Simply Circuit

simplycircuitSimply Circuit is a cardio + strength workout, and the strength work is all upper body focused. Those types of workouts are hard to come by so as soon as I read that this was upper body focused, I bought it! I got this workout on sale on Gin Miller’s website a while ago–and it was a good deal. Only $3.99 when I bought it though it costs more now. The DVD version is not available through Amazon but it is available through Amazon Video (so streaming or download I guess?).

Gin Miller is one of the first workout DVD instructors I followed. Back when I was in my early 20s and had just had my first baby, I used Tami Lee Webb’s Buns of Steel workouts and Gin Miller’s Step Reebok workouts to lose the baby fat and get back into shape. My favorite at the time was her Step Reebok: The Video workout. I loved that workout back in the 1990s. After the accident in 2009, I returned to that Step Reebok workout (and The Firm) to help me rehabilitate. Gin does more advanced workouts than Step Reebok: The Video and I own some of those, too. But like a lot of trainers I really like, I just don’t do her workouts as often as I would like and feel like I should. I blame Cathe for that. Cathe dominates all of my rotations.

As for Simply Circuit…. I wasn’t as impressed with it as I’d wanted to be. Gin says it is an intermediate/advanced workout. I do not agree. I think it is beginner/intermediate. She shows easy/beginner modifications for everything and then takes it up to an intermediate level. There is nothing advanced about this workout, though in the cardio step portion, the last two circuits had potential. She shows some advanced modifications to a few moves, but not right away. You’re well into the circuit before she shows them and then when you return to the circuit she never does the advanced versions. The step choreography is not complex–very easy to follow. The strength work is very basic. If you do all of the cardio at the most advanced level (which is not an advanced level) and lift as heavy as you can (with good form) for the amount of reps you do, you will get a decent overall upper body and cardio workout. I probably will not return to this workout any time soon. However, fitness levels change and I know mine will, too, one day–so I am keeping this workout for future days when Cathe becomes too advanced for me.

A few notes. For the entire workout you need the step out in front of you, but the cardio in the first half of the workout is on the floor. But you use the step for some of the strength work. However, the very first strength exercise is push ups. She does them off the small end of the step–which makes them tricep push ups. Well, you work triceps later in the workout and never work your chest. So the best way to approach this, in my opinion, is do the push ups either on the long end of the step (so arms are wider and you are focused on the chest), or on the floor–again, with arms wider. That’s what I did, at least.

Simply Circuit is 63:30 minutes long; 3:30 minute warm up, 5:30 minutes core work and 2 minute cool down/stretch. Equipment needed: a step at 8 inches, various sets of dumbbells and a fitness mat. I will note below what weights I used for each individual exercise. I don’t know the weight of Gin’s dumbbells but she had a set of light and a set of “heavy.” For back rows she combined two dumbbells in one hand.

  1. Cardio on floor: jogging/skip with leg kicks/jacks
  2. Strength: 16 tricep push ups, hands on end of step (as noted above, I did regular push ups on long end of step)
  3. Cardio boxing on floor
  4. Repeat #2
  5. Cardio on floor: she combines #1 and #3
  6. Strength: bicep curls, 20 reps (I used 15# DBs)
  7. Cardio on floor: side steps/hamstring curls/grapevine or shuffle, shuffle, hop/football runs (fast feet)
  8. Strength: bicep curls w/ alternating knee lifts, 24 reps (I used 15# DBs)
  9. Cardio on the floor: she combines #1, #3 and #7
  10. Strength: one arm rows, 18 reps each arm (I used 25# DBs)
  11. Cardio on step: leap runs onto step/traveling step knee ups/3 knees each corner with hop/knee, tap, tap and alternate sides w/ this move
  12. Strength: tricep dips off step, 16 slow and 8 fast
  13. Cardio on step: corner to corner knee ups/L step knees/cross over top of step lengthwise 6x
  14. Strength: tricep dips off step, but this time after each dip, swing hips backward over step (hands remain on edge of step throughout), 14 reps
  15. Cardio on step: step and long tap/turning taps on step/turning taps with a hop (further in Gin does this last move as 180 squat jump w/ one foot on step–but she only does it a few times, then returns to the easier versions–but it’s an advanced option if you want it)
  16. Strength: shoulder press, 24 reps (I used 12# DBs)
  17. Cardio on step: A steps/scissor runs on floor (she also shows a more advanced version of the scissor runs–plyo jump lunges)
  18. Strength: shoulder press, 24 reps (I used 12# DBs)
  19. Cardio on floor & step: she combines, #1, #3, #7, #11, #13, #15 and #17
  20. Strength: side lateral raises; 4 sets of 6 reps (I used 10# DBs)
  21. 3 minute cool down
  22. Core: sit on end of step and lower and raise torso; you will do this to different tempos, you will add arm movements and leg lifts
  23. Core: still sitting on end of step, lean torso back, gripping step behind you with hands and raise bent knees, feet off floor; in this position you will alternate raising arms over head then adding leg raises to arm raises; this ends doing full straight leg boat pose on end of step
  24. Core: plank w/ elbows on step; tap knees to floor and straighten legs; changes to alternating leg raises

One response to “Simply Circuit

  1. Hi. i just wanted to add that Gin Miller invented the step workouts. I bought my step before they were in gyms or in stores back in 1990. She had a 20 minute video that came with the step and it was so hard for me to do. A year later, I purchased another set of risers and added “heavy hands” one pound weights (Gin used 5 and her step was about 10 inches, maybe 12). I was in my early 20’s and that step workout got me in the best shape of my life.

    Enter, the original Firm workouts to kick things up and then Cathe, whom The Step company recommended when I called them to ask for the next level step workout since the intro was no longer challenging.
    When I first tried Step N Motion (Cathe’s very first workout video) , I thought to myself, that girl is crazy. That workout was definitely NOT the next progression from “up-up-down-down” as you moved your arms overhead, to the side or biceps curls. So, I put it away.

    I discovered her weight workouts when I was ready to kick up a notch from the Firm and I loved them. One day, I realized that that crazy girl jumping up and off the step and with all those plyo moves was the same person on that step tape I never use. So, I took out SNM and gave it another try. Loved it and I’ve been working out primarily with Cathe ever since.

    I do other advanced (as defined by 2 Lazy 4 the gym) workouts (loved Insanity and Ruthless) but when I do, I sometimes think of how it all stated with Gin Miller and how her simple workout invention to get the benefits of running w/o the impact (based on her rehab after a knee injury sidelined her) changed my life. In case she ever comes to this blog and happens to see this, I just want to say, Thanks Gin!

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