Metabolic Circuit for Advanced Athletes
We’ve seen this program make better increases in muscle mass and strength than traditional lifting programs. The problem is that it’s extremely demanding. It’s not for beginners, and even advanced athletes won’t want to maintain this intensity for more than four to six weeks. The program increases metabolism, which burns more calories at rest. As the athletes build muscle, they lose fat. Use this metabolic circuit only during the base phase in the postseason or off-season. The metabolic circuit replaces the strength day on Tuesday and Friday, but the explosive day exercises continue to be on Monday and Thursday. The exercise order for the metabolic circuit is not critical except for the first station. The squat needs to be done first in this circuit or the program won’t produce the desired results. The other eight exercises can be done in any order. Try to have on exercise for each large muscle in the body. The program should start with multiple-joint exercises and finish with single-joint exercises. Exercises using larger muscle groups release more testosterone. Some coaches alternate leg, chest, and back exercises to allow for recovery of muscle groups.
Husker Power Metabolic Circuit Stations
1. Squat – works thighs, hamstrings, hips, lower back
2. Lying leg curl – works hamstrings
3. Leg extension – works quads
4. Bench press – works chest, shoulders, triceps
5. Lat pull-down – works lats, biceps and forearms
6. Shoulder press – works shoulders, triceps
7. Low lat pull-down – works lats, biceps and forearms
8. Tricep extensions – works triceps
9. Bicep Curls – works biceps
Load and Time. Use a weight that allows for a set of 10 repetitions. Allow 80 seconds total for the work and the rest at each station. Each rep takes about 2 seconds. The squat takes longer, but for most of the exercises most of the 80 seconds is used for recovery. More growth hormone is released when the number of repetitions is 10 as opposed to 5 or fewer, and more is released when the rest period is at 1 minute rather than 3 or 4 minutes. The speed of each movement is not explosive but done under control to allow good form. Note all sets are done at each station before rotating to the next station. This is different from the push-pull circuit.
Levels of Difficulty. Beginner – 1 set of 10 reps done 2 or 3 days per week. Be sure to have a physician’s clearance, and present the release form to the supervisor before attempting this program. Allow 80 seconds to complete each station.
Intermediate – The program should be progressive in nature and advance to two sets at each station before moving to the next station. The circuit is done twice a week on strength days.
Advanced – Three sets at each station with higher loads to increase strength and bone density. Multiple sets work best for development of strength and local muscular endurance. The gains made will be at a faster rate than gains achieved through single- or double-set programs. Total time is 36 minutes.
The metabolic circuit should not be used year round. The advanced level (three sets) is very advanced and should only be used during the base phase to develop lean muscle. The advanced level should not be done by young athletes, who don’t have enough strength.
The following chart shows the 14 pounds of muscle developed by Kyle Vanden Bosch as he prepared for his senior year in college. Kyle is a professional football player now, and this chart shows his progress doing the advanced level Husker Power metabolic circuit. Kyle was voted Lifter of the Year as a junior and was looking for a program that would bring additional results. Nationally recognized scientist Dr. Bill Kraemer visited Nebraska many years ago when he was a strength coach at Carrol College in Iowa. I put him through a circuit workout that was so hard it about killed him. We called it the “Death Circuit” then but changed the name to the “Survivor Circuit” to give it a more positive spin, but it was still so hard that we quit using it. However, 15 years after first trying the workout, Dr. Kraemer kept tweaking it. When he felt he had something to share, he called and explained how the program built up too much lactic acid in the muscle and was too painful for athletes to handle. The metabolic circuit corrects that and also sends a growth hormone throughout the body to produce strength and size gains.
We needed someone tough to handle the circuit, so we asked our strongest athlete, Kevin Coleman, to give it a try. He had just won the national championship in the shot-put as a junior and was looking for a program to take him to another level. Within a matter of weeks, Kevin made gains he hadn’t imagined possible, so we asked him to address the football team. He told the Nebraska players they weren’t tough enough to handle this program. We challenged 30 players to sign up to do the metabolic circuit, but we warned then it was all or nothing. Once they committed to the six-week program, they could not back out. We also required them to be upper classmen. The program increases strength rapidly, but we’ve learned over time not to put some athletes on the circuit because it makes them gain weight so quickly. For example, Lawrence Phillips was a powerful 205-pound I-Back who did the program for four weeks before we pulled him off it at 226 pounds.
Vanden Bosch Progress Chart
Weight Muscle 10 yard dash 40 yard dash Agility run Vertical
262 229 1.67 4.85 4.09 32
267 243 1.7 4.84 3.97 32.5
5 14 0.03 -0.01 -0.12 0.5