The Triple Threat - A safe fat burning circuit that will strengthen your core and tone your body

By Chris Carlsen

The Triple Threat

A safe fat burning circuit that will strengthen your core and tone your body.

Too many times I see people sacrificing joint health for burning calories and losing weight. What happens when someone loses weight but their knees , shoulders and back are in a crisis?  They will be back on the sidelines and putting the weight back on. Popular exercises such as burpees and mountain climbers are often done incorrectly. The core and scapular muscles are not stabilizing, and this becomes apparent with the hips sagging and the shoulders buried into the neck.  This should not be.

                Today , I will demonstrate safer exercises at different difficulty levels. The key to these exercises is the challenge to stabilize. This will not only help you keep good form, but will actually cause you to burn more calories. It will build a solid foundation for future exercises and create more tension than the other exercises, which will give your muscles more tone (click here for The truth about tone blog). You don't want to be skinny fat ! This circuit will have you burning fat, toning your body, and building a strong core. The Triple Threat. If you still feel uncomfortable with an exercise , you can email me at info@ironlionperformance.comand I will be more than happy to assist you .

                This circuit is great to perform after a strength workout. It can also be done at home as an extra boost or as a workout in its own right.

                The circuit

WALKOUTS -   The walkout takes the place of the burpee.  The goal is to do 8 reps. If the first week you are only comfortable doing4, that is fine. Just try to add a rep every week.  Also doing one rep sporadically  throughout a day (every 6 hours) is the best way to get better at the exercise. One rep ensures full focus and precision.  After a couple of weeks , you will be crushing 8 walkouts.

Prerequisites: The Warm-ups

1.Static Arm Bar - This exercise will teach you how to pack your shoulder under load. This is how you should feel when you lockout into the push-up position. When you walkout and walk back in, you grab the floor with your armpits (activate serratus anterior) and you use your strength  to push and pull you through the movement. 

2.Plank - The plank teaches you how to stack your body and ignite your core.  Subscribe to my website at and you will get a free twelve minute video on the Secrets of Strength. It is here were I break down the plank and have you feeling your core more than ever before. In the walkout, you are in a plank when your body is fully extended. Your core is now fighting extension, flexion, and rotation. If you don't do it correctly, you will be putting undue energy on your spine.  You need to break down movements into segments and then put them all together. Don't rush the process.  The hardest step is the first step. Subscribe today.

PROGRESSIONS - See video below  

ENTRY - (NOT IN VIDEO ) You can use a decline bench to walk-up. This will take some of the load from your body-weight away.

Level1 - Walkout

Level   2- Walkout With a T - Drive your bottom hand and arm-pit into the ground and rotate the top hand towards the ceiling. Work on your feet, hips, and arms opening up and moving in sync. You should feel your body forming a tight T. Think of shooting the ceiling with a bow and arrow. Do not just flare you arm open.

Level   3 - Walkout With a Push-up.

*Keep your eyes on the horizon. Do not drop your head when you get tired. This will lead you to stabilize with your neck instead of your scapula.


Smart Mountain Climbers - This exercise is a great anti-rotation exercise, which means your oblique's get fired up .  This is also perfect running form, which will carry over to your runs and sled pushes. As you can see in the video, the starting position is the plank (the plank is kind of a big a deal).  Try for 8 on each side.

Level1 - Climber on a Bench - I use the cone to give me postural awareness. Keep your glutes on the extended leg nice and tight . If you don't have a cone , have a partner put their fingers on the small of your lower back.  Fight to maintain the plank position. Keep the foot of the flexed leg dorsi-flexed (toes -up)*.  Focus on keeping the hip, knee, and foot aligned. Once you get 8 on each side, you can begin to alternate sides. 

Level 2 - Stability Ball on Wall - Position your head over your hands and pack your shoulders . I like to put my hands on the sides of the ball. Again, focus on keeping the hip, knee, an foot aligned. * Once you get 8 on each side, you can begin to alternate sides. 

Level3 - Stability Ball and Off the Wall


Squat Jumps – I would prefer the kettle-bell swing here (I always prefer to swing). The swing though, is such a technical exercise that it requires a certified instructor to teach. The rate of force produced and the speed of this hip-centric movement makes the swing the king of endurance exercises. This also leaves great room for error.  


The Deadlift

To jump safely, you need to deadlift your body-weight for 5 reps. We need to develop a strength base before we include power exercises into the workout. Three times the force of your body-weight is used to jump-off the ground. While eight times the force is what occurs when you decelerate from the jump .  Without being strong first, you will not have the strength base to endure metabolic circuits.  Breakdown and injury will occur.  Think of your fitness goals as a game of Chess. A smart player would setup his/her moves beforemaking bolder moves, limiting the risk. It’s a plan with a purpose. In fitness you would do the same by building a strong foundation of movement before you make more complex moves.

Mini-bands Walks – These can be done as a warm-up.

The knees cannot buckle inwards during the landing. Mini-band walks will assist in activating your lateral hip stabilizers, which will protect your knees. When the knees buckle in, the femur gets pulled out the hip socket. This leaves the knees in a vulnerable position. 


1.       The harder you squeeze your glutes during the jump, the more hang-time you will have. This will give you more time to get your hips back under you on your descent. Trust your hips.

2.       Don’t throw your arms up with abandon. Keep tension in your armpits. 

3.     To stick the landing, imagine tossing an egg back and forth with a partner. Would you crush it with your hands or would cradle it ? Cradle your landing. By doing so, you are absorbing the energy with your big muscles ( glutes, hamstrings, etc.) and keeping your knees safe from impact.

4.       During the landing, make believe you’re getting punched in the stomach as the hips go out and your feet land on the floor. Your heels also need to be in contact with floor . A quiet landing will give you feedback of correct mechanics.


1. Squat jump/stick landing/stand up and restart

2. Squat jump/ stick landing/squat jump

3. Continuous squat jumps * Take notice of the knees in the landing.


The Circuit:

8 walkouts , 8 mountain climbers (each leg) and 5 squats . Rest 90 to 210 seconds ( when heart rate is back to normal) and repeat two more times.