Many people want a killer body but find it hard to fit a good workout into their busy schedule. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to spend at the gym. Circuit training may be the solution we all need or want in our lives. A circuit training workout is a perfect way to get through those plateaus, improve your conditioning, develop muscle tone and just improve your body’s composition. In fact, circuit training builds lean tissue and boosts your metabolism up to 24-hours post workout. Circuit training, like any form of training, needs to be mixed up and utilizing many different circuit training workouts will provide the best results. Not to mention they can be done at the gym or as an at home workout.
A circuit training workout is the best way to get a total body workout that can be done at the gym or as an at home workout.
Set Up the Circuit Training Workout
Circuit training can be done as an at home workout or at the gym and requires a very simple setup. First, you’ll need a mat, a medium to heavy weight dumbbell, a bit of open space, and a bench. Each piece will have its own station and during the workout, you’ll cycle through the stations. During the workout, you’ll spend 30 seconds at each station with a 10-second rest between each one. After you’ve completed the circuit, rest for 90 seconds before repeating and aim for a total of 20 reps per exercise.
Floor | Prisoner Squats
For this circuit training workout start by standing with your feet apart and place your hands behind your head (as if you were being arrested). Keep your arms and shoulders back and keep them that way during the entire movement. Also be sure to brace your abs and keep a neutral spine throughout the movement as well. Once in position, lower your body as far down as you can by hinging your hip at the joint and bending at the knees. Don’t let your knees pass your shoelace line and don’t round out your back towards the bottom. Return back to the standing position and repeat.
Dumbbell | Plank Row
To make this workout an at home workout, you’ll need to start out in a plank position with your hands holding onto the dumbbells with your wrists straight, avoiding any flexion or extension at the joint. Your feet should be hip-width apart or wider, if wider, the exercise will be easier. Keep your abs tight and your glutes engaged as this will help brace your spine. Lift your right elbow straight up and be sure to stabilize your torso as you do. Return the weight to the ground and repeat the movement on your left side.
Bench | Alternate Step Ups
One of the most simple setups yet, stand in front of a bench and stand there with dumbbells in your hands. Flex at your hip joint so that you can place your foot on the bench while keeping a neutral spine. Do not let your back round out as you do this exercise. Once your foot is on the bench, transfer your weight to that foot and extend your leg so that you can push yourself up to stand on the bench. Step back down with the same foot that was last on the ground and switch. Obviously, a bench is needed to make this an at home workout but you can also use a step stool or a stable chair.
Mat | Push Ups
Start on the mat in the plank position while keeping your abs braced and chin in looking forward. Lower yourself down towards the ground as low as you possibly can. Return to the starting position and repeat. These are basic push-ups but keeping your body straight and bracing your abs will give you the workout you really need.
Floor | Jumping Side Lunge
For this circuit training workout, stand with your feet hip-width apart with your arms by your sides. Once in position, hop onto your right foot while sweeping your left foot diagonally behind your right leg. Swing your left and right arm across your body and repeat but with the opposite foot. Each time you switch your foot is one rep.
Dumbbell | One Arm Snatch From Floor, Alternating Arms
Simply place the dumbbell between your feet on the floor. Bend your knees, pushing your butt back to get in the right starting position, a deep squat. Look straight ahead and swing the dumbbell back between your legs. When the dumbbell swings to the front, follow it up into a standing position using your hips and knees. Keep the momentum of the dumbbell going until your arms are straight up. Use a lighter weight if needed in the beginning and gradually work your way up to heavier weights over time.
Bench | Leg Raises
Lie on your back on top of the bench keeping your lower back in contact with the bench. Your feet and your legs straight and together. Your hands can be in two places either over your head, grabbing the bench or under your lower back for support. Lift your legs straight up towards the ceiling and then lower them down as far as you can. The entire time, your legs and feet should be straight and together. Each time your legs go up is one rep.
Mat | Bicycle Crunches
Lay on your back on top of the mat with your knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands behind your head for support and press your lower back into the mat. Move your right elbow and left knee towards each other, meeting just above your belly button. Simultaneously, straighten your right leg, keeping it just above the ground. Switch the limbs by moving your left leg out and right leg up to meet your left elbow. Repeat for as many reps as possible.