Circuits to build explosive power

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Virgin Active clubs have recently got a load of new kit. Some of it's straightforward, some... not so much. Virgin Active are calling this new collection of kit Fitness 5 and in case you've noticed them appear at your club and don't have a clue what to do with them here's a brief description of each followed by two strength and explosive power-building circuits you can use them for.

Bulgarian Bag

Created by Bulgarian Olympic athlete Ivan Ivanov, they're designed to help strengthen your core and develop agility. The Bulgarian Bag can be used as a free weight for dynamic core work, or added to your body weight to make jumps, squats, press-ups, and power crunches work even harder.

TRX Rip Trainer

This challenges you in all three planes of motion and works on your strength and cardiovascular conditioning, as well as improving fluidity and range of motion. 

Battle ropes

Battle ropes give a high-intensity workout, building your core strength and improving full-body conditioning. 


The TiYR is soft but heavy, minimal but effective total-body training tool. You’ll engage every muscle through your legs, core and upper body.

Plyo box

These high-density foam boxes can help you develop power, full-body explosive strength, and buold cardio endurance. Thanks to their innovative construction they’re easy on your feet, ankles, knees and hips.

CIRCUIT 1 – (repeat 3 times with 90 seconds rest between each circuit)

Tire Flips – 1 minute

Squat down and drive the tire up and then push it back down to the ground again and repeat.

Squat and press – 20 reps

Stand in a squat position and hoist a Bulgarian Bag onto the back of your neck. Squat down into a deep squat and press the bag above your head and bring it back to your neck before standing up.

Battle ropes: Alternate waves with jump squats – 45 seconds

Hold a rope in each hand and whip them up and down alternately. After two reps on each side perform a jump squat.

TRX Rip Trainer hockey shot – 15 each side

Stand sideways on holding the rip trainer with both hands and replicate a hockey shot. Pivot on the balls of your feet for as wide a range of motion as possible.

Plyo box press-up – 20 reps

Place your feet on a plyo box and do press-ups as normal.

CIRCUIT 2 (do this twice after the first circuit with 90 seconds rest, or four times by itself with 90 seconds rest)

Farmer's walk – 20 steps

Stand in the middle of a tire, use the handles to pick it up with your hands out to your sdies. Walk out 10 steps, turn around and walk back 10.

Bulgarian Bag power snatch – 15 reps

Drop to a squat position. Hold the bag at knee height in both hands, shrug your shoulders back and bring the bag up above your head untill your arms are extended and the bag is in a press position. Lower slowly and repeat.

Battle ropes: Alternate waves with jump squats – 45 seconds

Hold a rope in each hand and whip them up and down alternately. After two reps on each side perform a jump squat. 

Plyo box jumps – 45 seconds

With your feet shoulder-with apart squat down and jump up on to the middle of the box. Step back down and repeat.

Like most circuit-based workouts the more intensely you do each exercise the more benefit you'll get. Now, take advantage of being one of the few people in the gym who actually knows how to use all this new-fangled kit.

Max Anderton

Max was the head of digital content for Men's Fitness which worked alongside Coach between 2015 and 2019.