Not able to go to the gym for a workout? Staying fit and healthy while being stuck at home can be difficult but certainly not impossible. The components of fitness to consider when developing a home exercise training program are cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility and mobility. This may sound like a lot to include into one workout session, especially if you don’t have much time available. A circuit training routine will allow you to incorporate all of the fitness components into a time efficient and fun home workout session.
No equipment or machines? No worries, as a circuit training workout can be completed with little to no equipment. There are various bodyweight exercise variations that can be progressed to challenge even the most fit individuals. Planning to buy equipment? resistance bands or dumbbells can be utilized with most circuit training workouts. When performed correctly, circuit training can have benefits for cardiovascular and metabolic health. For your safety, it is important to perform each exercise with proper technique. Remember to 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.
A circuit training workout can be performed for one or more rounds and each exercise is completed for time or repetitions. Each exercise should target a different muscle group in order to prevent overuse and risk of injury. Do not perform 8 exercises in a row that target the same muscle group. Because each exercise targets a different muscle group, you do not need a lot of rest between each exercise. However, you do need to consider the rest time between each round so that you are able to perform at your best for the entire workout. In a circuit training workout, you are also able to adjust the intensity. As the intensity ramps up, you must focus on maintaining proper technique in order to minimize the risk of injury.
If you are brand new to circuit training here is an example total body circuit that is fun, challenging, and requires minimal equipment (resistance band or dumbbell). It incorporates cardio, strength, mobility and flexibility all in one. 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 as little as 10 minutes. Shorter circuit training workouts are typically performed at higher intensities. If you do not have equipment you can use water bottles or textbooks!
Example Home Circuit Training Workout
|Run in Place||Lower body (cardio)|
|Push ups||Upper body (strength)|
|Squats||Lower body (strength)|
|Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch||Mobility/flexibility|
|Jumping Jacks||Lower body (cardio)|
|Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts||Lower body (strength)|
|Staggered Stance Single Arm Rows||Upper body (strength)|
|Bridge March||Core (strength)|
|90/90 Thoracic Rotation||Mobility/flexibility|
You can challenge yourself by using different exercises, progressing each of the strength-based exercises on this program, or by performing the lowering portion of the upper and lower body exercises at a slower pace. Try doing the push up with a 5 second lowering phase for 60 seconds. Have fun!
Updated on March 23, 2020
Max Castrogaleas MA, CSCS, TSAC-F, EP-C, FRCms is an exercise physiologist at the HSS Tisch Sports Performance Center and the HSS Westchester Sports Performance Center. He graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s in Nutrition and Exercise Science and the Teachers College at Columbia University with a Master’s in Applied Exercise Physiology.