Today I’m excited to share an extraordinary guest post written by none other than Jen Sinkler, the creator of my all-time favorite conditioning resource, Lift Weights Faster 2.0. Enjoy! -J
Just look at five-time world record holder Jordan Syatt. He’s been crushing the conditioning circuits as of late, showcasing many kettlebell circuits on his various social media platforms, and in his own words, “I haven’t lost a gain. Not a single one.”
As much as I hate to say it, not every day can be a heavy deadlift day.
[Note from Jordan: I hate it, too, but Jen’s right. If you really want to make progress you need to know when to lay off the heavy lifting.]
Circuit training, metabolic conditioning, or lifting weights faster, as I call it, when combined with heavy strength training serves to round out the equation of well-balanced fitness.
Incorporating conditioning throughout your training cycle can lead to a faster metabolism, a happier heart, a better hormonal profile, more mitochondria and greater capillary density — all while preserving your existing muscle mass.
But here’s another reason powerlifters ought to consider lifting weights faster: Speed matters, and on two levels. First, explosive muscle contractions are more metabolically expensive than a slower contraction performed under the same amount of load. This likely has to do with the recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers being more energetically costly to fire. What does this mean? It means circuit training absolutely torches calories and you can say buh-bye to the stereotypical overweight powerlifter physique.
You’d be hard-pressed to find any lifter that would disagree that getting better at moving quickly has at least some sort of carryover to your competition lifts.
Ready to hit it?
I’ve got a barbell-plus-bodyweight finisher for you to shred (and get shredded on) below.
Try it after a heavy strength session and use light weight. The key is to move the weight on the barbell movements as quickly and safely as possible with perfect form. Take a practice round if you need to and adjust from there.
Name: The Iron Grater: Get shredded with your barbell and kettlebell.
Suggested Equipment: Just your body, barbell and kettlebell (all the iron).
Instructions: Complete three rounds of this circuit as quickly as possible. Take breaks as needed (but try to take them at the bottom of the round).
Suggested Time: 10 Minutes
Bodyweight Jumping Lunge
- Start in the bottom of a split squat position. Your front thigh should be parallel to the floor, your torso upright (a little lean forward is find), and your abs braced.
- Jump up explosively and switch leg positions in the air. Your back leg becomes the front leg, and vice versa. Focus on landing quietly with each jump, allowing your muscles to absorb the impact. Keep your front knee tracking in line with your foot.
- Alternate sides without resting for the desired number of repetitions.
- Power clean a barbell up to your shoulders, or take it off a power rack.
- Initiate a front squat by pushing your butt backward and bending your knees. Keeping your torso upright and your knees in line with your toes, lower yourself as far as you are comfortably able.
- (If it’s not very far, adjust your foot position and try turning your toes slightly outward, but don’t go farther than is comfortable.)
- Again keeping your knees tracking with the direction of your feet, stand up to the starting position while simultaneously and explosively pressing the barbell overhead. (The front squat should “flow” into the push press.)
- Carefully lower the barbell back down to your shoulders and immediately lower back down into a squat when the bar is racked. (Again, the push press should “flow” into the front squat.)
- Repeat this motion, moving carefully yet explosively between the parts of the movement, for the desired number of repetitions.
Bodyweight Hand-Release Pushup
- Start in a straight-arm plank position, facing downward with your body elevated between your hands and toes.
- Line up your hands directly under your shoulders, just wider than your rib cage.
- With a stiff core and squeezed glutes, lower your body completely down to the floor in control, angling your elbows out to no more than 45 degrees.
- At the bottom position, raise your hands up off the floor by lightly squeezing your shoulder blades together. Keep your core stiff and glutes squeezed together.
- Push back up in one fluid motion without letting your low back sag. Your chest and thighs should come off the floor at the same time.
Barbell Bent-Over Row
- Deadlift the barbell to your waist or pick it up out of the rack. Hinge forward at the hips approximately 45 degrees while staying wide across the chest.
- Your hand placement should be wider than your hips.
- Keeping your forearms perpendicular throughout the entire rowing motion, pull the bar up to your navel.
- Return to the start position and repeat.
- Keep your shoulders down and away from your ears throughout this movement.
Kettlebell Russian Twist
- Start in a seated position on the floor with your legs bent and your spine tall.
- Holding a weight to your sternum, lean back.
- Rotating through your rib cage, move the weight from hip to hip.
- Challenge the core more by leaning back farther (while still maintaining a tall chest) or elevating your feet to balance on your butt.
Ready to shred some iron…faster?
If you’re looking to amp up your conditioning in creative and productive ways, I’ve put together a mammoth 180-workout pick-and-choose library called Lift Weights Faster 2.0.
Complete with a full exercise glossary that includes written descriptions and photographic demonstrations of nearly 270 exercises (from classic moves to more unusual ones — the Jefferson deadlift, anyone?), a video library that includes coaching on 30 of the more technical lifts, 10 challenge-workout videos, plus a dynamic warm-up routine, I’ve combined my training and athletic experience with my long background in magazine publishing to create a clear-cut, easy-to-use resource that you’ll want to turn to all the time.
Every workout is organized by the equipment you have available and how much time you’ve got, with options that last anywhere from 5 up to 30-minutes.
Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I teamed up with my husband, David Dellanave, to create a strength program companion resource called Get Stronger Faster 2 to help you take your strength level to the next level. This completes the total workout package and helps you get results, faster.
For more info, CLICK HERE.
Jen Sinkler, RKC II, PCC, PM, USAW, is a longtime fitness writer for national magazines such as Women’s Health and Men’s Health. A former member of the U.S. national women’s rugby team, she currently trains clients at The Movement Minneapolis. Jen talks fitness, food, happy life and general health topics at her website, www.jensinkler.com