Bloomberg Square Mile Relay: Circuit Training with Virgin Active

As part of my involvement with Team Virgin Active in the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay, I participated in the second of three training sessions during the weekend – for the team comprising of bloggers and staff from Virgin Active’s public relations company.

Click here to find out more about Virgin Active and the Bloomberg Square Mile Relay.

Sweaty but happy after the intensive training session.

Sweaty but happy after the intensive training session.

Intense circuit training

The workout this weekend comprised of a very intense circuit training style session. After a few warm up exercises like last week on the power plates, we were ready to begin.

For this week’s workout, we were required to rotate between four different types of activities – this was basically circuit training.

Running on the treadmill, under the instructor's guidance.

Running on the treadmill, under the instructor’s guidance.

A balancing act on the manually powered treadmill

The first activity in the circuit was sprinting for one minute on Virgin Active’s Woodway treadmills. This treadmill is quite different from the standard versions, in that it functions on manual power – and not electricity. This means that the treadmill runs on human energy depending on how fast you run or walk. In fact, apart from a screen that tracks workout basics such as the time, distance and pace, there are no buttons on this treadmill.

The treadmill belt is also slightly curved, like that of a hamster loop. With no electricity, you have to start running or walking in order to get the belt moving. And the faster you run, the faster the belt would move too. If you want to get it to stop, hold the handlebars on the sides and slow down.

I soon realised that it was very important to control my speed and pace when I was running on the manual treadmill, because going at too high speeds definitely made me fall off the treadmill easily.

Working out the abs and the core muscles

This is how you're supposed to twist your body.

This is how you’re supposed to twist your body.

The next workout was to hold a weighted medicine ball with both hands and twist the waist from side to side in a 45-degree turn, making sure that the head is turned at an additional 45-degree angle from the body.

Doing this engages the abs and the core muscles because they are required to twist the body. With the weighted medicine ball being held in the hands, this puts more pressure on the body and so more energy is required to twist it at an angle.

Doing this after the treadmill running really zapped the energy and strength out of me. But I’m sure it was beneficial to my core muscle development.

Sapping the energy out of the arms

Yes, that's the right way to wave your arms.

Yes, that’s the right way to wave your arms.

To build strength in our arms, we held onto an incredibly heavy rope, termed as a “battle rope” while doing alternate waving arm movements, and maintaining a squat position at the same time. We had to do this for one full minute.

When you first begin, this activity doesn’t seem too tough – but after a few seconds, I felt that my arms were beginning to quickly tire, and they were starting to feel like lead – but this was a good arm strengthening exercise for me.

Driving the hips forward to swing a kettlebell

This is how you're supposed to pick up the kettlebell.

This is how you’re supposed to pick up the kettlebell.

Using a kettlebell (resembling a mini bowling ball with a handle) is a common, but excellent activity for cardio, strength and flexibility training.

We did the standard kettlebell swing for a full minute. This basically consisted of driving the hips forward while using the arms to swing the kettlebell. As we did this, the instructor constantly reminded us that the motion was to come from the hips rather than the arms.

Exhausting circuit training session

We did three rounds of the circuit training session. The first was a practice round, but the subsequent two were for real. By the end of the first round alone, I was feeling pretty exhausted, but I pushed myself to complete all three rounds.

Overall it was definitely a great workout session for me and I felt that I really benefitted from the circuit and strength training for my run next month.

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