The right way to do a long workout

Spending hours on end runningcycling, climbing, fill in the blank, is not the only way to become a stronger athlete. In fact, mixing it up and challenging other muscle groups regularly will make you more balanced, less bored and provide all kinds of performance benefits.

This creative circuit training routine created by Hicham Haouzi, a Tier X coach at Columbus Circle in New York City, is all about learning to pace yourself so you can go harder, longer. “Each multi-planar exercise works to improve mobility, power, strength, speed and agility—all while building endurance and burning lots of calories,” he says. The whole workout (from warm-up to cool-down) should take between 75 and 90 minutes to complete.

The warm-up (10 to 15 minutes)

Rather than just jogging on the treadmill for a few minutes before your next training session, do your body a favor and try this dynamic warm-up from Julie Wandzilak, a Tier X coach in Greenwich, Connecticut, instead. “These moves are designed specifically to prep your joints and muscles for the workout you’re about to tackle and target everything from your upper body, down,” she says. Perform 2 or 3 sets, depending on how you feel (or how many kinks you have to work out).

Get the moves >

The workout (65 to 75 minutes)

Perform the first circuit four times through (working at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate), with a 90-second recovery between each set. Rest for a few minutes, and then move on to the second circuit. After a short rest, finish things off with a short, high-intensity cardio session.

Circuit one (22 minutes): 

Perform each exercise for 1 minute, moving immediately from one to the next. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat entire circuit. Do 4 rounds.

Kettlebell swing

Stand with feet slightly more than shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell with both hands, arms extended in front of you. Squat, pushing hips behind you, and lower kettlebell between legs. Drive hips forward as you swing kettlebell up to shoulder level in front of you, keeping shoulders down and abs engaged. Use control as you lower back to start; immediately repeat.

ViPR Cossack squat carry hold press

Stand with feet wide, toes pointed slightly out to sides, holding a ViPR with both hands straight overhead. Bend left knee, keeping right leg extended and right foot flexed toward ceiling, as you lower ViPR above left shoulder and go into a deeper squat. Move back through center, pressing ViPR overhead and repeat to right. Continue alternating sides, maintaining control throughout.

Plank hold reach

Start in full or modified plank position, with palms or elbows directly under shoulders, abs engaged, legs extended behind you. Keeping shoulders down and body as still as possible, lift right arm straight in front of you up to shoulder level. Lower arm; repeat on left. Continue alternating sides while holding plank throughout.

High knees jump rope

Jump rope with alternating high knees, going at your own comfortable speed.

Rest for 2 to 3 minutes, then start circuit two.

Circuit two (22 minutes)

Perform each exercise for 1 minute, moving immediately from one to the next. Rest 90 seconds, then repeat entire circuit. Do 4 rounds.

Kettlebell front squat/press

Stand with feet at shoulder-width, holding a kettlebell in each hand. Curl weights up to shoulders, palms facing in. Squat, pushing hips behind you, keeping knees behind toes, and then as you stand back up, press arms directly overhead. Repeat.

Lateral sandbell slams

Stand with feet at shoulder-width, holding a sandbell directly overhead. Rotate torso and pivot feet to left as you squat slightly and slam sandbell down to ground, beside left foot. Pick sandbell back up, rotate back through center, and repeat slam/squat to right. Continue alternating sides, maintaining control throughout.

ViPR reverse lunge rainbow

Stand with feet together, holding a ViPR by its handles at shoulder level in front of you, elbows bent by sides. Lunge back with left leg, bending both knees, as you lift left arm up and overhead, lowering ViPR on your right side. Return to start; repeat. Alternate legs with each circuit set.

Lateral shuffle to skater hold

Stand with feet at hip-width, elbows bent by sides. Go into skater position—bend right knee, lift left leg behind you and hinge forward from hips, swinging right arm forward, left arm back. Take two fast shuffle steps over to the left, and then go into skater position and hold. Repeat movement back to right. Continue moving back and forth.

Rest 4 to 5 minutes, then start the cardio intervals.

Cardio (10 minutes): 

Perform each cardio interval at the highest intensity possible, paying attention to when you need to actively recover throughout. Take note of how long it takes you to complete the session, and then aim to finish faster next time.

500 meters on the SkiErg

50 calories on the AirDyne

500 meters on the rowing machine


Spend 10 to 15 minutes walking it out and performing some breathing exercises/gentle stretches to bring your heart rate back down.