Ok this is really the last of the circuits. Brian and I decided on one more and we were determined to end on a good one.
What is the Death Circuit?
What follows is a modification of the Survivor Circuit (formerly known as the Death Circuit). The Death Circuit was developed at the University of Nebraska in the 80’s.
In Advances in Functional Training, Michael Boyle discusses doing a modification of the Survivor Circuit that he uses with the Boston University Hockey team. He modified the original Survivor Circuit using more full body exercises. His athletes did the workout in a sequesnce but would not all start with the same exercise. Boyle’s general exercise order is lower body, upper pull, upper push, core.
Eighty seconds is used to perform each set and rest for the next one. Reps are still done at normal speed and the remainder of the time is rest. This should work out to approximately 20 seconds of work and 60 seconds of rest. Each exercise is done for 10 reps at your 8-10RM. Three sets are done of each exercise before moving on to the next one.
I modified the circuit to eliminate the single joint exercises. I chose the exercise order of knee dominant, hip dominant, upper push, upper pull. I chose not to do core exercises in this circuit because I wanted to maintain the 10 RM intensity.
- hip thrusts
- bench press
- right leg lunge
- left leg lunge
- close grip bench
- dumbell row
This circuit should theoretically take about 36 minutes.
So, how did it go? Did we survive? Was it Death?
Brian and I did this circuit together taking turns doing sets. I started the stopwatch but it was difficult to keep track of exact times at 80s intervals. We definitely got behind in the squats which was sort of expected. I tried to keep a mental note of where we should be if we were on a 90 second interval. Still wasn’t successful. With all of the changing of weight between his sets and mine staying totally on time was impossible.
I wish that I had kept my watch running but I restarted it at the lunges. Lunges to the end took up 25 minutes. I’d estimate we completed the circuit in 45 minutes instead of 36.
Overall, this was still an excellent full body workout but it did not quite live up to the hype. If we could have cut out nine minutes of rest, I’m sure it would have been a different story. I might try this circuit in the future by myself to see what it feels like if I can stick to the times.
If I weighed 200 lbs like Brian, this circuit would have gone a lot more smoothly. Still, I think you’d really have to be cooking to get everything done in the given amount of time. I was never standing around resting. Perhaps this is why the original used machines. I imagine athletes working with Boyle move from station to station rather than having to move benches around, find dumbells, etc. Just goes to show, you can’t necesarily just take a workout, copy it, and expect it to work exactly the same way for your situation.
Saying Goodbye to Circuits and to Brian
Brian and I have been doing circuit training for about six weeks. I think the Survivor Circuit would have been a lot more challenging if we had tried this at the beginning of our circuit training together. I have made ridiculous gains in strength endurance in a very short amount of time. The first time I tried the Olympic lifting circuit, three times through felt like a death circuit to me. Three weeks later I did five rounds with no problem. I’ve also added ten pounds to my bench press despite the fact that I haven’t lifted heavy at all in the past six weeks.
Training with Brian was awesome. In the end, neither of succeeded in making the other puke. It was a lot of fun trying though! Brian was reliable, fun, and knew how to work. Excellent training partners are hard to find and I can’t thank him enough.
Unfortunately Brian and I will now be parting ways. I think he’d make an awesome ultimate player and he once tried to tell me I’d be good at jujitsu. Alas, we are different athletes with different sports and it’s time to move on to more sports specific training.