Bodyweight Circuits for High School Sports Teams
When I first started conditioning high school sports teams (wrestling & soccer), I found out several things very quickly. At a large suburban high school, weight room time is at a premium. Running alone is gravely insufficient for overall body fitness. And finally, supervising teenage boys in a weight room is like herding cats. Enter bodyweight circuits!
Bodyweight circuits is all I used to condition my wrestlers, and now my soccer players. (I am a soccer player, myself.) The movements are composite, combining muscle groups together rather than just isolating them. Not only is this better for fast weight loss and fat burning, it is much better for joint health and gaining functional strength. It is extremely easy to supervise because everyone is doing the same exercise at the same time. I usually put the boys in concentric circles, so I can either stand in the center or walk through the circles. Since there are 6-10 different exercises in a sequence, the chance of over use injuries like those sustained in running, is significantly reduced.
Bodyweight circuits are a series of bodyweight exercises that are performed either for a certain time period, usually 30 seconds, or for a specified number of repetitions. I’ve found that whether I’m doing them myself or supervising my athletes, a set number of repetitions works better. There is no need to look at a watch or set a timer. Each circuit has 6-10 different exercises The number of exercises per workout session should be between 21 and 25, with each exercise having 20 -30 reps. The circuit is performed non-stop to maximize the cardio benefits.
This method is fantastic for almost every sport because the exercises can be tailored to each sport (i.e. more explosive jumping and kicking movements for soccer, and more lunges and upper body strength exercises for wrestling). We like to try to maintain a frequency of two circuit session per week in pre-season, in season, and off season. It’s very important that you begin with circuit training in the pre-season and continue throughout the season to prevent deconditioning.
Each circuit session is a whole body workout but in the design of that workout, you need to take care to order your exercises so that they are non-opposing, meaning that an upper body exercise is followed by a lower body exercise or a whole body exercise, rather than another upper body exercise. My favorite order is whole body, upper body, lower body.
This has worked very well for us. The coaches love it because the athletes are well conditioned and it is very efficient, leaving plenty of time for tactics. Though they are cursing at me while they are doing it, the athletes love it because their conditioning sessions are short and they see and feel the results when they play the game and when they look in the mirror, and I love it because it is quick, easy to supervise and effective. Try this circuit for your athletes and then modify it to fit your sport and your team’s fitness level.
- 60 jumping jacks
- 20 Hindu pushups
- 20 walking lunges
- 20 Spiderman push ups
- 20 Hindu squats
- 25 leg raises
- 5 burpees
- 50 high knees