Recap: High-Intensity Weights Routine

Today I was amped and ready to kill it with my second workout swap with Kris O’Connor (@Krazy_Kris). (See her challenging circuit.) I love swapping routines because it puts me out of my comfort zone and it’s exciting see how I do with a totally different approach. I focus mainly on weights in my workouts and do cardio on the side… Kris focuses more on full-body functional circuits that are total butt kickers too! (Check out my first weights workout for Kris and her first endurance workout for me.)

Kris’ workout includes three parts: weights circuit, abs circuit, and a four-minute Tabata closer.

Part 1 – My Special Circuit

The first part was a circuit of six exercises/10 reps each/five times (total of 50 reps). Brief rests are “enjoyed” (as Kris puts it) between sets, and I usually spent the 60 seconds thinking about the next set of the circuit. I got all my equipment ready beforehand – a stability (Swiss) ball, medicine ball (6 lbs), small bench, a kettlebell (15 lbs), and dumbbells (15 lbs).

Wood Chopper with Medicine Ball. I do this core move with the FreeMotion machine all the time; however, doing it with a medicine ball takes more concentration. Form is even more important because you’re not pulling a cable over – you’re deliberately moving a ball along an imaginary path.

Chest Press on Swiss Ball. Another move that uses your core! You need to keep your torso up instead of letting it hang down. I used 15-lb weights because I wanted to keep the weights light. No problem so far – definitely feeling different muscles kicking in!

Kettlebell Swings. Since learning to use them our first workout swap, I really like kettlebells. I think I could’ve used a 20-lb weight, but then again, maybe not!

Tricep Bench Dips. I do these a lot – great move that really works your triceps! A nice “rest” from the first two exercises.

Assisted Pull Ups. I started off using my usual 50% of body weight, but soon found that I needed to decrease the resistance so I could actually pull off 12 reps. These were extra tough after the other four exercises!

Lunge with Torso Rotation. These are hard, y’all! Believe me, by the time you get to these, your arms are on fire. On the last set I could barely keep my arms straight. I knew I was getting an arms workout though, and it’s totally different from just working individual muscles groups like biceps.

I think that once you do this type of circuit, it gets easier pretty quickly. The first time I did Kris’ workout swap I was, uh, wiped out. This time was challenging too but I found that I did better. I definitely worked up a sweat and got a GREAT workout by doing six exercises back to back. And it saved time – I was done in 45 minutes. However, since it was my back and biceps day, I added in a few sets of low-cable rows, bent-over rows, and concentration curls after the first circuit.

Ab Circuit

These three exercises were challenging! Kris knows I like to work my abs hard so she threw these in even though the first circuit included a lot of “sneaky” core work.

Oblique Lift. Tough technique with keeping a ball between your legs while you lift them on your side. I mastered the exercise without the ball first and then tried it with a ball. Without the ball I could easily do more than 10 reps. This is one I’ll need to practice – it’s definitely going into my repertoire!

V-Sits Exchange. I know Kris tried hard to take into account all my creaky joints and various ailments. And I liked this exercise – it’s very challenging. But it tweaked a hip issue I’ve got going on so I did some straight-legged V-ups instead (without a ball).

Plank with Knee to Elbow. Tough plank variation! By then my hip kinda hurt so I did the best I could. Normally, I think I could do these without a problem. I love trying new plank variations and I think I’d tried this before. But it was super tough after the previous circuit!

Tabata Closer

I really enjoyed this segment for this second workout swap! At the end, I honestly didn’t want to stop. I had that euphoric high going on and felt like dancing around like a boxer or something. This told me something: I enjoy HIIT and should do more of it.

The HIIT strategy involves 20 seconds of sprint + 10 seconds of rest. This is repeated eight times for a total of four minutes. Kris gave a wide variety of choices to choose from, which was really nice! I chose to do bodyweight squats and jumping jacks. In the first workout swap, I did all bodyweight squats and my legs were seriously jacked for about five days. I’m not sure if doing two exercises defeats the purpose… Kris can let us know about that. But I still found it challenging.

I am definitely tired and will be sore tomorrow (it’s always interesting to see where with a full-body workout). I so appreciate Kris sharing her knowledge about endurance circuits and Tabata! I love workout swaps!

11 thoughts on “Recap: High-Intensity Weights Routine

  1. I would love a video or photo demo of some of these…especially Wood Chopper with Medicine Ball. Since I have so many injuries at the moment the only thing I can do is weights (and swimming).

    Looking for more routines!


  2. Great workout you got there! I’m betting your arms were on fire by the end of that first circuit. Two -or even four- different exercises in a Tabata routine does not negate the work as long as you move as quickly as you can to keep the heart rate up.


    • Deb: Yes, my arms were definitely on fire. I’m glad to hear I can mix it up even with Tabada!
      Kris: Me too, love the swaps and everything you’ve taught me. We do what we can at the moment and accept what time/our body can give us. You rock girlfriend.


  3. Wow – you killed it! I knew this one would be easier for you – a little less shocking and your “muscles” were more familiar to the different movement. I’m so happy for you, embracing the new stuff, tweaking things just enough to engage a bit differently.

    And I’m so grateful we’ve concocted our little workout swaps – it has been SO helpful for me (in many many ways). And yes, throwing in the jacks for the tabata is dandy – and glad you enjoyed it – even at the end!

    I’m afraid my report wont be as glowing – I was a-chugging today and didn’t have much bounce in my step. But I plugged along and got it done!

    Hugs ~


  4. I’ve been sick all weekend and have tried to avoid even reading about exercise. I have done NOTHING but lay in bed for the entire weekend. I feel like complete crap and it scares me to NOT exercise. I’m gonna mess everything up.

    Well..I’m glad I read this. I’m looking forward to getting started again!

    It’s just gonna be another day or two. 😦


    • Aw, I’m really sorry to hear that Michelle. You’re pretty cool to read my post anyway! When you’re back on your feet, let me know which workout you’re gonna do. I’d be interested to know what you’re up to! Hugs.


  5. Suzanne, I think workout swaps are an awesome idea!
    I think a lot of the times you see that gym routines can get boring for people, so this is a pretty easy way to stay motivated to work out and for it to actually work!


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