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Death Circuits

Using Death Circuits is the best, most “Bang for your Buck” protocol to achieve fat loss and improve work capacity, but it is not for the lazy or faint of heart.

Charles Poliquin is credited with the method. A word of caution, do not mistake its simplicity on paper for ease. The entire workout will take you less than 30 minutes to complete, consisting of 12 sets of work with between 120-144 repetitions.

The protocol:

A1) Compound Movement for Quads

A2) Compound Movement for Back

A3) Compound Movement for Hamstrings

A4) Compound Movement for Chest/Shoulders

The repetition range is 10-12 for each exercise, with a time under tension of 50-60 seconds and a rest period of 60 seconds.

Photo showing woman in a gym doing a chin up to a suspended bar

How to Perform?

Utilise compound, bang for your buck movements only! No isolation movements here. I mean a Barbell Back Squat not Pistol Squats on a Bosu Ball, holding a kettlebell overhead.

You must utilise a weight that is a 10-12 repetition maximum, using a weight that you could do 20 reps will not cut it here. Hard work with a nonsense program will always produce more results than a lazy work ethic with the best program, ever seen an out of shape cross-fitter? I know I haven’t. Another example would be comparing the physiques of Portuguese footballer Ronaldo and England’s Wayne Rooney.

Photo showing two different types of professional footballer physique - one is toned and muscular the other is the opposite

Why it Works

Compound movements and maximum effort produce greater Growth Hormone Output (GHO). This is due to a large lactic acid build up, a by-product of which is growth hormone (GH). It will make you feel queasy or nauseous, but this is a normal reaction due to the Growth Hormone build up.

The body has to work very hard moving blood large distances over the body and removing by-products from large muscle groups.

Photo showing muscular man in gym lifting heavy weights in deadlift

The Original Protocol

A1) Barbell Back Squat (High Bar, Olympic Depth)

A2) Supinated Chin Up (Shoulder Width)

A3) Barbell Deadlifts

A4) Dips


If you don’t have a coach or training partner to change the weights for you, set the weights up so you can strip off anything up to 10% from the bar easily. At the end of each set you’ll be too busy trying not to vomit or cry to do anything else.


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