Thursday, November 1, 2012

Workout routines: Lower body plyo circuit

This is what really got me and my friend Maija going last month  - a lower body plyometric circuit! I presented my September workout schedule earlier (here), and now is the time to show you exactly what the plyo circuit is.

Get shredded with this awesome routine! Incorporate it into your workout schedule by replacing a lower body resistance training or a high intensity interval training (HIIT) routine with this. I recommend that you do this 1-2 times per week, keeping a minimum of 48 hours between workouts.

This is one of my favourite workout routines so far. It's short (it takes me about 35 minutes to complete five rounds), effective and I can totally feel my buns and thighs burning afterwards!

Before starting the circuit, make sure you're decently warmed up. By that, I mean a 10-15 minute light cardio on a stationary bike, treadmill or any cardio machine of your choice. You should have broken a bit of sweat before moving on to the circuit.

You'll need: a bench or a step, 2 x 3-5 kg dumbbells, a water bottle and a towel to wipe your sweat (trust me, you'll need it!). Bring a stopwatch to time your progress.

Remember to drink lots of water after the workout. Have a healthy carb-filled recovery drink or meal waiting for you ~30 minutes after working out.

Five rounds of:
Weighted reverse lunge from bench or step (15 reps per leg)
Mountainclimbers (30 seconds)
Bench jumps (10 reps)
Weighted lunge jumps (10 reps per leg)
Jumping jacks (30 seconds)

Try to keep minimal pauses between rounds, no pauses between exercises. Start off with three rounds and work your way up as your body adapts to the workout. This set shouldn't feel easy; in fact, this is one of the toughest sets I do during my workout week.

Breaking down the routine
Reverse lunge from bench or step
Get ready: Stand on an elevated platform, feet hip-width apart with two 3-5 kg dumbbells in each hand. 
Go: Step back with your right leg and lower your body until your left knee is bent at at least 90 degrees. Pause, then push through the left heel and step your right foot on the board. That's one rep. Do all reps on the right leg before stepping back with your left leg.

Get ready: Start in a full plank position, with your palms straight under your shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Make sure you don't round your shoulders or let your hips sag!
Go: Alternate running your knees into your chest as fast as possible, sprinting for 30 seconds until you're completely out of breath.

Bench jumps
Get ready: Stand in front of your bench (or box) with your arms by your sides, feet hip-width apart.
Go: Jump onto your bench, landing as softly as possible, and jump back down. Repeat 10 times.

Lunge jumps
Get ready: Feet in a hip-width position, hands by your sides (holding dumbbells, if possible). Step back with your right leg and lower until your left knee is in a 90 degree angle.
Go: Jump up as fast as you can, extending your knees. Land softly in the same position, lower and repeat 10 times before stepping back with your left leg.

Jumping jacks
Get ready: Stand with your feet together, arms straight by your sides.
 Go: Jump and spread your feet, extending your arms up. Jump and bring them back together. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Tip: Keep your arms as straight as possible, stay on the balls of your feet.

Have a great workout!


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