3x3x3 Calorie-Torching Workout

Bring on the sweat!

Moving quickly from one exercise to another instead of resting for a minute or more in between as is the norm makes circuit training much more time-efficient than more traditional forms of resistance training.

Not only do you save valuable time, with circuit training, you also improve multiple fitness components within the same workout – specifically cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance – while burning lots of calories.

Because circuit training is predominately anaerobic in nature, it also triggers a significant increase in post-exercise metabolic rate which results in more calories being burnt; very useful if fat loss is your goal.

3x3x3 Workout

This circuit workout consists of three groups of three exercises performed for three sets each. Using nothing but your own body for resistance, it is possible to get a very effective workout in a relatively short space of time.

The 3x3x3 workout use exercises in an unusual set/rep format to deliver a great workout that addresses several fitness components at the same time without the need to expensive gym equipment or lots of space. 

Instructions: Perform 60-seconds of each of the first three exercises. On completion, immediately perform 40-seconds of the same three exercises. Finally, perform 20-seconds of the first three exercises and then take a rest. If you have managed your timings correctly, this should have taken you six-minutes in total. 

Once you have rested, use the same 60, 40, 20-second timings for the second group of three exercises. Rest again and apply the same timeframe to the third and final three exercises. 

Circuit 1

1 Lunges

Muscles used: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes

How to perform:

  • Stand with your feet together and hands clasped on top of your head.
  • Take a large step forward, bend your legs and lower your rear knee toward the floor.
  • Stand back up and recover your leading leg.
  • Perform your next rep leading with your opposite leg. Alternate legs until the time has elapsed. 

Tips: Keep your hands by your sides if balance proves difficult. 

2 Push-Ups

Muscles used: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps 

How to perform:

  • Place your hands on the floor at around shoulder-width apart. Walk your feet back so your body forms a straight line from heels to shoulders.
  • Keeping your abs tight and chin tucked in, bend your arms and lower your chest to the floor.
  • Push back up and repeat. 

Tips: Bend your legs and rest on your knees for a less challenging push-up. 

3 Bicycle Crunch

Muscles used: Abdominals, hip flexors

How to perform:

  • Lie on your back with your legs straight and hands touching your temples. Raise your feet six-inches off the floor.
  • Bend your left leg and pull your knee toward your chest as you simultaneously sit up and twist your right elbow to meet it.
  • Lie back down and extend your leg but do not lower it to the floor.
  • Immediately repeat but bending your opposite knee. 

Tips: If you are unable to keep your feet elevated, bend your legs and place your feet flat on the floor. To make it more challenging keep your legs and arms straight (as illustrated above).

Circuit 2

4 Squat Jumps

How to do squat jumps illustration

Muscles used: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes

How to perform:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and descend into a quarter-depth squat.
  • Using your arms for extra momentum, leap up into the air and land on slightly bent knees.
  • Descend and repeat. 

Tips: If high impact exercises cause you pain, just do full range squats minus the jump. 

5 Bench Dips

Muscles used: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps

How to perform:

  • Sit on a bench with your legs extended out in front of you. Place your hands on the bench next to your hips, fingers facing forward. Lift your butt and swing it forward so it is clear of the bench.
  • Bend your arms and lower your butt straight down toward the floor.
  • Only descend as deeply as shoulder comfort permits.
  • Push back up and repeat. 

Tips: The further your legs are extended in front of you, the more weight is placed on your hands. Move your feet to adjust the difficulty of this exercise.

6 Seated Russian Twist

Muscles used: Abdominals, hip flexors, obliques 

How to perform:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs bent and feet flat. Anchor your feet beneath a heavy object. Clasp your hands together and extend your arms at shoulder-height.
  • Lean back until your body is reclined to around 45-degrees. Maintaining that angle, rotate your body through 90-degrees to the left and right. 

Tips: Make this exercise easier by crossing your hands over your chest. Hold a weight in your hands for a harder workout. 

Circuit 3

7 Step-Ups

Muscles used: Quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes

How to perform:

  • Stand facing a knee-high bench with your hands by your sides.
  • Step up onto the bench with your left leg and then with your right. Step back down to the floor.
  • Repeat the exercise but this time lead with your opposite leg.
  • Continue to alternate legs for the duration of your set. 

Tips: Keep your torso upright and make sure your lead leg does the most work by avoiding pushing off the floor excessively with your trailing leg. 

8 Spiderman Push-Ups

Muscles used: Pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps

How to perform:

  • Adopt the push-up position with your arms extended and core tight.
  • Bend your elbows, simultaneously bend one knee and pull your leg up along the outside of your body until your knee touches your elbow. When viewed from above this should resemble a crawling action.
  • Push back up and place your leg back in the starting position.
  • Perform another repetition but this time raise your opposite leg. Continue alternating sides for the duration of your set. 

Tips: If you are unable to perform this exercise comfortably, bend your legs and drop to your knees for three-quarter push-ups. 

9 Skydivers

Muscles used: Erector spinae 

How to perform:

  • Lie on your front with your feet together and your hands touching your temples.
  • Lift your head, shoulders and chest up by around 12-inches while keeping your feet firmly pressed in to the floor.
  • Lower yourself back to the starting position and repeat. 

Tips: Place your hands on your lower back for an easier workout. Anchor your feet by pressing them against a wall if they tend to lift. 

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