You’ve probably heard the buzz around circuit training – it’s everywhere. Magazines, reality TV shows, radio advertisements, gym workout challenges, Pinterest boards, memes, Instagram posts – everyday, we’re inundated with new circuits to try and workouts to test. Since we’re addicted to all things fitness – it’s not a bad addiction to have – we’ve road tested three amazing workouts for all levels. Can’t get to the gym? No excuses, each circuit can be completed in the privacy of your own living room. Crank Eye of the Tiger and get ready to sweat.
1. The All-Over Body HIIT
Equipment free workouts take your regime back to basics, re-centring both your focus and your technique. If you’re struggling through those weighted squats, ditch the bar for a while and connect with the floor, your body and your ability to push through.
Stage 1: 10 Lunge Jumps
Knowledge Check: Stand straight with your feet aligned and bend your elbows to a 90 degree angle. Lunge with the right foot before jumping up, getting enough air to change legs, and land with your left in a forward lunge position. Switch. Remember, 1 rep is only notched up after both legs have been lunged.
Stage 2: 20 Push-Ups
Knowledge Check: Place your hands square and strong on the ground, just a little more than shoulder-width apart. Check your feet are aligned correctly and your back is flat and not sagging; pretend you have a fish line pulling your belly button toward the sky and support your weight from the core. Keep your butt out of the air too! Looking ahead, brace your arms, clench your glutes and activate those abs before lowering yourself. The depth will depend on your strength, age and fitness. Snap back up with purpose, leave the methodology for the lowering segment.
Stage 3: 30 Squats
Knowledge Check: Squats are not just for leg day. They will makeover your entire body if you do them correctly from the get-go. Extend your arms out in front of you, stay present in your intent and make sure you back is straight; inhale as you bend and push your hips back, bending your knees so they’re in line with your feet at all times. Go low until your butt is lower than your knees, tighten everything up, check-in with your back again and snap up, driving your hips in and your knees straight.
Stage 4: 40 Chair Dips
Knowledge Check: Grab a kitchen chair and turn away from it – don’t sit down. There’s no time for sitting. Place your butt on the very edge of the seat, hold onto the seat under your thighs and walk forward until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Make sure your hands are stable and slowly lower your body until your arms bend 90 degrees; extend your arms and raise your body without engaging your thigh muscles.
Stage 5: 50 Mountain Climbers
Knowledge Check: They aren’t the most dignified body weight exercise, but mountain climbers can improve your health in various ways, from the physical to the circulatory. Get down in the push-up position and check your body is straight, from shoulders to ankles, maintaining that supported line as you lift and raise your left foot to your chest (or as far as it will go) before returning it to first position and changing legs. If you’re not a mountain climber fan, go slow and develop your technique.
2. The 15 Minute Crawler
Be as one with the ground as this routine has you on your hands and knees for much of the time. Don’t be fooled by its seeming simplicity, it has been designed to lure you in and shake up your fitness levels.
Stage 1: The Bear Crawl
Knowledge Check: Prepare yourself for three sets of the Bear Crawl. Keeping your feet squarely planted on the ground, lean over and put your hands on the ground. Walk as fast as you can in this position, ensuring your legs remain straight as you swing your feet outside where your hands touch down. It sounds easy, but keep going anyway for 15 metres. Repeat.
Stage 2: The Crab Walk
Knowledge Check: Have you ever watched a crab scuttle across the sand? Well, you’re about to do an impression! Take a seat on the floor, and set yourself up in a bridge – don’t round your back or let your head sink downward. Your torso should be a solid table. Walk on your hands and feet, aiming for speed. Three sets, 15 metres each.
Stage 3: The Burpee
Knowledge Check: Combining a burpee and a push-up, the Burpee is fitness boosting exercise you’ll love to hate. Bend at the hips and touch your hands on the ground, push your legs out to a push-up position quickly, completing a push-up and jumping your legs between your hands.
Stage 4: Sprints
Knowledge Check: Do you hate running? Tough it out for 5 reps forward and 5 reps backward (yep, we want you to run backwards), for 50 metres each. The results will be worth it.
Stage 5: Walking Lunges
Knowledge Check: Hold a dumbbell or bag of flour in each hand. Stand straight, place your feet together and engage your core; taking a calculated step forward, curl the weights upward as the back knee almost touches the ground and your front knee looms over an ankle. Push through your back foot and bring it forward, starting again. 3 sets, 15 reps, great legs and strong glutes.
3. Weight For It
Okay…we couldn’t resist. If you have access to weights gear at home, this one is definitely for those days you can’t get to the gym but want to. Warning: You may develop solid, strong muscles as a side effect. For the best results, repeat this circuit from 10 to 1; the first circuit should have 10 reps, the next 9, the next 8 and so on.
Stage 1: The Jump Squat
Combining squatting and a little spring action, the Jump Squat is a great warm-up to the big stuff later on. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart before squatting to the half-way point (don’t go low) before shooting up. You should be landing lightly, with relaxed knees, ready for the next repetition.
Stage 2: The Pull-Up
If you’re not able to complete an unassisted pull-up, this isn’t the exercise for you. Those good to go should hang from a pull-up bar or something resembling one (roof beam, playground equipment, a sturdy branch etc), pulling your chin above your hands.
Stage 3: The Dip
You’ll ideally have access to parallel bars or a parallel bar – if you haven’t invested in this piece of equipment, head to a park and embrace your childhood for a little while. After claiming a good quality bar, suspend yourself over the bar before slowly and methodically lowering your body until your triceps and biceps are at 90 degrees.
Even if you’re not quite ready to complete every circuit, the results you want won’t become a reality tomorrow if you don’t challenge yourself today!
This article was proudly provided by the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers, who support Genesis Fitness and help our members achieve their fitness goals.