For many athletes, planning quality workouts amidst academic and sports commitments is challenging. Thus, circuit training is an ideal option for scheduling condensed yet intense sessions.
Below are two brutally efficient total-body circuit workouts. One consists of just bodyweight movements, and the other uses just a pair of dumbbells. With such a small time commitment (15-30 minutes max including a warm-up and cooldown) and so little equipment required, these workouts leave no room for excuses. Not only will they leave you with a muslce-boosting pump in your arms and legs, but they'll enhance the endurance needed to outlast opponents during crunch time.
- Two moderately heavy dumbbells (70-80% RM)
- Pull-Up bar (or a racked barbell for Inverted Rows)
- Water bottle
- Exercise mat (optional)
- Timer (optional)
- Do an upper- and lower-body dynamic warm-up (e.g.,
Press-Outs with Side Lunges).
- Finish with cooldown static upper- and lower-body
stretches for greater flexibility and range of motion.
- Hydrate before, during and after workouts.
- Do workouts on non-consecutive days for adequate
- Do two circuits of 10 reps per exercise (except for
- Perform the exercises in any sequence each workout.
- Rest: 15- to 30-second water breaks after performing successive (non-stop) exercises.
Workout 1: Bodyweight Beast
Circuit 1: Prone, Side, Reverse Planks
- Hold each Plank for 30 seconds.
- Repeat for two sets.
Circuit 2: Single-Leg Squats, Jump Squats, Forward Lunges
- Perform 10 right and 10 left Single-Leg Squats, 10 Jump Squats and 20 Forward Lunges (10 on each leg).
- Take a break to hydrate between sets. Repeat for two sets.
Circuit 3: Plyometric Push-Ups, Inverted Rows (or Pull-Ups), Clockwise and Counterclockwise Arm Circles
- Perform 10 Plyometric Push-Ups (hands airborne between reps), 10 Pull-Ups (or Inverted Rows), and then 10 Clockwise and 10 Counterclockwise Arm Circles. Repeat for two sets.
Workout 2: Dumbbell Derby
Unlike the previous workout, during which you performed three exercises per circuit and then repeated, this workout has you moving from one exercise to another in quick succession before repeating the entire six-move circuit a second time.
Exercise 1: Squats/Overhead Presses Combo
- Hold both dumbbells with a neutral grip at shoulder level.
- Slowly squat and then explosively rise and press the dbs overhead.
- Perform 10 reps and then move to the next exercise without rest.
Exercise 2: Side Lunges/Twists Combo
- Hold a single dumbbell horizontally at opposite ends, keeping it close to your chest. Lunge laterally right while simultaneously rotating your upper body right.
- Return to start position and continue the right Side Lunges/Twists until you complete 10 reps.
- Perform 10 left Side Lunges/Twists. The Side Lunges/Twists effectively elevate core and lower body-strength.
- Briefly hydrate before moving to the next exercise.
Exercise 3: Single-Leg Cross Rows
- Hold one dumbbell in your right hand.
- Lift your right foot off the ground and slightly bend your left knee.
- Slowly lower the dumbbell across your body toward the left knee, pause, and pull the db to start position.
- Perform for a total of 10 reps before switching hands and performing 10 reps on the opposite side. This is a great exercise that simultaneously optimizes lower-body balance and upper-body strength.
- Move to the next exercise without rest.
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Floor Press
- Lie on your back and press the dumbbells over your chest.
- Slowly lower, pause, and explosively press up.
- Perform a total of 10 reps before briefly hydrating and moving to the next exercise.
Exercise 5: Squats with Upright Rows
- Assume an athletic stance while holding the dumbbells with a prone grip shoulder-width apart at waist level.
- Slowly squat and then quickly rise up while simultaneously pulling the dumbbells to chest level.
- Return to starting position and perform a total of 10 reps of this total-body move.
- Without resting, go to the next exercise.
Exercise 6: Dumbbell Suitcase Carries
- Hold one dumbbell in your right hand.
- Simply walk forward for 15-30 seconds while trying to keep your upper body as straight as possible and your core engaged.
- Switch hands and perform a Dumbbell Suitcase Carry on the opposite side.
- Hydrate and then repeat the entire six-exercise sequence one more time.
Photo Credit: shapecharge/iStock
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