The Dark Knight Returns: Endurance Phase

Welcome to the Dark Knight Returns circuits, the final part of our Batman workout series covering weeks 6-7.  This phase covers Endurance training, so expect more reps and sets! Gotham has forgotten you, remind them who you are!

Table of Contents


About the Endurance Phase:

  • Lastly, we’ve got phase 3 – which is the Endurance circuits which run from weeks 5-7.
  • This phase will test your muscular and cardiovascular endurance.
  • This phase lasts 2 weeks and involves full-body workouts 6 times per week.
  • The 6 day split cycle will again cover chest, back, arms, legs, core and shoulders
  • The weights used for most exercises in these sessions will again be in the range of 60-70% of your one-rep max (1RM).
  • The sets will be 3-4 per exercise and the reps will be higher, at around 15 -20 reps per exercise.
  • It will be a combination of traditional weights, functional training and bodyweight exercises.
  • For the morning weight sessions, rest for 90 seconds between sets.
  • On the core circuit, keep rest to a minimum. 20-30 seconds of rest should be adequate.

Last Knight

“The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller portrays an older Bruce Wayne emerging from retirement to combat crime once more in a dystopian Gotham. Amidst familiar adversaries and moral dilemmas, Batman’s return sparks hope and attracts both allies and enemies. His battle against corruption and a new breed of criminals becomes a symbol of Gotham’s struggle, leading to a climactic showdown that reshapes his legacy as the Dark Knight.

AM - Weights with Bruce

Equipment required:

The TDKR Circuits mix bodyweight exercises with (mostly) traditional workout equipment (dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells). Don’t worry if you don’t have some of the equipment available, improvise with what you have. See our section here on improvised gym equipment.

Required: Dumbbells, kettlebells, medicine ball, sandbag, barbells.

Warm ups

(Always warm up before starting any routine).  Start by performing mobility drills on shoulders, hips, ankles, wrist and neck muscles.  Use light core stretches to activate the muscle groups we shall be using.

After mobility drills use three rounds of the warm-up drills below.

Endurance Circuits

Day 1: Back

  1. Deadlifts: 5 sets × 15, 12, 10, 8, 5 reps.
  2. Pull-ups (or assisted pull-ups): 3 sets x max reps.
  3. Single Arm Rows (with dumbbells): 3 sets x 12-15 reps
  4. Farmer’s Walk (with dumbbells or kettlebells): 3 sets x distance or time
  5. TRX Rows: 3 sets x 15-20 reps
  6. Cable Face Pulls: 3 sets x 15-20 reps
  7. Lateral Pulldowns: 3 × 10 reps.
  8. Close grip Lat Pulldowns: 3 × 10 reps.
  9. Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 x 20 reps.

Day 2: Chest

Baseline Set:

  • Bench Press: 5 sets ×15, 12, 10, 8, 5 reps.

Superset 1:

  1. Incline DB Press: 3 x 15 reps.
  2. Decline DB Press: 3 x 15 reps.

Super Set 2:

  1. Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 x 15 reps.
  2. Incline Hex Press: 3 x failure.

Giant Set:


  1. Cable Standing Chest press: 3 x 10/12 reps.
  2. Cable Middle Fly: 3 x 10/12 reps.
  3. Cable Standing Fly (High to low): 3 x 10/12 reps.
  4. Cable Standing (Low to High): 3 x 10/12 reps.


  1. Incline push ups: 3 x 10/12 reps.
  2. Decline push ups: 3 x 10/12 reps.
  3. Chest press (Machine): 3 x 10/12 reps.
  4. Dumbbell pullover: 3 x 10/12 reps.

Day 3: Arms

Baseline Set:

  1. Chin Ups: 3 sets ×10 reps.
  2. Triceps dips: 3 sets x 10 reps.

Biceps KB supersets:

  1. Ballistic curl: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  2. Armpit curl: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  3. Alternating Hang Clean: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.

Triceps Tri-Set:

  1. Tricep Dumbbell Kickbacks: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  2. Kettlebell Skull Crushers: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  3. Seated DB Overhead Extension: 3 ×10 reps.

