If you're brand new to circuit training, here's a primer: This technique combines cardiovascular, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility and mobility exercise into one workout. It may sound like a lot for one session, especially if you don't have much time or equipment. But circuit training can be done using only the weight of your body and progressed to challenge even the fittest among us.
A circuit training workout can be performed for one or more rounds. Each exercise is completed for either a set amount of time or a certain number of repetitions. Some general guidelines:
When performed correctly, circuit training can have benefits for cardiovascular and metabolic health. (You should consult a qualified health professional such as an exercise physiologist if you have questions about what exercises are right for you and how to perform them correctly.)
This total body circuit is fun, challenging and requires minimal equipment (just a resistance band or dumbbells, though you can skip those if you don't have them).
Complete each of the following exercises for 60 seconds for a total of one to three rounds. Take a 30-60 second rest between each round. This circuit can be completed in a as little as 10 minutes if you keep your rest time in between exercises to a minimum.
0:30 seconds: Run in place
0:30-1:30 min: Rest
1:30-2:30 min: Push-ups
2:30-3:30 min: Rest
3:30-4:30 min: Push-ups
4:30-5:30 min: Rest
5:30-6:30 min: Squats
7:30-8:30: Forearm plank
9:30-10:30: Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch
10:30-11:30: Jumping jacks
12:30-13:30: Single-leg Romanian deadlifts
14:30-15:30: Staggered stance single-arm rows
16:30-17:30: Bridge march
18:30-19:30: 90/90 trunk rotation
Try to keep up the intensity. Shorter circuit training workouts are typically performed at higher intensities. If you don't have equipment, you can use water bottles or textbooks.
Challenge yourself by mixing in different exercises, progressing each of the strength-based exercises with heavier weight or more resistance or by performing the lowering portion of the upper and lower body exercises at a slower pace. Try doing the push up with a five-second lowering phase for 60 seconds, for example. And have fun!
Max Castrogaleas MS, CSCS, TSAC-F, EP-C, FRCms, Exercise physiologist at the HSS Tisch Sports Performance Center and the HSS Westchester Sports Performance Center
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