Circuit Training Routine – The Equalizer

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By Rob Krar

Like most things in life the past few years, I somewhat stumbled upon my circuit routine early in 2012. I had just returned to running and racing after nearly 2½ years away from the sport. A few years earlier, too many miles and too little respect for my body found myself injured and doubting I’d ever even run a gentleman’s pace with friends again, let alone train and race competitively. I was determined to approach this unexpected gift with a new philosophy and greater respect for the demands of competitive training and racing, and equally important, to better balance running within my life with my partner Christina.

After debating the costs of a gym membership with my housemate at the time, we grabbed what we had laying around the house and scraped together our first circuit routine. Through trial and error the routine has evolved into a year round staple of my training and has affectionately been nicknamed The Equalizer. I believe strongly that this twice a week routine has helped me build the strength, stability, and flexibility I need to stay fit and healthy and perform my best over the long miles of training and racing.

Juggling training, a full-time job, and all of life’s other obligations can be challenging at times and it’s great to have a routine I can complete at home in 30-40 minutes, without the added cost and inconvenience of traveling to a gym.

The Equalizer
Two sets of 10-15 exercises, 1-minute per exercise with 15-seconds rest between each. Perform as many repeats as possible within each minute while always being conscious of maintaining proper form.

Exercises

  • Lunges while carrying medicine ball/weight
  • Bulgarian split leg squats
  • Eccentric calf raises on stair with weighted backpack
  • Front plank while raising leg off floor
  • Side plank while raising leg off floor
  • Seated abdominal twists with medicine ball/weight
  • Medicine ball throws – heave an 8-10 lb. ball as high above as possible
  • Hip flexor raises – lift leg up and over a low chair or table
  • Adductor steps – wide side steps with exercise band around lower legs
  • Turkish Get-up with kettlebell
  • Clean and press with kettlebell
  • Oblique dips with kettlebell
  • Two arm kettlebell swing
  • Back extensions with kettlebell or weight
  • Quick steps on bottom step of staircase
  • Speed skater (also known as alternate leg bounding)
  • Balance work on Indo board with medicine ball/weight
  • Single leg shoulder press with kettlebell or weight
  • Battle rope
  • Archery row with exercise band
  • Single leg medicine ball throws (if you have a partner)
  • Stability ball abdominal twists
  • Hamstring curls with stability ball
  • Quick stationary squats

Equipment

  • Yoga mat or stretch mat
  • Kettlebell or hand weight
  • Medicine ball
  • Resistance band
  • Indo board
  • Battle rope
  • Stability ball

Favorites

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Battle rope – High intensity anaerobic conditioning that may send you to exhaustion well before the minute is up.

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Medicine ball throw – Explosive full body exercise that will quickly have your heart racing to keep up.

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Indo board balance – Balance is an underappreciated tool for performing your best on the trails. An Indo board is great for core conditioning and strengthening smaller and often overlooked stability muscles.

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Turkish Get-up – A highly functional movement requiring full body coordination. If I had to choose only a single exercise to perform the rest of my life, this would be it.

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Turkish Get-up

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Speed skater – Whole body plyometric – strength, stability, flexibility and agility wrapped neatly into one exercise.



  • Allan Dias

    Wow! That’s a lot to explore! Thank you.

  • Brad

    soo good to see an advocate of all body conditioning! awesome sets – Turkish Getup – I hear ya :)

  • grimatongueworm

    Rob, thanks for the details and congrats on the Sanoma 50.

  • Ed Ettinghausen

    Thanks so much for sharing. Need to give that routine a try.