Biceps/Triceps Superset:

  1. Cable Pushdowns: 3 sets × 10 reps.
  2. Alternating Hammer Curls: 3 sets × 10 reps.


  1. EZ Bar Curls: 3 x to failure.
  2. Diamond Pushups Blowout: 3 x to failure.
  3. Battle Rope Waves: 3 sets x 30-60 seconds.

Day 4: Legs

  1. Back Squat: 5 sets × 15, 12, 10, 8, 5 reps.
  2. Leg Press: 3 sets × 15 reps.
  3. Bulgarian Split Squats: 3 sets x 12-15 reps each leg.
  4. Hamstring Curls: 3 sets × 15 reps.
  5. Quad Extensions: 3 sets × 15 reps.
  6. Hip Abductors: 3 sets × 15 reps.
  7. Hip Adductors: 3 sets × 15 reps.
  8. Weighted Lateral lunges: 3 x 20 reps (10 each leg).
  9. Weighted Standing Calf Raise: 3 sets x to failure.
  10. Calf Raises (Machine): 3 sets x 25 reps.


  1. Box Jumps: 3 sets x 10-15 reps.
  2. Sled Pushes: 3 sets x 50 meters.
  3. Kettlebell Swings: 3 sets x 20-30 reps.

Day 5: Core/Abs

  1. Kettlebell Swings: 3 sets x 20-30 reps
  2. Bicycle Crunches: 3 x sets of 45 seconds.
  3. Plank with Kettlebell Drags: 3 x sets of 45 seconds.
  4. Mountain Climbers with Sliders: 3 x sets of 45 seconds.
  5. Medicine Ball Russian Twists: 3 sets x 15-20 reps each side.
  6. Stability Ball Rollouts: 3 x sets of 45 seconds.
  7. Leg Raise: 3 x sets of 45 seconds.
  8. Scissor Kicks: 3 x sets of 45 seconds.


  • 2 minute plank hold.

Day 6: Shoulders

Baseline Set:

  1. Military Press: 5 sets ×15, 12, 10, 8, 5 reps.
  2. Half-Kneeling Landmine Press: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.


  1. Lateral Raise: x 15 reps.
  2. Front Raise: x 15 reps.
  3. Rear Deltoid Raise: x 15 reps.


  1. KB See-Saw Press: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  2. KB Barn Doors: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  3. KB Shoulder Shrugs: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.
  4. Cable Face Pulls: 3 sets x 15-20 reps.


  • Stability Ball Pike Push-Ups: 3 sets x max reps.

PM - Martial Arts and Conditioning

The afternoon sessions serve as a dynamic complement to the morning weight training workouts, focusing on enhancing agility, martial arts skills, and overall conditioning. 

  • Monday: League of Shadows Martial Arts Drills.
  • Tuesday: Arkham Breakouts.
  • Wednesday: Shadow of the Bat Workouts.
  • Thursday: League of Shadows Martial Arts Drills.
  • Friday: Arkham Breakouts.
  • Saturday: Shadow of the Bat Workouts.
  • Sunday: Rest.

Court of Owls Martial Arts Challenge:

(Monday and Thursday)

The Court of Owls circuit is a challenging workout inspired by the clandestine society that controls Gotham City from the shadows. Participants undertake a series of dynamic exercises designed to test their strength, endurance, and mental fortitude, echoing the stealthy and relentless nature of the Court’s operatives known as the Talons.

Session Duration: 30 minutes

Warm-up (5 minutes):

  • Dynamic Stretching: Perform dynamic stretches to loosen up the muscles and increase flexibility. Include movements such as arm circles, leg swings, torso twists, and hip circles.
  • Jump Rope: Jump rope for 2-3 minutes to elevate the heart rate and warm up the body for the main workout.

Speed Strikes (5 x 1 minute rounds):

  • Start with rapid-fire punches on the bag, focus on speed and precision. Simple combo of jab, cross, and hook, uppercut.  Aim to throw as many punches as possible in the 1 minute period while maintaining proper form. At the end of every round x 20 push ups.

Power Strikes (4 x 90 seconds rounds): Use the bag if possible, if not a tough and understanding pad holder.

