Work in circles for big effect

July 3, 2011 at 2:03 a.m.


Many of my clients tell me they have a hard time doing an intense workout when they are on their own. This workout is guaranteed to give you an intense workout in a short amount of time.

A ladder workout uses four to five exercises that are repeated in a circuit with little to no rest between each set.

In the first set you only do one rep of each exercise. As soon as you finish the last exercise of the first set repeat the exercises doing two reps per exercise.

The next time through you will do three reps per exercise. Continue on until you have reached 10 reps per exercise. At this point you can take a short (3 to 5 minute) break.

Drink some water, stretch any tight muscles and get ready to start again. This time through you are going to start with 10 reps and work your way back down to 1 rep per exercise.

When you enter the descending phase of the workout you may need to rest between sets. Try to keep it short, but above all keep good form.

Here are some sample exercise combinations:

Squat, pushup, mountain climbers, pull-ups, sit ups

Jumping lunges, cable bicep, cable triceps, crunches on the ball, pushups

Using a stability ball: squats against wall, pushups on the ball, rollups on the ball, bridging leg curls

Four-count burpee, hanging oblique leg raise, triceps pushups, walking lunges

Rowing machine (start with 30 seconds, add 30 seconds more for each set) bicep curl, shoulder press, lateral raise, bent over row, bent over triceps extension

Using a 6-12 inch bench: step up with a bicep curl, step up with a should press, step up with lateral raise, step up with a triceps extension

Using a BOSU: toe taps, push-ups with toes on the ball side, stand ups (sit on the top of the BOSU, stand up without using your hands, sit back down without using hands)planks with hands on the ball and turning to each side for a side plank, squats while standing on top of the ball side

Using a BOSU platform side up: squats standing on the platform, push-ups with hands on the platform, v-ups while sitting on the platform,

Always begin with a 10 minute warmup. You can walk on the treadmill, cycle or use the elliptical to get your body warm and ready to really up the intensity.

Finish things off with a cool down of leisurely walking or cycling and then a stretching session paying special attention to any areas that are overly tight.

This type of training which focuses on short bursts of highly intense exercise will burn more calories without spending hours in the gym.

Always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Melissa Bagnall is a certified personal trainer with a Bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University in physical education and the owner of Fitness Solutions. You can email her at:



Powered By AffectDigitalMedia