One of my personal favorite workouts is a circuit-training workout. It’s fast, effective, and allows you to mix it up so you don’t get bored. Circuit training is a program in which you complete one exercise after another with little to no breaks in between. The benefits of circuit training are countless. A well-designed circuit program will not only work your cardiovascular system, but also several other targeted muscle groups in the same workout. The constant movement from one exercise to another should keep your heart rate up allowing you to burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. Aside from the immediate calorie burn, building muscle means you’ll continue to burn calories even after you’ve worked out! Also, you can create your own program with the equipment you have on hand and constantly mix it up so you’ll never get bored!
The circuit workout I have created is a great example of a quick and effective workout that focuses primarily on cardio (keeping that heart rate up) as well as legs, arms, and abdominals. It requires no equipment and takes about 25 minutes and for me, burns up to 175 calories and 25 grams of fat. Slap on a heart rate monitor to check your burn.
For this workout, you will complete an entire circuit three times. One circuit equals a series of six simple exercises completed with no break in between. Once one circuit has been completed, take a short break to get some water, then repeat for the second and likewise for the third! Here’s how it works:
1. Jumping jacks for 1 minute:
–Option: After 30 seconds switch to squat jumping jacks. This is when you bend your knees and lower to squat position while still doing jumping jacks. It’s a killer leg workout!
2. Shadow Boxing for 1 minute: Shadow boxing is the same as boxing with a punching bag, but minus the bag. Remember: keep good form and don’t punch too hard. Go easy on your joints.
–Option: To really get a leg workout:
1. Stand in boxing ready position.
-This is a sideways stance with the shoulder and hand opposite your dominant punching hand in front. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands up to either side of your face.
2. Punch two times with your dominant punching hand then drop that front leg into a forward lunge and make an upper cut motion with the other arm (the same one as the leg that’s doing the lunge).
3. Get back up and repeat for 30 seconds
4. After 30 seconds, switch sides and do the same thing.
3. Weights or 15 reps: The weight you choose will vary person to person. You should choose a weight that you can do with good form for 10 reps. It should begin to get difficult as you reach the tenth rep. If it is easy…choose a heavier weight to be sure you are reaping the benefits.
–Option: Mix up your types of reps. You can do 15 bicep curls one time, 15 triceps curls the second, and 15 free weight chest presses. Keep it interesting and effective!
–Option 2: For an equipment-less workout, do pushups instead!
4. Side Squats for 1 minute: These are great for your inner thighs!
1. Start standing straight up with feet shoulder-width apart.
2. Step left leg directly to the left and dip into a sideways squat. (DO NOT TURN YOUR BODY…You will remain facing forward as you squat to the side. You will end in sumo wrestler like stance).
3. As you dip into full squat position, in fluid motion, bring right hand to the ground directly next to your right foot. This will help keep your balance.
4. Return to standing position with feet shoulder-width apart.
5. Repeat with the opposite side.
6. Return to standing position with feet shoulder-width apart and repeat side to side for 1 minute.
5. 25 Sit ups: The style of sit ups you do can vary just like the free weights. Mix it up for your own enjoyment and effectiveness.
6. Burpees for 15 reps: The dreaded burpees are the best/worst part of this circuit.
1. Start standing straight up feet shoulder width apart.
2. Squat down and place hands in front of you.
3. Kick your feet back so you land in push up position
4. Take an optional Pushup.
5. Kick feet back up to squatting position with hands still on ground in front of you. (The position you landed in before you kicked your feet back.)
6. Jump up in the air and be sure to land softly on your toes to avoid injury to knee joints.
7. Repeat 15 times.
7. Take a 30 second to 1 minute water break then repeat twice!!
This is the breakdown of the circuit I most enjoy. Don’t be afraid to mix it up to form a circuit you are most comfortable with. Working out is most effective when you enjoy it, and keeping it fresh and new will make you want to continue with your exercise program!