Missing Your Go-To Circuit Training Class? This 20-Minute Workout Simulates All the Best Parts at Home

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Pushing yourself to your max is a key component to re-creating your favorite studio workout experience.
Image Credit: RichLegg/E+/GettyImages

By now, your favorite HIIT and circuit workout classes may seem like a distant memory — the high energy, the loud music and the high-fives. Unless your fitness studio is streaming their classes or they've moved everything outdoors, you might be longing to recapture the magic at home.

Part of what makes these classes super effective is the effort you put it. The goal is to push yourself to your maximum effort, which is much easier to do with a coach cheering you on than alone in your basement.

But if you have a heart rate monitor or fitness watch, you can use that number to get you in the zone — both mentally and physically. Ideally, you want to focus on getting your heart rate between 84 to 91 percent of your maximum heart rate for six to nine minutes of a 20-minute workout.

You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you're 35 years old, you maximum heart rate would be 185 beats per minute. You can also use your rate of perceived exertion (RPE) to track your intensity. Your RPE should be at about a 9 on a scale of 0 to 10.

Check out more of our 20-minute workouts here — we’ve got something for everyone.

Try This 20-Minute Dumbbell Circuit Workout

Now you're ready to re-create your go-to circuit classes at home by combining strength moves with some runs down the block. Lace up those shoes, and get ready to elevate your heart rate. All you need is 20 minutes and a set of light to medium dumbbells (or a creative alternative).

Do: 100 jumping jacks. Then do the remaining 6 exercises, finishing the round with a run down the block and back. Complete 2 rounds.

Move 1: Jumping Jack

Sets 1
Reps 100
Activity HIIT
Impact Level High-Impact
  1. Start with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
  2. Jump your legs out to your side and your arms above your head, creating an X with your body.
  3. Jump back to the starting position with feet together and arms by your sides.

Move 2: Push-Up

Sets 2
Reps 20
Activity Body-Weight Workout
Region Upper Body
  1. Lie on your belly, toes tucked under, palms on the floor by your shoulders, elbows pointing out at a 45-degree angle out from your torso and shoulders away from your ears.
  2. Press through your hands and straighten your arms, keeping your core engaged so that you lift your entire body off the floor.
  3. Lower yourself back down as far as you can go without lying on the ground, keeping your core engaged.

Tip

For a modification, perform the push-ups from the knees or at an incline with your hands on a bench, step or chair.

Move 3: Triceps Extension

Sets 2
Reps 15
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Region Upper Body
  1. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Straighten your arms above your head with the dumbbell placed between your hands and pressing into each other. This is the starting position.
  3. Keeping your biceps close to your ears, bend you elbows and drop the weight behind your head.
  4. Straighten your arms with control, returning to the starting position.

Move 4: Front Squat

Sets 2
Reps 10
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Region Lower Body
  1. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Bend your elbows, bringing the dumbbells up to shoulder height in front of you. This is the starting position.
  3. Bend your knees, keeping your weight in your heels, and hinge your hips back as if you were sitting in chair.
  4. Only squat as far as your range of motion allows, keeping your heels on the ground and chest up.
  5. Drive through your heels to stand, squeezing your glutes at the top.

Move 5: High Knees

Sets 2
Time (In Seconds) 30 Sec
Activity HIIT
Impact Level High-Impact
  1. Stand up straight with your arms by your side.
  2. Jog in place, bringing your knees up so that your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Create explosive movement by pumping your arms with your legs.

Tip

For a low-impact option, march in place.

Move 6: Biceps Curl

Sets 2
Reps 10
Activity Dumbbell Workout
Region Upper Body
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand at your sides with elbows close to your body.
  2. Keep your shoulders down away from your ears and your chest open. Bend your elbows, lifting your hands until the dumbbells reach your shoulders.
  3. Lower back down with control to return the starting position.

Move 7: Squat Jacks

Sets 2
Reps 20
Activity HIIT
Region Lower Body
  1. Stand up straight with your arms by your sides and your feet together.
  2. Bend your knees, then jump your feet out, dropping into a squat as your feet hit the ground.
  3. Jump your feet back together to return to the starting position and go straight into the next rep.

Tip

For a low-impact option, step out one foot at a time instead of jumping.

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