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Circuit Training Workout

Circuit training is a great way to combine cardio and strength if you're short on time.  This workout has two circuits, each with six strength/cardio exercises that are completed one right after the other, with little or no rest in between.  Do each exercise for the specified amount of time (or as long as you can safely do so) and then move on to the next exercise.  Once you complete all exercises, that is considered one circuit.  Make sure you warm up with 5-10 minutes of light cardio and cool down with a stretch.  Times are suggestion only--please modify according to your fitness level and perceived exertion (which should stay between Level 5-9).

  • Beginners: Complete Circuit I once
  • Intermediates: Complete both circuits once (or more)
  • Advanced:  Complete both circuits 3 or more times

Circuit I

Exercises/Duration Example
Squats
Place an exercise ball behind the back and against the wall with feet hip-width apart, abs in and torso straight.  Bend your knees and lower down until knees are at 90 degrees (don't go down as low if you have knee problems).  Repeat for 30-60 seconds and hold weights for added intensity.
Jumping Rope (with or without a rope)
30 seconds to 1 minute
Jump with both feet together, jumping only an an inch or so off the floor.
Lunges
Stand in split stance, right foot in front.  Bend the knees and lower body into lunge position, keeping the right knee behind the toe, torso upright and abs in. 30 seconds, then switch legs for 30 seconds and hold weights for added intensity.
Jog or Walk
Up to 5 minutes
Either outside or inside, walk or jog for 1-2 minutes at a brisk pace.  Increase speed and work as hard as you can for 2 minutes.  Recover for 1 minute.
Push Ups - On Knees or Toes
30 seconds to 1 minute 
 
Squats with Front Kick
Stand with feet together. Bring the right knee up and extend the leg in a front kick (don't lock the knee!). Lower down into a low squat (knees behind toes) and then kick with the left leg. Repeat (right kick, squat, left kick) for 1-3 minutes.

Circuit II

Exercises/Duration Example
Squat/Lateral Raise
Stand with feet hip-width apart, abs in and torso straight. Slowly bend knees into a squat, keeping knees behind toes. At the same time, raise arms up to shoulder level. Lower arms and stand up. Repeat for 30-60 seconds.
 Squat/Lateral Raise
Side-to-Side jump
 20-30 seconds
 Place a pillow, phone book or step on the floor and stand to one side.  Jump from side to side over the object, landing with knees bent and abs in.
Plank with Leg Extension
In plank position on the ball as shown or on the floor, slowly lift one leg while keeping hips and shoulders square, abs in.  Switch legs, alternating for 20-60 seconds.  Modify by staying on the knees.
Jumping Rope (with or without a rope)
30 seconds to 1 minute
Jump on one foot for half the time and switch legs for the remainder, jumping only an an inch or so off the floor.
Lunge with Biceps Curls
In split stance, slowly lower into lunge (front and back legs at 90 degrees), and curl forearms towards shoulders.  20-30 seconds on each leg.
Back Extensions
Lie face down on a ball (shown) or floor with the legs extended and hands behind the head or under the chin. Roll down over the ball and then squeeze the lower back to lift the chest off the ball in a straight line. Lower and repeat for 30-60 seconds.
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