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A Total Body Weekend Workout to Get You Moving!

Hi everyone! TGIF! This was one heck of a week. I’m thrilled to see the arrival of the weekend and my big Friday night plans include sitting on the couch. I’m cooking dinner and can’t wait to turn on the TV for the first time this week and catch up on Scandal. It’ll be early to bed for me since I have my long run in the morning.

I have been meaning to share this workout with you for weeks! I programmed it for a few of my training clients several weeks ago and it was one of “those workout” that they all simultaneously loved and hated me for all at the same time. It kicked EVERYONE’S booty in a big way!


Okay, here’s what we’re working with. It’s a 21-15-9 rep scheme of three different exercises with a cardio blast at the end of each round in the form of a 400 meter incline run. The way 21-15-9 works is that you’ll do 21 reps of each exercise in the first round, 15 in the second and 9 in the third. This is an intense combination of movements so the decreasing rep scheme is beneficial for helping you to keep the intensity up and maintain proper form as you fatigue.

I designed this workout to feature simple movements that would target the entire body. Upper body with the push press, core with the med ball sit ups, lower body with the knee lift step ups and cardio with the run.

Here’s your form video.

And here’s our breakdown of the movements.

Barbell or Dumbbell Push Press – bring BB or DBs to shoulder level. Dip down to about one-fifth the distance of your squat and then drive through the legs to press overhead. Be sure to fully extend the arms overhead and keep the core super engaged so you don’t dump into your low back. Be mindful as you dip down that you’re not doing a squat to overhead press (this is a small dip to help you explode through the legs!) and that you’re not allowing the knees to cave in.

Med Ball Sit Ups – grab a medicine ball (it doesn’t have to have handles like the one I am using) and reach it over the head behind you as you lay back (keep the elbows bent, you don’t have to straighten the arms out behind you) and then reach it over the head in front of you as you sit up. No med ball? Use a dumbbell or scale to bodyweight only.

Step Up with Knee Lift – plant one heel on a box and drive through the heel to lift up the opposite leg as you draw the knee into the chest. With control, tap the lifting leg back down to the ground and immediately fire back up. Perform 21/15/9 reps on each leg, breaking them into sets if you need to (example, do 10 on each leg then 11 on each leg for the round of 21). Scaling options are using a lower box (easier) or holding dumbbells in your hands (harder).  

400 Meter Incline Run – if you’re at the gym hop on the treadmill and crank the incline up to a level that feels challenging for your. 400 meters is .25 of a mile. If you’re at home, just go run outside!

As always, I welcome your questions and appreciate your feedback. Happy sweating!

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Carrie (This Fit Chick) October 3, 2014, 10:38 pm

    Woo! this looks like a killer workout! I love the video element too- thank you for doing that!

    • 2
      Jen October 6, 2014, 11:39 am

      you’re so welcome. i think it helps so much. i find that most of my clients need visual demonstrations so i figure that translates to online workouts too!

  • 3
    She Rocks Fitness October 4, 2014, 7:43 am

    That was my Friday night and I have no shame…I love my early to bed Friday nights to kick off the weekend. It’s when I catch up on all my shows and cook a quick meal and chill. 🙂 Good luck with your long run today! XOXO

  • 4
    Brynn October 4, 2014, 8:27 am

    Awesome workout! I love how dynamic the moves are, can’t wait to try it out!

  • 5
    Ally October 4, 2014, 12:23 pm

    Thanks for posting these workouts for us! Hope your long run was great, too! Now that you’re back in the distance running game, would you ever write about endurance running nutrition? Would love to hear your thoughts on pre/post-run fuel, especially when those long runs are early, but the miles are long.

  • 7
    Grace October 4, 2014, 5:07 pm

    Awesome workout, thanks! I subbed the 400m runs for rowing sprints between sets as I had run earlier in the day before I tried it. 21 push presses is no joke! I was wondering, what weight selection did you use? It felt especially tough to do those and didn’t know if I had overloaded myself. Thanks!

    • 8
      Jen October 4, 2014, 6:23 pm

      great job and love the rowing sub. that works perfectly.

      my clients used either 25, 35 or 45 pound bars depending on their strength and how they were feeling. in the set of 21, the weight should be challenging enough that you have to put the bar down and break it up but you should be getting 5-10 reps per set. ALWAYS keep the weight safe when pressing overhead and keep a super strong core!

      • 9
        Grace October 4, 2014, 9:53 pm

        Awesome, thanks so much! That makes sense 🙂

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