Thursday, 14 January 2010

Circuit training hub fun

Last year I did a couple of track training sessions with a Bedfordview group, at a school in a neighbouring suburb. It was fun - and good for my running - but difficult to get there in time. Last week I attended a Level 1 athletics coaching course and was reminded of circuit training. I've initiated a local 'circuit training hub' and we had our first session this evening.

Circuit training consists of a number of exercises 'stations' through which you rotate at intervals. It has cardiovascular, strength and endurance benefits, which are achieved through the types of excerises as well as variation in the duration of the activities and rest intervals.

Our circuit tonight was a humdinger in a star pattern, marked by orange cones on a nearby school field, which is close enough for me, Alex, Sarah and Mike to run to in less than 10 minutes. Daniel lives a bit further away, but close enough for the location to be conveniently accessible. This is our core hub of people who live in the 'hood. Tonight it was only me, Sarah and Mike as Daniel got stuck in traffic and Alex is down in PE for Half-Ironman.

Our circuit looked like the following...

Circuit #1 - designed by Lisa

As this is our first session, we started with four reps of each exercise at the stations for the first circuit. We increased it by two with each successive circuit progressing from 4 to 6 to 8 and ending with 10 reps on the final circuit. That made four circuits in total.

The emphasis on our session was also not on doing everything as fast as possible. No. Each exercise must be executed properly - it doesn't matter how long it takes. There's no time limit on good form and correct execution.

We started in the centre with crossovers, a simple exercise where you stand and keeping your back straight, lift one leg up and bring the opposite elbow down and across to touch the knee. Returning to the centre after each exercise we repeated the crossovers.

We started together and split up to do different exercises first; I took the burpees, sprinting from the centre. Burpees are the mainstay of circuit and military training. They're nasty - but at the same time they're great for full body conditioning. We've decided that they will be included in every session - just 'cause.

To do a burpee:
  • stand with your arms at your sides
  • squat down, placing both hands in front of you on the ground
  • extend both legs backward (hop backward) to end in a press up position
  • return legs forward (hop forward), ending in a low-squat position with hands on the ground
  • finally, jump into the air to return to a standing position
  • repeat rythmically and continuously for the alloted time or count
As required, I sprinted back to the centre and did my crossovers before walking lunge to the next station, tuck jumps. Here you standing on the spot and then jump up with tucking both knees in towards your chest. There are two ways to do this: jump-land-jump-land or jump-jump-jump-jump. The latter needs considerable rhythm and control; both require effort.

Then, lunge back to the centre, crossovers and then skipping to the sit-up station. These sit-ups are about core control - not mad, rushed crunches. Knees bent and controlled core lifting of outstretched arms - wrist or forearm to knees. Then skippity-skip back to the centre for more crossovers.

Side walk is the wrong name; but it is that crab run thing where you 'bounce' side on, one leg leading. Anyway...

Compass jumps had us starting from a standing position, both feet together - in the centre of a compass. Kinda. You hop with both legs forward to the North position and then hop back to the centre, hop to the East and then back to the centre, hop backwards (South) and back to the centre and finally hop to the West and back to the centre. That's one rep. Compass jumps are repeated rhythmically and continuously without stopping for the necessary count. Funnily, our orientation on the field really had us jumping North, East, South, West. Side run back to the centre and more crossovers.

The last exercise is a jog to the plank station. Here you get down, elbows and forearms on the ground, toes under and supporting your weight. This is a yoga move where you support your weight on your toes and elbows, body held straight like a plank - bum in a straight line with your back and legs. It's common to see butts lifted in the air. Once your count is completed, you jump up and run around the whole circuit, returning to the centre.

Of interest, the first circuit (4 laps) took 3:30. The last circuit, with 10 reps per station, took 5:30. We were soaked and breathing hard after each circuit. Give it a try - it's super fun.

If you're in the area, you're welcome to join in. R10.00 per session. We meet on Thursdays at 17h45 at the Jeppe Girls fields, cnr Lancaster Rd and Roberts Avenue. Entrance on Lancaster. We start with a warm-up run, do the circuit and finish with a cool-down stretch. Bring your water bottle and a towel.


stefan Trevor said...

great cct lisa, id like to try this tomorrow at the gym!

stefan359t said...

great cct thx for ur advice . like to try rhis tomorrow for my new class!