Tuesday, July 02 2019

The preview video above is for Circuit Overload, posted on 7/11/16

It is summer in the northern hemisphere and that means the brain goes into “vacation mode,” leaving little ambition for class planning.  Good news!  A new video, Circuit Overload, just posted and it provides a ‘no brainer’ template for transforming the pool into summer training camp. 

Conceived by Fitmotivation Promotions Assistant and video subscriber, Miff Hendriksen, Circuit Overload features several tri-circuits that include 1) upper body isolation 2) cardio ladder drills 3) lower body paired with upper body.   The goal of this program is to overload the major muscles and build endurance and stamina.

Miff has been involved in the aquatic industry for 45 years in various roles, including lifeguard, swim instructor, aquatic director and aquatic fitness instructor.   She has been an AEA certified aquatic fitness professional since 1994.  Miff has also worked for AEA and is also a regular crewmember at the International Aquatic Fitness Conference (IAFC). Miff and I have been friends for the past 10 years.  Recently we were enjoying adult beverages at a tiki bar and swapping stories about our classes.  She shared with me the structure of one of her favorite classes to teach.  It sounded like the type of program Fitmotivation video subscribers would love and so I challenged her to film it.  And thus Circuit Overload was born!


The structure of Circuit Overload is provided by a music CD. “When I first listened to the music CD for Karen Westfall's video, E.S.P. Noodle Workout, it motivated me to create a class with the same timing,” explained Miff.  “We constantly are working our legs in the water but often times neglect the upper body, except to compliment the lower body moves,” she added.  The music timing in this CD allowed her to dedicate a full 60-seconds to upper body isolation exercises.
The music timing in this CD features six 5-minute (approximate) segments divided into three timed intervals; 60 seconds, 3 minutes and 40 seconds.
Miff created six tri-circuits based on this timing:
60 seconds:  here she inserted upper body isolation exercises targeting major muscle groups of the upper body

3 minutes:  here she inserted cardio ladder drills using the following timing – 20 seconds high intensity/20 seconds recovery, 30 seconds high intensity/30 seconds recovery, 40 seconds high intensity/40 seconds recovery
40 seconds: lower body exercise paired with upper body Keep in mind, you can adapt this timing and structure to whatever type of formatting you would like to teach.  Instead of ladder drills, consider doing a modified Tabata round of 6 cycles for 3 minutes – instead of the traditional 8 cycles for 4 minutes. 

The cardio ladder drills make this a killer workout, which is probably why they were given the nickname ‘suicides’.  “I used to coach soccer and we used ladder drills all the time because they are an effective way to build stamina and endurance,” says Miff.   If you teach students that enjoy high intensity interval training, they will love this.  Is this workout appropriate for older adults?  Well, Miff teaches classes in the Venice/Sarasota area of Florida, which according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune is a region that has a median age of 66.7, making it one of the top five oldest average age cities in the USA.  The key to making this workout appropriate for older populations is in providing options and in choosing exercises that are appropriate for your population.  If some of the higher impact exercises demonstrated in the video make you uncomfortable, offer other options or select different exercises. 

It is important to have a goal or outcome in mind when designing a class.  Students want results.  Miff’s stated goal in this program was to overload the major muscle groups. “
My students work harder when they understand why the move is being performed and what muscles they are working,” says Miff.   “The isolation techniques in this workout really help them to feel where the move originates,” she adds. The Circuit Overload program provides not only targeted muscle conditioning; it also burns a lot of calories with the high intensity cardio ladders.  To prove this, Miff wore a step tracker on her wrist during filming and says she logged over 6,000 steps throughout the 45-minute program. 

As I stated in the Tabata video I filmed earlier in the year, having a music CD that provides a timed structure can make fitness instruction much easier.  All you have to do is select moves for the timing.  Keep in mind, many options for moves were demonstrated in this video in order to provide additional education, but according to Miff most of her regular students choose one option per time period.  “As long as there are no new students – and your class is comprised of regular participants, there is no need to over complicate the workout by showing multiple options,” cautions Miff.   Instructors may want to simplify the workout even more by making the 3-minute cardio segment less timed than the ladder drills. The hardest part of this workout is timing the ladder drills,” says Miff.  “I use a stopwatch and keep it going the full three minutes of the ladder drills so I can figure out where I am if I get distracted.”

As stated above, the music CD used in this workout is featured in Karen Westfall’s Noodle E.S.P Workout.  The music CD can be purchased by itself for $9.95 at  In the product listing, click on AUDIO CD.
If you want some new noodle ideas, you can also purchase Karen’s Noodle E.S.P DVD for just $10.00 extra.

Fitmotivation extends BIG THANKS to Miff Hendriksen for an outstanding video and for sharing one of her favorite classes with video subscribers.

What did Miff and Mark do after the video shoot?





Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.