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Anatomy of The Ultimate Bodyweight Circuit

Anatomy of The Ultimate Bodyweight Circuit for Fat Burning
guest post by Craig Ballantyne,
creator of the New 6 -Minute System

No matter what your clients exact goal, whether it’s to a bit shed fat or completely transform your body, bodyweight workouts are far superior to long, slow, boring cardio. Canadian researchers recently found that doing as little as four minutes of bodyweight exercises was more effective than thirty minutes of traditional cardio.

But most bodyweight programs have it all wrong.You need to expand your horizons. You need to use a specific series of movement. You need to be challenged by “20-10? protocols, 1-minute challenges, bodyweight gauntlets, and even “Punisher Holds”

It’s with these unique techniques that you can create The Ultimate Bodyweight Circuit for Fat Burning.

Anatomy of The Ultimate Bodyweight Circuit

It all starts with the Big 5. This is where you’ll start if you’re new to this type of training. The Big 5 Bodyweight Circuit for Fat Burning has been used by thousands of my online clients, along with dozens of my personal training clients here in Toronto. From obese men to little old ladies, to average folks just wanting to get back into shape, I’ve put all levels of ability through the Big 5.

The Big 5 exercises consist of a squat, a pull movement, a push movement, a single-leg movement, and a total-body ab exercise. The ultimate bodyweight circuits are to be completed in that specific order.

For example, a beginner workout would look something like this:

  1. Lying hip extension
  2. Stick-up or bodyweight inverted row
  3. Modified push-up
  4. One-leg lying hip extension
  5. Plank or side plank

Each exercise can be done for time (i.e. 20-30 seconds each), with a short rest break of around 10-15 seconds between each exercise. One minute rest is included at the end of the circuit, before repeating the whole thing one more time. That’s a great circuit for a beginner.

An advanced version of the Big 5 looks like this, and incorporates as many “double muscle” moves as possible. For example, the chin-up with knee-up allows you to hit two major muscle groups at once.

  1. Prisoner squat
  2. Chin-up with knee-up (bring your knees to your chest as you lift yourself up)
  3. Spiderman push-up
  4. Prisoner Bulgarian split squat
  5. Cross-body mountain climber

Challenge yourself to a certain number of repetitions (one rep short of failure for chin-ups, pull-ups and split squats) and timed sets (45 of squats and mountain climbers). Do not rest between exercises. Allow one minute of recovery at the end of the circuit, and work up to doing the circuit a total of four times.

There’s still one elite level beyond the Big 5. It’s called the Big 7 Fat Burning Circuit.

In addition to the Big 5, we add a Power Exercise at the start of the circuit, and a Finisher Exercise at the end.

For example, and intermediate circuit would look something like this:

  • Power Exercise (jumping jacks, jump rope, or total-body extension)
  • Big 5 Bodyweight Circuit
  • Finisher Exercise (wall squat hold, or narrow-stance bodyweight squats)

The Power Exercise is done for 20 seconds, and the Finisher Exercise can be done for up to 45 seconds, depending on the intensity of the move and the fitness of the client.

An even more advanced version of the Big 7  uses more powerful moves and tougher challenges:

  • Power Exercise (low box jump, burpees, or prisoner squat jumps)
  • Big 5 Bodyweight Circuit
  • Finisher Exercise (punisher squats, total-body extensions, or mountain climbers)

The Power Exercise is done for 20 seconds, and the Finisher Exercise can be done for up to 60 seconds, or even a full eight rounds using the “20-10? protocol outline below.

These workouts prove that you don’t need treadmill sprints or other methods of advanced interval training to lose your belly fat, get a flat stomach, or even cut your way down to a serious set of six-pack abs.

If you want to make your bodyweight circuit even more incredible, you can use the following advanced training methods:

  • Punisher Holds
  • Bodyweight Gauntlets
  • 6-minute Ab Circuits

Punisher Holds are excellent for accelerating fat loss, and can be added to your squats, rows and push-up. To do them, simply hold your body in the position of highest tension, as in the bottom of a squat or the top of a bodyweight row. This increases the metabolic demand and total calorie-burn of these exercises.

It’s most effective to use the “20-10? system for Punisher Holds. This is where you do the exercise for 20 seconds, then hold the bottom position for 10 seconds. That’s one Punisher. Intermediates do four Punishers in a row, while advanced trainees take the full challenge and go for eight back-to-back Punishers. These will leave your quads sucking up calories all day long, and put your fat-burning into “Afterburn” mode for 48 hours.

Bodyweight Gauntlets are the best way to target a trouble spot, or build muscular endurance in the push-up your find most challenging. When you build your Big 5 Bodyweight Circuit, simply add one more exercise to the mix. For example, if you wanted to add a push-up gauntlet, your circuit would look something like this:

  1. Squat
  2. Pulling movement
  3. Challenging push-up
  4. Single-leg movement
  5. Challenging push-up
  6. Total-body ab exercise

By adding the second round of challenging push-ups, you get another chance to increase your endurance, after allowing your chest, shoulders and triceps to recover during the single-leg movement. It’s a sneaky little trick for adding more Turbulence to your workout, and more fat burning to your recovery period..

You can get VERY far using only these workouts. They’re great!

But some of my clients have asked for a complete program that fits into their busy lives. So I took my 15+ years of research into fat loss and body transformations, and created what I believe is my most exciting system yet.

It takes just 6 minutes each morning, but FORCES your body to burn 400% more fat each and every day. It’s a unique “food and movement” system that works miracles in just 6 minutes!

This is really cool stuff.

Click here to check out Craig’s 6-Minute System! (video)

 6-Minute Solution(text version) 



 Craig Ballantyne is the creator of the 6-Minute System. Craig is a certified Strength and Conditioning coach, whose training and nutrition tips feature regularly in magazines such as Men’s Fitness.


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