Heard of XCo’s? HIIT meets function!


If you have not come across the XCo trainer before then you can be excused for thinking that this is a little weird! Bear with me and give it a chance. XCo’s are a fantastic training tool created by a forward-thinking Dutch physiotherapist in the mid 1990’s. They were originally developed  for rehabilitation and restoring muscle function, but were applied to running enhancement and also group exercise. I have tried more recently to influence the personal training and functional training  world with the XCo and its broad ranging possibilities. Essentially they are a hollow tube filled with a silicon granulate. When moved through a quick change of direction the granulate shifts within the tube from one end to the other creating a moment of impact and stimulating muscle fibres to respond. XCo’s are perhaps a little simplistic at first glance, but when you apply the rules of functional movement to these unassuming bits of kit they morph into a hard hitting, high intensity, fun-filled training master class. I have enjoyed delivering XCo functional group exercise classes and they always go down as a huge hit with participants.

Utilising high intensity intermittent training (HIIT) alongside functional XCo training simply doubles the level of fun and motivation and ultimately provides the basis for a time-saving, intense workout that will leave you clambering for more. Why not try this progressive core training session out for size? See how far you can manage, the exercises increase in technicality throughout the session. If you manage to pull off the final hopping exercise progression, then let me know – it’s a bit if a tricky beast!

Dominant movement pattern: Rotation

Primary purpose: To progress the complexity of each exercise in the series

Work to rest ratio: 30 seconds work with 30 seconds rest

Progressive exercise circuit:

  1. XCo twists
  2. XCo split squat twists
  3. XCo woodchop
  4. XCo reverse woodchop cross step
  5. XCo rotating twist jump
  6. Frontal ice skater with XCo twist
  7. Sumo squat with XCo twist
  8. Transverse hop with XCo twist

Training notes: To complete one full circuit in order will take 7 minutes 30 seconds. This should be followed by a full 2 minutes of recovery and then the circuit repeated for a second time. If you are the competitive type, why not count and record the number of repetitions you complete during each 30 seconds for each exercise during the first circuit then try to beat that score reached for each exercise during the second circuit.

This 17 minute workout will hit the obliques and core musculature hard and do a pretty good job of raising your heart rate at the same time. Enjoy!

NB. Remember to keep good form and spinal alignment throughout each exercise and be wary not to over rotate through the thoracic and lumbar spine. A good guide would be to only rotate about 80% of range, especially when twisting at higher speeds.

If you are interested in buying your own XCo’s then it is probably to buy them from the main XCo website

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