When it comes to improving your fitness and your physique people will do anything to grab your attention (and your money). ‘Ground-breaking’ new techniques, ‘guaranteed’ six packs and ‘miracle’ programmes are all on offer.
Then you speak to Toni Minichiello, a man who has trained five Olympians, including Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, plus hundreds of keen amateurs over a 25 year career and he’ll tell you, in no uncertain terms, it’s all rubbish unless you lay down the proper foundation (even then a lot of it’s still rubbish but that’s for you to decide).
I asked him if he’d be prepared to share what he means by ‘a proper foundation’. He was reluctant until I mentioned the ‘secrets of his success’. Toni is no fan of closed shops, secret squirrels or marginal gains. So he’s put his money where his mouth is, gone one better than telling me how it’s done and we’ve made a series of short films together.
Every athlete, irrespective of ability, he’s ever worked with has built their fitness, strength and functionality from the platform of a six-minute exercise circuit. It doesn’t require special equipment, the exercises have been around as long as time and pretty much anyone can do them. But Jessica Ennis-Hill did them every week of her 18 year career – from gangly youngster to becoming the best in the world. Yes, Toni’s athletes apply themselves to many other programmes that include; skill development, weights and nutrition programmes but the bedrock of their strength, fitness and functionality are their circuits.
You can now follow Toni’s circuit as the foundation for your own fitness and strength programme.
There are three levels of difficulty; beginner, intermediate and advanced. There’s a short intro to each one but in case you want to dive straight in please consider these few things:
- Start easy. You have no need to rush and punish yourself. You have time, build up slowly, listen to your body and you will begin to see the benefits.
- Make sure you’re comfortable with how you perform each exercise before you start. You can achieve this by watching the films first. Good form is critical both to gain the benefits from the circuit but also to avoid injury.
- Wear something comfy. You don’t need to buy kit but make sure you can move freely.
- Ensure the space around you is free of anything that might get in the way (including distractions).
- Ideally you need a chair or bench but feel free to get creative.
Once you’ve completed the circuit once, if you feel good, then repeat it. Toni’s athletes usually do three circuits in a session. That’s only 18 minutes of your day. Once you can comfortably complete the beginner circuit three times we suggest you progress to the next level. Once you’re doing the advanced circuit it’s all about building your intensity, whilst keeping your form.
Toni uses circuits, irrespective of what other disciplines and training programmes his athletes are working on as, over time, they enable you to develop a deeper understanding of your body. It becomes easy to recognise where you are ‘at’ dependent on the way you respond to the circuit. Enjoy yourself. Let us know how you’re going. Send us your comments, questions and videos and if you’re lucky Toni may even feedback directly.
What are you waiting for?! Click here to visit the ‘Circuit to Success’ Programme.