You don't have to head to the gym when you can get your maximum calorie burn with at home circuit training. With this type of workout, you combine the strength building benefits of weightlifting with the aerobic activity of a cardio workout. It is one of the best types of exercise for optimal fitness.
At Home Circuit Training
Using a timer or clock, set your workout to do each exercise for 45 seconds followed by 15 seconds of recovery time. If you're new to exercising, listen to your body and take more frequent breaks if you need them. Start with a good warm-up to help your body get ready for exercise and to avoid injury. Warming up before and stretching afterward are important steps you shouldn't skip.
The No-Equipment Workout
This at home circuit training routine without equipment can be done from home, from a hotel room while traveling, or even at a park while your kids play.
- Start with a brisk walking in place, allowing your arms to swing.
- Do arm circles, gradually getting bigger as time passes.
- Do arm circles in the other direction, again making the circles bigger as time passes.
- Do high knees, drawing your knees up above your waist if possible.
- Do alternating lunges. For more challenge, reach your arms straight overhead while you lunge.
- Take it to the ground for a plank hold.
- Do mountain climbers, or if that's too much, assume a stance of all-fours on the floor and alternate pulling your knees in toward the opposite elbow.
- Hold a wall sit.
- Do triceps dips, either from the ground or from a chair.
- Do squats, keeping your weight in your heels and going as deep as you can.
- Do jumping jacks.
- Do crunches, or if you can, full sit-ups.
- Do reverse crunches.
- Do inchworms: From a standing position, hinge at the hips until your hands are on the ground. Walk your hands out until you're in a plank position, and then walk your hands back to return to your standing position.
- Alternate jumping side to side with jumping front to back. If jumping is too much, march it out.
- Start back with the beginning (the brisk walking in place) and work through again. When warm-up and stretch are added, this workout should be around 40-45 minutes.
Home Circuit With Equipment
If you have some equipment at home, try this circuit. This option includes both timed and numbered reps.
- Sit-ups - Begin with 15, adding an additional sit-up every time you do this sequence.
- Squat - Start off with 10 reps, adding another squat each time you do the sequence.
- Chest press - Begin with a comfortable weight, doing 10 reps each set. Increase weight by one to two pounds each workout as you are comfortable.
- Step-ups - Use a step stool or bench to step up beginning with each foot, 10 times each. Increase by one rep each additional workout.
- Push-ups - Do as many standard push-ups as you are able, increasing one rep each workout.
- Jumping jacks - Do jumping jacks for 30 seconds. Increase your time by five seconds each week.
- Dumbbell pullover - Repeat as with the chest press.
- Repeat step-ups.
- Biceps curl - Repeat as with chest press.
- Repeat jumping jacks.
- Triceps reverse kickback - Follow guide for chest press, doing 10 reps with each arm.
Progress Is Important
Don't be afraid to add additional weight, time, or reps as you progress with the workout. Your body will learn quickly the new demands that you are placing on it. However, don't force the movement if you feel signs of strain or pain.
Aim for a Full-Body Workout
Your at home circuit training will consist of a series of exercises that you choose to target all areas of your body. For maximum benefit, you will want to combine both cardio and strength training exercises. Aim for about 10 exercises to use for your routine. It's a good idea to target the larger muscles of your upper and lower body first, and then move on to isolating the smaller muscles. In this way, you will postpone muscle fatigue and avoid injury.
Track Your Progress
You may want to create a spreadsheet that lists your exercises in order to keep track of weightlifting and the number of reps in the routine. You should plan on creating a new routine about every six weeks. Complete the workout at least three times a week, with a rest day in between.
A Varied Option
Circuit training can involve a wide variety of exercises and equipment. A cardio kickboxing circuit is a good example of a workout that will keep you moving and engaged in the activity. An agility circuit will increase your fitness level quickly. Create a circuit that includes the moves you enjoy (and find challenging).
Benefits of Circuit Training
A benefit of circuit training lies in how your body reacts to the workout. The change of exercises challenges your body, preventing it from getting accustomed to the activity. This fact translates into maximum calorie burn for your efforts. Besides, who could pass up the benefit of exercising at home, with no sweaty workout machines or waiting your turn at the next station?