August 31, 2022

An Active Recovery Workout: Bodyweight Exercise Circuit

Happy Thursday!

This week, I’m back in the gym with a Bodyweight Exercise Circuit that’s ideal for those of you who lift heavy weights and need a lighter workout day but don’t want to rest.

For me, this is an active recovery workout, but for some of you this can be a great way to do some conditioning (even though some of the exercises I’m performing are at an advanced level).

For this workout, do 10 reps of each exercise with a 1-minute rest period between sets, building up to 5 sets. The way it’s designed, it’s a high-density workout and not a high-intensity one. (You’re only using body weight in a high-density workout whereas going with higher loads you can’t lift many times is considered a high-intensity workout.)

Once you’re able to do five sets, you can always add more reps. If you want to incorporate strength training to this workout, you can add weights. If you want to increase endurance and strength, you can add more reps.

Some quick notes about each exercise:

bodyweight squat

1 ¼ bodyweight squat: I learned this exercise from the late Charles Poliquin when we worked out together in the mid 90s. If you have back or disc problems or feel pain running down your leg, I would avoid this exercise.

swiss ball drop recover

Swiss ball drop and recover (both legs): I developed this exercise years ago for combat athletes, wrestlers, rugby players and people who needed to develop more extensor strength, rotation power and coordination. Just be sure to use the right size of Swiss ball! You’ll know this because the thigh bone and knee joint should be about parallel with each other.

rock climber chinup

Rock climber chin-up: This is another challenging exercise, so if it’s too hard for you to perform, I recommend doing standard chin-ups. People get confused about the grip of a chin-up (palms over the bar) versus a pull-up (palms under the bar). By the way, the fatter the handle, the harder the chin-up.

sb lunge

Swiss ball lunges (both legs): This is a good exercise particularly for tennis or hockey players who do lots of deep lunging and even people like me who have to get low to the ground to pick up heavy rocks. At one point, I was doing this exercise with 100-pound dumbbells in each hand, but I’m not pushing myself so hard these days at the ripe old age of 61.

bruce lee pushup

Modified Bruce Lee push-up with a Swiss ball: This is another advanced exercise (based on my Primal Pattern™ system) I modified by incorporating a Swiss ball to make it even harder. This combines push and bend movements with a balance component. You’ll achieve great core conditioning with this neurologically rich exercise.


The real moral here is to be creative with your exercise. Don’t do the same things all the time. When you do exercise and fitness regularly, it’s a lot more fun and healthier for you and you never fall into the trap of not having enough vitality.

Love and chi,