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Powerbag Circuit | Full Body Conditioning

A fitness trainer completing a powerbag circuit.

The powerbag is a diverse training tool that boasts a bewildering number of exercise applications. They can be used to develop strength, muscle endurance, power (of course), and whole-body functional fitness.


In addition to being as versatile as a Swiss army knife, powerbags can be incorporated into a wide range of training sessions. For example, mixing up your general gym workouts by throwing in a few powerbag exercises would spice up your session and engage your muscles in ways conventional resistance training couldn’t.


As well as adding a dynamic twist to your training, powerbags can take a lead role. Using this list of powerbag exercises, you could have hours of fun creating AMRAPs, EMOMs, HIIT workouts, and, as you’ll soon find out, circuits.

An image of a power bag.

Why do this powerbag circuit

Now we’ve briefly considered the general application of powerbags, let’s have a look at some fitness benefits of this circuit.


Chief among a long list of benefits is functional fitness. The powerbag circuit has been designed to develop dynamic whole-body physicality. What that means is it engages a broad spectrum of fitness components. Cardio training targets the aerobic system and resistance exercise muscular strength.


This powerbag circuit incorporates the following components of fitness:


Strength
Cardiovascular
Muscle endurance
Power
Coordination

Another attribute of this circuit is its effectiveness to burn fat. While one whirl of the circuit won’t make a noticeable difference to the dimensions of your waistline, it will if you can find a permanent place for it in your routine.


Its capacity to consume calories is a consequence of three distinct factors. First, the powerbag exercises are either compound or functional movements. Thus, they engage one or more of the major muscle groups.


Second, incorporated into the circuit are short duration medium- to high-intensity cardio intervals. Third, the training volume is high. For the duration of the circuit, the objective is to maintain a consistent work rate.


Powerbag circuit health & fitness benefits

Whole-body workout
Engages a wide range of fitness components
Develops functional strength
Elevates heart rate for a protracted period
Offers a novel training alternative

How to do this powerbag circuit

The circuit is comprised of 10 exercises – not all of which involve a powerbag. Your objective is to cycle through one full lap of the circuit. Concluding each lap there is a short cardio station to complete.


To make this powerbag circuit accessible to a wider audience, it has been organised into three difficulty levels – low, medium, and high. Across the three levels, the exercises do not change. All that differentiates the levels is the number of laps and duration of the cardio station.


The rep count per exercise is capped at 10. (But you can reduce or increase this to suit your physical ability and training experience.) The rep range remains the same for the three levels, which are as follows:


Low: 6 laps – 2-minute cardio (600 reps total)
Medium: 8 lap – 3-minutes cardio (800 reps total)
High: 10 laps – 4-minutes cardio (1000 reps total)

Power bag circuit key points

  • Ensure to complete the circuit-specific warm-up prior to picking up that bag!

  • Select the level most suited to your current level of fitness.

  • Maintaining a training intensity commensurate with your exercise objectives, complete the number of circuit laps stipulated by the level chosen (see above).

  • After each lap of the circuit, progress straight into the cardio station. A point of note. The cardio exercise has not been specified. Why the choice? you may be asking. Well, as with the level structuring, having exercise options ensures more people can participate in the workout. Also, those with limited exercise kit – say, just a lone powerbag at home – will be able to tailor the circuit to suit their training facility.


10 minute warm up

  • 5-minutes cardio (run/row/cycle/skip) – maintain a low-intensity pace

  • 10 reps of air squats, burpees, and press-ups

  • 3-minutes cardio (run/row/cycle/skip) – maintain a low- to medium-intensity pace

  • 15 reps of air squats, burpees, and press-ups

  • 2-minutes cardio (run/row/cycle/skip) – maintain a medium- to high-intensity pace

  • 20 reps of air squats, burpees, and press-ups,

  • 1-minute cardio (run/row/cycle/skip) – maintain a high/maximum-intensity pace

  • 10 reps powerbag bent rows and squats


The session plan of the Hungry4Fitness powerbag circuit. How it works After a vigorous warm-up, start at the first exercise – powerbag deadlifts – and proceed to complete one full lap of the circuit. Concluding the lap, transition straight to the cardio station. Engage in the cardio exercise of your choice for the stipulated duration (Low = 2-minutes; Medium = 3-minutes; High = 4-minutes). From here you have two options. Option 1: take a minute rest. Option 2: don’t rest and instead get back into the circuit.

Powerbag circuit hints and tips

If your memory’s anything like mine – sieve-like – you’ll have forgotten the exercise ordering halfway round the circuit. To avoid missing exercises, and to improve the fluidity of the circuit, have the session plan to hand. Follow it for a couple of laps until the exercise ordering is firmly cemented in your mind.


It’s helpful to have a range of differently weighted powerbags on standby. The rationale. A weight that’ll test your push-pressing power probably won’t tickle your deadlift. By having a light and heavy bag at the ready, you’ll be able to maximise your performance on each exercise. When I completed this circuit, I used a 50kg bag for the deadlifts and squats and a 35kg bag for the hang cleans and push presses.


My personal experiences of this power bag workout

The circuit is surprisingly a bit of scorcher. I say surprisingly because on paper it looks like a pushover. My tactic going into the workout was to maintain a medium-intensity output through the resistance exercises but then to open up the throttle, so to speak, during the cardio station.


For the cardio exercise I selected skipping. As I outline in this HIIT Jump Rope Workout, skipping is by far one of the most effective cardio exercises we can do. In addition to engaging the aerobic system, skipping also activates a score of muscle groups.


Related: Best all-purpose Skipping Rope

Another reason why I selected skipping is that it acts as a recovery exercise. You will no doubt have noticed that powerbag exercises are all big compound movements that primarily target the muscles of the legs and posterior chain. These are the same muscle groups that running, cycling and rowing engage. The constant bombardment of these muscles by the resistance and CV exercises could hasten fatigue, thus making the latter laps quite challenging.


The demands of skipping, in contrast, are more evenly distributed across a wider range of muscle groups: calves, quads, glutes, shoulders, biceps, and forearms. This prior consideration, I think, enabled me to remain consistent for the entire duration of the circuit.



 

Enjoyed this workout?

Get your hands on 70 more with the Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits & Workouts Volume 2.

The image shows the Hungry4Fitness book of circuits and workouts volume two. Inside the image it identifies the key features of the book which include: Over 70 fully customisable circuits and workouts suitable for all levels of fitness and ability; 4-Week Functional Fitness Training Programme; How to create your own circuits and workouts including essential training principles; Key exercise explanations and tutorials; A complete guide to fitness testing; The 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge; CrossFit-style training sessions including EMOM, AMRAP, and HIIT workouts; An illustrated, step-by-step guide to stretching.

 

This powerbag circuit concludes with the author bio - which reads: In this text box it says: As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance! Blog Author: Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.

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