clothes for the first time in a while. it was extremely sobering. i’ve definitely gained a few pounds this past year. i need to lose about 10 pounds probably to get back to around 125 (5’6). ugh. hopefully i will have good news to post soon :)

Dominic July 2, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Hey Rusty,

Don’t know if you still follow this thread, but I just finished my first crazy 8 circuit! (that name is totally justified btw) I’m still sweating streams but because of that I’m a little bit proud of myself, taking the first of many steps for a healthy lifestyle.

After a long spell of binge eating, staying up late and being a lazy bastard, I’ve decided to turn my life around 180°.
I’ve just started yesterday with ESE, a fasting day for starters and I am already totally hooked.

Thank you so much for this website. You and your articles where the wakeup call that I needed to get started.

- Dom

Chris September 22, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Found your site after looking up stuff on IF. Found this gem of a routine while checking out the site. Just completed my first go through. It felt great. Looking forward to using it for a couple weeks. Looking forward to the forthcoming IF e-mail!

Chris October 11, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Can anyone ballpark the calories burned per set on this routine, (using max reps, so 60 sec wall sit etc.)? Thanks

Special J K O November 11, 2010 at 1:06 pm

120 calories per set

Mark March 2, 2011 at 9:38 am

Hey Rusty.

I’ve been thinking about trying out this workout but seeing as i never really did any previous workout other than various sports (Soccer, football etc) would this even be worth it to start out with?
I am pretty lean to start with the only problem is my weight. gaining weight is a pretty big deal for me but then again, i don’t want to look huge.

So basically my question is.
Will this get me even more lean compared to various other workouts or is this just a routine to keep you as lean as you already are.?

Sam- Look Like An Athlete April 1, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Rusty,
Great article. Just getting around to it but definitely timeless.
With the way the economy has been doing for a while now it is almost a luxury for many people to join a gym and pay monthly fees. These days I see bodyweight workouts as being more popular and a good inexpensive (literally free) alternative to getting in shape.
-Sam

Rich - Martial Fitness Guy April 28, 2011 at 9:05 am

Always love my bodyweight workouts. People love them as its the natural way of exercising rather than on a machine.

In martial arts there are some killer bodyweight circuits, which have you gasping in no time!

All the best,

Rich
RH Martial Fitness

Twilight Zone Episodes June 2, 2011 at 8:07 am

This really is a killer workout – and not a weight in sight!

Toni August 30, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Rusty,

Oh. My. God. Like seriously. I started doing this circuit per your recommendation in ‘Vacation Body Blueprint’ and holy Batman! I’ve never been so sore or sweat so much in my life. I, too, thought I was in pretty decent physical condition but this body weight circuit made me realize that I still have a loooong way to go in terms of my fitness level.

On the up side, I’m FINALLY able to complete the circuit three times which is huge. And I’ve noticed that my body has continued to lean out and I didn’t think I could lean out anymore (btw, I’m 5’6 tall, female and 117 lbs.). My external obliques are starting to show which is crazy and my overall torso is tighter than ever. I’m doing this three times a week in place of my running and love it. It’s torturous but so addictive.

I have a tiny basement that I workout in so this circuit is right up my alley. I also like the fact that I can bring this workout with me on the road when I travel.

Thanks for introducing us to this awesome workout. I’ll never roll my eyes at body weight exercises ever again.

Toby - Does P90X Work October 8, 2011 at 10:43 am

Good to see a monster workout that doesn’t involve using any equipment whatsoever. Not even an inflatable exercise ball in sight – Awesome!
Also, what’s with the no situps and no crunches? As a guess, I imagine that the Spiderman Pushups hit the abs quite hard. I’m not complaining about their absence. I always find that most ab exercises give me a bit of lower back pain anyway.

Dave November 10, 2011 at 7:07 pm

I have a question…. I plan on doing turbulence training and visual impact… But which one first? I read for visual impact it’s mainly for people that are already slim. And then turbulence training focuses on getting lean so I’m assuming do turbulence training first?? What’s your input. Just to let you know I’m a wrestler so my cardio to my understanding is pretty well. (maybe that changes the factors up) but I also have some stubborn fat I would like to get off and i could alway use more muscle.
Thank you!!

Dave December 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

I do one entire circuit and add in 5 pullups between each exercise. Yes it’s only one circuit but it adds in 40 extra pull ups which really saps your energy. I also take jiu jitsu classes and stand up paddleboard regularly so I get in plenty of exercise. This circuit really helps a lot with my job and my fun time.

Carl@ 10 minute trainer December 15, 2011 at 10:05 am

Definitely a killer workout :) I love your “Crazy 8 Body Weight Circuit”

alexandra December 21, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Can anyone, please tell me how much calories can I burn by working out with Cindy Crawford’s Next challenge?

Andy van der Pandy January 19, 2012 at 8:36 am

Holy crap! I made it… barely…great…!

Wayne July 9, 2012 at 10:36 am

I am 17 and 260 lbs. I am currently doing the HIIT workout 3x a week, I just started. My goal is to get the excess weight off and build muscle and get definition. Would doing the HIIT cardio mixed with this workout work? Please get back to me.

Andrew Brown October 12, 2012 at 4:54 am

Hey everyone, I just done my first bodyweight circuit today, it was as follows: 50 star jumps (jumping jacks) 10 press ups, 20 single leg squats, 100 running in spot with high knees, 20 lunges, 15 triceps dips. Done that 3 times with 1 min rest between circuits. I used this page as motivation

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