  • Focus on generating maximum force with each punch. Practice combos of straight punches, jabs, uppercuts, crosses, and overhand punches, putting your body weight behind each strike. Visualize breaking through an opponent’s defenses with each powerful blow.
  • At the end of every round. 20 x sit ups. 20 x leg lifts.
  • Repeat for time.

Kicking Drill (5 minutes):

  • Left low kick, left mid kick, left high kick, teep, right high kick, right mid kick, right low kick.
  • 20 jump squats.
  • Repeat for time.
  • At the end of 5 minutes hold a wall squat for 1 minute.

Stealthy Agility Drills (5 minutes):

  • Broad Jumps x 25 ms
  • Shuttle runs: 5ms, 10ms, 15 ms, 20 ms, 25 ms.
  • Stealth push ups x 10 (slow and controlled).

Up Close and Personal (5 minutes):

Talon Strikes (5 minutes):

  • Mimic the agile and acrobatic movements of the Talons by incorporating jumping and spinning strikes. 5 x spinning back fists (left and right).  5 x flying knees (left and right). 5 x superman punches (left and right). Repeat for time.

Cool-down (5 minutes):

  • Static Stretches: Perform static stretches to relax the muscles and improve flexibility. Focus on stretching the arms, shoulders, back, and legs, holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds.
  • Breathing Exercises: Finish with a few minutes of deep breathing exercises to promote relaxation and recovery. Inhale deeply through the nose, hold for a few seconds, and exhale slowly through the mouth, releasing tension with each breath.

Blackgate Breakout Circuits

(Tuesday and Friday)

Welcome to the Blackgate Breakout Circuits, inspired by the notorious penitentiary where some of Gotham’s most formidable criminals are incarcerated. These circuits are designed to test your mettle and push your limits, drawing upon the spirit of resilience and determination required to navigate the challenges of Gotham’s criminal underworld. 

The Stations

Deadshot’s Perfect Kill Station:

Deadshot is a deadly marksman known for his unmatched accuracy and relentless pursuit of his targets. His cold and calculating demeanor, coupled with his exceptional skills, make him one of the most feared assassins in the DC universe.

  • Med Ball throw and sprint (1 minute): Throw a med ball as far as you can, sprint to retrieve it. Repeat for time.

The Penguins Ice Lounge Station:

The Penguin, aka Oswald Cobblepot, is a cunning and sophisticated criminal mastermind known for his aristocratic demeanor and penchant for umbrellas. 

  • The ‘Iceberg Lounge’ station involves a duck walk to emulate his bird-like gait, serving as a nod to his iconic character traits.
  • Perform a duck walk for 1 minute.

Bane’s Strength Gauntlet:

Bane is a formidable adversary known for his immense physical strength and strategic intellect, driven by a desire for dominance and control.

  • Strength-based exercises (naturally), that include the sled pull, tire carry and tire push. 1 minute rounds
  • Round 1: Sled pulls.
  • Round 2: Tire carries.
  • Round 3: Tire Pushes.

KGBeast’s Kettlebell Drill:

The KGBeast, also known as Anatoli Knyazev, is a ruthless and highly skilled assassin with ties to the Soviet Union. His training in the Soviet Union’s brutal and unforgiving regime molded him into a lethal weapon, adept in various forms of combat and espionage.

  • Perform the kettlebell flow outlined below. Transition between the different moves, completing the required reps for each. 1 minute, no rest.

Ratcatcher’s Pest Control Agility Circuit.

Ratcatcher is a Gotham City villain known for controlling an army of rats and using them to commit crimes. 

  • Catch those rats! Set up a series of objects (cones or some other marker) in a random pattern. Sprint to retrieve them as quickly as possible. Retrieve 1 marker at a time. 1 minute round.  The focus is on speed and agility.

Mr Freeze ‘Cold Day in Hell’ Station: Static Holds (1 minute).

Mr. Freeze, also known as Victor Fries, is a tragic figure driven by love and loss, wielding cryogenic technology to survive and seek revenge. 

  • Hold a static position such as a plank, wall sit, or static squat for 1 minute. Focus on maintaining proper form and engaging the core muscles throughout.

