High-intensity circuit training is an effective way to improve your muscular and aerobic fitness. Circuits can vary between 20 and 60 seconds, in which you may rest slightly or do an aerobic activity between exercises. Include the aerobic exercise if you are short on time and need to get an aerobic and muscular workout. Do just resistance exercises to focus more on muscular strength or muscular endurance.
Body-weight circuits are convenient to do at home or while traveling. Use 30-second intervals per exercise, doing as many repetitions as possible within 30 seconds. Perform this routine with no rest period between exercises; rest for one minute after every three circuits. Do push-ups, squats, tricep dips, stationary lunges alternating legs, tricep push-ups and planks. Continue through the circuit for 20 minutes. Add variety to this circuit by performing an isometric contraction for each exercise during two or three of the circuits. Do this by holding your position in the hardest part of the exercise. For example, lower yourself into a squat and stay down for 30 seconds.
Dumbbell and Treadmill Sprints
This routine keeps your heart rate quite elevated. Use light to moderately heavy dumbbells. Place an incline bench near a treadmill along with the dumbbells. Use 30-second intervals per dumbbell exercise and treadmill run. First, start with a 30-second treadmill run. Then, carefully step off the treadmill and do 30 seconds of incline dumbbell presses on the incline bench. Next, step back on the treadmill to run another 30 seconds. Continue to alternate running intervals with dumbbell exercises such as back rows, Sumo squats, biceps curls, one-legged dead lifts, tricep extensions, shoulder presses and side bends. Do two rounds of the circuit, rest for one minute, then finish with two more rounds.
Cables, Jumps and Kicks
This workout utilizes the cable machines in your local gym with jumping exercises. Perform four sets of 15 repetitions of each cable and jump exercise. For instance, do chest presses for 15 reps, then do 15 squat jumps. Repeat this exercise pair for three more rounds. Rest for 30 seconds, then do the next pair of exercises. Pair lateral pull downs with side kicks, leg extensions with jumping jacks, leg curls with front kicks, bicep curls with squat jumps, tricep extensions with lunge jumps and shoulder presses with side kicks. If the cable machine your need is occupied, do the next pair of exercises, then go back to the missed machine.
- “Strength and Conditioning Journal”; The Manipulation of Rest Duration While Completing a Circuit Weight-Training Protocol; Raul Roetert, Ph.D.; Dec. 1999
- “Personal Trainer Manual”; American Council on Exercise; 1997