Exercise has never been more efficient than it is right now. Armed with the knowledge of such principals as heart rate zones and fast-twitch muscle building, trainers have been able to create results-producing workout programs that require little time to complete. These high-intensity circuit workouts follow that trend. Pieced together by certified personal trainer Scott Herman, the CEO and founder of Muscular Strength, each takes 10 minutes and only demands a few square feet of space. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel it: done right, each circuit will exhaust your body. Because efficiency requires maximum effort.
The Total Body Training Circuit
“This high-intensity interval training (HIIT) circuit is designed to elevate your heart rate, boosting your metabolism and maximizing your calorie burn for the day,” says Herman. It consists of 3 rounds of 5 exercises. Perform as many reps as possible of one exercise for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and then move onto the next.
- Floor Crunches
- Mountain Climbers
- Jumping Jacks
Why It’s Effective: The burpees hit a little bit of everything — shoulders, chest, arms, legs, and glutes. Floor crunches, while primarily for abs, give your body a little bit of a rest. Push-ups hit your chest, mountain climbers target the core and upper body, and jumping jacks re-ignite your quads which should already be on fire from the burpees.
Avoid: Moving too quickly. Be purposeful in your movements.“For example, always touch your chest to the ground and jump as high as you can during the burpees, and always touch your shoulders to the ground after each rep when performing the floor crunches,” says Herman.
The Fat Burning Circuit
“This is an intense workout,” Herman says. “You’re going to target muscles from head to toe, pushing your limits each round.” Again, you’ll be doing as many reps as possible per exercise and taking 30-second breaks between each set.
Why It’s Effective: The alternating skier hits your lower body and fatigues your quads. Those plank up-downs? They work core stability and, as Herman says, “cause brutal triceps and shoulder fatigue.” The alternating lunge-to-high-knees works your lower body’s stability and ab engagement, while cross-body mountain climbers do more oblique engagement than the standard variation. As for those X-outs, Herman says they hit a little bit of everything.
- Alternating skier (Squat, then jump side to side)
- Plank up-downs (Get into plank position, lower to one elbow then the other, then the other, then reverse to return to the top of a plank)
- Alternating lunge to high-knee
- Cross-body mountain climber (Mountain climbers, but move your knee to opposite side of body)
- X-out (Lay on your back with arms and legs extended to form an X with your body, then crunch in by pulling your elbows and knees to your midline)
Avoid: Phoning it in. “Get low, then jump as high as you can as you move side-to-side during the alternating skier. Keep your core tight and flexed during the plank up-down. Kick your knees as high as you can during the lunges and really cross your legs during the cross-body mountain climber,” says Herman.
The Lean Muscle Building Circuit
“This workout is an efficient full-body workout that will maximize your calories burned for the day and will build lean muscle,” Herman says. Each exercise is performed for 45 seconds and, unlike the previous workouts, there’s no rest between exercises.
- Burpee with plank (no push-up) into knee tuck
- Dumbbell row to fly
- Groiner (Get into a plank position, jump your feet to your hands, alternating legs.)
- Dumbbell low to high (right), 45 seconds
- Dumbbell low to high (left), 45 seconds
Avoid: Going too heavy with dumbbells (otherwise you won’t be able to perform the fly) and stretch beforehand (groiners require a bit of flexibility so a proper stretch before starting the routine is recommended).