Finisher: Black Mask (1 minute): 

  • Slow eccentric barbell thrusters.
  • What else would you expect for a Black Mask finisher than something slow and sadistic? Each portion of the movement should last  approximately 2-3 seconds. This goes for both the eccentric (lowering) and concentric (lifting) phases. This timing allows for a controlled descent and ascent of the barbell, maximizing muscle engagement and emphasizing the eccentric loading phase, which is key for eliciting the desired training effect.

  • NB: Keep the weight lighter (60-70% 1RPM), to maintain proper form and technique throughout the duration.


  • 3 x rounds.
  • No rest between each station.
  • 45 seconds rest between each round.


  1. Deadshot Perfect Kill: Med Ball throw and sprint to retrieve for 1 minute.
  2. Penguins Ice Lounge: Duck walk for 1 minute.
  3. Bane’s Strength Gauntlet: Complete a series of strength-based exercises, including deadlifts, squats, and weighted carries. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds, focusing on proper form and maximal effort.
  4. KGBeasts Kettlebell Drill: KB Flow for 1 minute.
  5. Ratcatcher Pest Control: 1 minute cone grab, speed and agility station.
  6. Mr Freeze Static Holds: Hold a static position such as a plank, wall sit, or static squat for 1 minute.
  7. Black Mask Finisher: Slow eccentric, barbell thrusters for 1 minute.

Shadow of the Bat Circuits

(Wednesday and Saturday)

Batman has numerous allies he can call on in his neverending crusade against crime. These include the many variations of ‘Robin’ including Tim Drake and Jason Todd, the Huntress and many others. Good job too, Gotham is a big place and there is only so much one person can cover.  These circuits are workouts from three of Batman’s biggest allies past and present.

  • Robin Circuits. Bodyweight, Dynamic, Bo Staff Drills, mobility work, cardio.
  • Huntress Circuits. ‘For Time’ crossfit style WOD Workouts
  • Red Hood Circuits. Brutal functional HIIT workouts.

Robins 'Boy Wonder' Circuit

“Robin,” also known as the Boy Wonder, has been portrayed by various characters in DC Comics, including Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, and Damian Wayne, each bringing their own unique skills and personality to the role.

About the workouts:

  • 4 x circuits to be completed back to back for the rounds prescribed.

Station 1: Bo Staff Mobility:

  • Robin is the master of the Bo staff.  As such we’ll incorporate this weapon into this circuit.  
  • These drills are for agility and mobility. If you are seeking real Bo staff training you should look for a martial arts school that trains in this type of training.
  • Use a yard brush or similar stick to simulate a bo staff. 
  • Consider safety when undertaking this type of exercise, make sure your environment is clear, no obstacles (including lights!) that can be struck. Ensure you have space for the drills. Also consider other peoples safety. Is anyone around? Let them know what you are doing and to be aware. Safety is important.

3x rounds.

  1. Figure of eights: 1 minute.
  2. Overhead squats: x 20 reps.
  3. Overhead strikes: x10 reps (each side).
  4. Push ups: x 20 reps.
  5. 4 point combo: x5 reps (each side). (uppercut, overhead strike, side strike left, side strike right).
  6. Sit ups (stick to feet): x20 reps.
  7. Core drill: x10 reps each side.
  8. Side thrust jab: x20 reps (10 reps each side).
  9. Shaft thrust lunges: x 20 reps (10 each side).
  10. Leg sweeps: x 20 reps (10 reps each side.

Station 2: Dynamic Acrobatics (AMRAP):

Perform as many rounds as possible in 4 minutes, focusing on explosiveness and agility.

  1. Inchworm: x 10 reps.
  2. Chin ups: x 10 reps.
  3. Push up with pause or slow eccentric movement: x 10 reps.
  4. Alternating Hanging Knee-Up: 10 reps.
  5. Up kicks: x 20 reps.
  6. Kick throughs: x 20 reps.
  7. V-ups: x 20 reps.
  8. Oblique Side Crunch: 8 reps dynamic (followed with hold for 8 seconds).
  9. Tuck Jump: x 15 reps.

