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Workout of the Week – Full Body Workload Test

This is an outstanding workout. I wanted to create a circuit workout using weights that would work my whole body, using all my muscles, but also one that I could work through at pace, creating an aerobic effect as well. I created my ‘Full Body Workload Test’ and then 2 variants (below) and these are all excellent tests of all round strength and fitness.

 

 

The MND Full Body Workload Test

  • 30 Push Ups, feet elevated about 18 to 24 inches
  • 20 Full Squats, shouldering a light weight. I use a 30kg barbell when I am at about 76-78kg bodyweight
  • 10 Pullovers, 10 kg weight plate, go long and slow, really stretch
  • 10 Sit-ups, on Roman Chair hugging 10kg weight plate
  • 10 Back Extensions, on Roman Chair
  • 10 regular-grip Chins, good form, no kipping
  • 20 Leg Raises, use dipping bars or hang from your chinning bar, lift legs/knees alternating side to side
  • 20 powerful Jab Cross combo’s on punch-bag
  • 20 Lunges, alternating 10 on each leg
  • 10 Regular Dips on parallel dipping bars
  • 20 Calf Raises on step/block, holding 20kg weight to chest

And you must keep moving at a steady, but fast pace –

  • NO rest between sets
  • NO rest between circuits
  • Finish 4 complete circuits
  • Must complete inside 40 minutes

The MND Full Body Workload is one of my favourite workouts, and it’s one of my measures of my own fitness.

Try it out, see how you get on, you should be able to set it up in any gym, it doesn’t need much equipment, just a chinning bar, dip bars, a sit up bench and a punch bag. So give it a try and I bet that on the first circuit you’ll be thinking “ah this is easy”. By the end of the second circuit, you should have a sweat on. By the end of the third circuit…well, I think you’ll start to feel it then. If you can breeze through the whole thing easy, all 4 circuits, then you must be pretty fit.

I love this workout. When I started doing it a couple of years ago, it used to half kill me to finish it in the allocated 40 minutes (you can go for 5 rounds in 50 minutes if you are really hard-core) but now I am getting fitter and I can finish four full circuits much faster. My personal record on this is now (late 2012):

  • 4 circuits: 28 minutes 12 seconds (wow I was on good form that day! My 2nd best is 31:22…)
  • 5 circuits: 38 minutes 28 seconds
  • 6 circuits: 49 minutes 17 seconds

All those personal bests set in late 2012 aged 42…and even now, the workout still makes me feel completely knackered by the end!

If time is tight, this is a great workout. You exercise practically every muscle in your body, so lots of heavy anaerobic muscle work, but by working at a pace, you huff and puff and get an aerobic boost too. In just 40 minutes you have worked your whole body and given your ‘metabolic fires’ a boost for the day.

Just don’t cheat. It is meant to be fast-paced, there is no rest at all in the whole thing, but keep your form strict, don’t risk injuries, no sloppy ‘kipping’ on the chins. Touch the floor with your nose on every push up. Go deep on the dips. Lunge deep so your knee brushes the floor on every rep. Try it out and let me know if you like it!

Variation 1: The MND Upper Body Workload Test

  • 30 Push Ups, feet elevated
  • 20 Leg Raises, use dipping bars, lift legs/knees alternating side to side
  • 10 regular-grip Chins, good form
  • 10 Regular Dips on parallel dipping bars
  • 20 Inverted sit-ups (hanging on chinning bar. Either use ‘anti-gravity’ boots, or hook your knees over the bar)
  • 10 Regular Dips on parallel dipping bars
  • 20 Oblique sit-ups, 10 each side, on Roman Chair (can use a sit up board/bench if you can anchor your ankles)
  • 20 Lunges, alternating 10 on each leg (really, in an upper body workout, this is only here as an ‘active rest’ for you)

Again, pace must be steady enough to maintain good form (you don’t want injuries!) but fast enough to be breathing hard and fast –

  • NO rest between sets
  • NO rest between circuits
  • Finish 5 complete circuits
  • Must complete inside 50 minutes

Variation 2: The MND Quick Workload Fitness Test

  • 30 Push Ups (flat or decline, narrow or wide, or vary on each circuit)
  • 10 regular-grip Chins, good form, no kipping
  • 10 Roman Chair sit-ups
  • 10 Regular Dips on parallel bars
  • 10 Oblique sit-ups on Roman Chair, alternate side each circuit

And again, keep the pace, steady, laboured breathing –

  • NO rest between sets
  • NO rest between circuits
  • Finish either 4, 6, or 8 complete circuits depending on available time
  • Test: Must complete 6 circuits inside 30 minutes.

My record on this 3rd variant, ‘The Quickie’ is 6 circuits in 27 mins and 30 seconds.

Don’t be fooled into thinking any of these are easy, they are not! When I first put them together, until I got used to doing them, they half killed me, and I needed almost as long afterwards to recover as the actual workout itself! Try these workouts and let me know how you get on – they are intense, fast, fun and surprisingly challenging!

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