Today's Workout: 112713

As many rounds as possible in 20:00 of:
5 Pullups
10 Pushups
15 Squats
Why is a 20-minute circuit better than running?
‘Cindy’ is more than a circuit: it’s a circuit of movements that will cause most to approach failure. That’s important.
In a machine-based circuit, the jockey exerciser  can’t work hard enough to rise above an aerobic response. It’s not bad, just not optimal. Even if you do 500 reps on the chest press before the bell chimes to turn the page switch machines, it’s unlikely you’ll reach a point of muscular failure. This systemic fatigue is nice, because it clears your head and burns some fat. Good.
A run of 20 minutes may incorporate some hills, and lift you above a comfortably high heart rate. The fatigue you feel will be systemic (you’re out of breath before anything hurts, and you can just go slower to lower your heart rate.) There may be some lactic acid in your legs the first few times, and the effort required to metabolize blood-borne waste will keep your metabolism high for hours. Better.
But when you group three exercises together that are tough on their own – dozens of pullups, hundreds of squats and pushups – in a time limit, you’re going to get localized fatigue. For me, it’s the pushups: after 10 rounds, my chest and triceps start to burn…and then I do three more, because the squats don’t hurt as badly, at least until the eighteenth round. Many will find this true of the pull-ups first.
Put these three together, and you’re confronting localized fatigue on three fronts: the pullers and abs (pull-ups,) the pushers (pushups) and the legs (squats.) That’s a LOT to metabolize. You’re going to get tired and stay tired, but you’ll feel as if you’ve won something at the end. That’s the best.
Aerobic activity, like riding a bike or riding an elliptical trainer, won’t get you far without HOURS of soul-sucking, life-wasting pedaling. Circuit training is a bit better, but if you can do it comfortably, it’s not helping. Running for 20 minutes is the same: if you can do it comfortably, you can do it better. A 20-minute workout like “Cindy,” done it a group and under a coach, gives you everything you want.
For the racers: you’re going to reach a point where you can do 20 reps in 20:00. This is akin to running a 20:00 5k. Good for you. Now push harder. Cut your transition time, grab the bar faster. Set up closer to the pullup bar. Do the first 10 rounds as fast as possible (around a :45-second pace) and shoot for 1:00 rounds for the next 10. Then finish with 22.

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