Station 3: Gotham Rooftop Cardio Pursuit

  1. Treadmill: 5 minutes. 30 secs jog. 30 secs sprints. 
  2. Assault Bike Sprint: 20 calories.
  3. Cardio/Bodyweight: 30 Seconds – Jump Rope. 30 Seconds – Pushups. 30 Seconds – Jump Rope. 30 Seconds – Ankle touches. 30 Seconds – Jump Rope. 30 Seconds – Air Squats.
  4. Ski-Erg: 3 minutes x 3 rounds.

Station 4:Boy/Girl Wonders Strength Challenge (Circuit)

Complete as many rounds as possible in 10 minutes.

  1. Alternating DB Curl: 5 sets of 5 reps (each arm, then 5 reps together).
  2. Tricep dips (bench): x 10 reps.
  3. Dumbbell Shrug: x10 reps.
  4. Alternating Dumbbell Reverse Lunge: x16 reps ( 8 rep for each leg).
  5. Goblet Squat: x 20 reps.
  6. Lateral Step ups: x 12 reps (each side).
  7. Calf Stretch: x 15 seconds (each leg).


  • Complete 1-5 Miles Depending on your Goal/Focus and how important endurance work is to you.

Prey of the Huntress Circuit

The Huntress, also known as Helena Bertinelli, is a vigilante driven by a thirst for justice and revenge. Motivated by the murder of her family, she patrols the streets of Gotham with lethal efficiency, targeting criminals and mobsters who evade the law.

About the workouts:

  • The Hunt is on, you are against the clock in these ‘Time Cap’ Workouts. 4 x circuits to choose from. Choose 1 or 2 circuits if you want to push yourself.  Beat the Clock. Make sure you are the Predator and not the Prey.


Begin with a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the intense training ahead. Include exercises like jumping jacks, arm circles, leg swings, and torso twists to increase blood flow and mobility.


3 Rounds – In 20 mins.

  • 400 Meter Run.
  • 30 Mountain Climbers
  • 25 Push Ups.
  • 20 Sit Ups.
  • 15 Air Squats.
  • 10 Dips.
  • 5 Pull Ups.


21-15-9 – 20 Minutes.

  • 21 Dumbbell Power snatches Right.
  • 21 Dumbbell Power snatches Left.
  • 21 Wall balls.
  • 21 Thrusters.
  • 21 Burpees.
  • 15 Dumbbell Power snatches Right.
  • 15 Dumbbell Power snatches Left.
  • 15 Wall balls.
  • 15 Thrusters.
  • 15 Burpees.
  • 9 Dumbbell Power snatches Right.
  • 9 Dumbbell Power snatches Left.
  • 9 Wall balls.
  • 9 Thrusters.
  • 9 Burpees.


Time Cap – 20 Minutes

  • 20 Dumbbell Thrusters.
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings.
  • 20 Dumbbell Renegade Rows (10 each arm).
  • 20 Burpees.
  • 20 Dumbbell Goblet Squats.
  • 20 Push-ups.
  • 20 Dumbbell Deadlifts.
  • 20 Box Jumps or Step-ups.
  • 20 Dumbbell Push Presses.
  • 20 Russian Kettlebell Swings.
  • 20 Dumbbell Bent Over Rows.
  • 20 Sit-ups.
  • 20 Dumbbell Lunges (10 each leg).

Birds of Prey

Time Cap – 20 Minutes

  1. 20 Weighted Jump Squats. After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  2. 20 Mountain Climbers (each leg). After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  3. 20 Bicycle Crunches (10 each side). After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  4. 20 Weighted Lunges (10 each leg). After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  5. 20 Russian Twists (10 each side). After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  6. 20 Burpees. After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  7. 20 Suicide Planks (10 each side). After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  8. 20 Leg Raises with Lift. After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  9. 20 KB Shoulder Presses. After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.
  10. 20 KB Hang Cleans. After completion, perform a 25-meter sprint.

Red Hoods Vendetta Circuit

As the second incarnation of Robin, Jason Todd was tragically believed to have been murdered by the Joker, only to resurface years later as the vigilante known as the Red Hood, taking his revenge on the Joker and going to war against organised crime in Gotham. Todd is a complex anti-hero in Gotham’s underworld, driven by a desire for retribution and a twisted sense of justice.

About the workouts:

  • These workouts, designed to mirror the Red Hood’s brutal methods, combine intense strength and conditioning circuits featuring functional movements and high-intensity interval training.
  • There are 4 x circuits to complete. Urban Warfare, Vigilante Vengeance. A Death in the Family and Gotham Streetfight. Undertake them back to back.


  • Begin with a dynamic warm-up to prepare your body for the agility and flexibility-focused training ahead. Include exercises that mimic the movements of a cat, such as cat/cow stretches, cat-camel stretches, and leg swings.

Urban Warfare:

  • This workout allows for a strategic approach based on your own preferences. You can choose which exercises to tackle first and in what order.  Once you complete an exercise, you can remove it from the list and move on to the next one. The aim is to let you decide how to pace yourself and  tackle the exercises in the most effective way possible.
  • With the ‘Urban Warfare’ circuit there are two circuits to choose from.

Circuit 1:

  1. Sandbag Clean and Press: Perform 30 repetitions.
  2. Kettlebell Swings: Perform 50 repetitions.
  3. Barbell Plate Burpees: Perform 20 repetitions.
  4. Medicine Ball Lateral Throws: Perform 40 repetitions.
  5. Bosu Ball Squats: Perform 30 repetitions.
  6. Sandbag shouldering: Perform 15 repetitions.
  7. Battle Rope Circles: Perform 60 seconds.
  8. Sandbag Jump Squats: Perform 25 repetitions.

Circuit 2:

  1. Sandbag Overhead Lunges: Perform 20 repetitions (10 each leg).
  2. Kettlebell Turkish Get-ups: Perform 10 repetitions (5 each side).
  3. Plate Ground-to-Overhead: Perform 30 repetitions.
  4. Plank oblique hip dips: Perform 40 repetitions (20 each side).
  5. Bosu Ball Push-ups: Perform 25 repetitions.
  6. Sandbag chest press: Perform 20 repetitions.
  7. Battle Rope Oblique Slams: Perform alternate slams for 60 seconds.
  8. Sandbag kneels to stands: Perform 20 repetitions (10 each leg).

Vigilante Vengeance:

One or two rounds.

  1. Wall Balls: Perform 20 repetitions.
  2. Burpees: Perform for 45 seconds.
  3. Medicine Ball Slams: Perform 15 repetitions.
  4. Racked lunges: Perform for 45 seconds.
  5. KB Rotational Press: Perform 15 repetitions each side.
  6. Reverse burpees: Perform for 45 seconds.
  7. KB Lateral Lunges: Perform 15 repetitions each side.
  8. Weighted side punches: Perform for 45 seconds.
  9. Med ball sit ups and throw: 20 reps.

A Death in the Family:

This short and sweet circuit is designed to set you up for the finisher. Just one round.

  1. Sledgehammer Slams: Perform for 45 seconds. (substitute with med ball wood chops if sledgehammer not available).
  2. Jump Squats: Perform to failure.
  3. Alternate arm Kettlebell Swings: Perform for 60 seconds.
  4. Devils press: Perform to failure.
  5. Reverse Mountain Climbers: Perform for 60 seconds.
  6. Battle Rope Slams: Perform for 45 seconds.

Finisher: Gotham Street Fight (Circuit): AMRAP 10 mins.

Before starting: 20 calories on Assault Bike.

  1. Sandbag Zercher Squats: x 10 reps.
  2. Farmers Walk with KB: 25 meters.
  3. KB Cleans: x 10 reps.
  4. Sandbag Biceps curls:  x 10 reps.
  5. Sandbag shoulder press: x 10 reps.
  6. SB push up and drag: x 10 reps (5 each side).
  7. Tire push: x 25 meters.
  8. KB Angel Press: x 10 reps.
  9. KB Gorilla Row: x 10 reps.

On finishing: 20 calories on Assault Bike.

Remember to cool down, stretch and drink water!

Workout Complete!!

The Streets are your again.

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