In this article, you will discover 10 circuit training routines that will help you achieve maximum results in your fitness journey. Whether you’re a beginner looking to get started or a seasoned gym-goer wanting to switch up your routine, these workouts are designed to challenge and push you to your limits. From full-body circuits to targeted sessions for specific muscle groups, there’s something for everyone. Get ready to sweat, build strength, and make serious progress with these 10 circuit training routines. Let’s get started!
1. Upper Body Circuit Training Routines
When it comes to upper body circuit training, there are several exercises you can include in your routine to target different muscle groups and achieve maximum results.
1.1 Push-up Variations
Push-ups are a classic exercise that primarily target the chest, triceps, and shoulders. There are several variations of push-ups that you can incorporate into your circuit training routine to make it more challenging and engage different muscle groups. Some popular push-up variations include:
- Wide grip push-ups: Place your hands wider than shoulder-width apart to increase the emphasis on your chest muscles.
- Diamond push-ups: Position your hands close together beneath your chest to focus more on your triceps.
- Decline push-ups: Elevate your feet on an elevated surface, such as a bench or step, to increase the difficulty and target your upper chest.
1.2 Dumbbell Shoulder Press
The dumbbell shoulder press is an excellent exercise to target your shoulder muscles. To perform this exercise, sit or stand with a dumbbell in each hand, and raise the dumbbells to shoulder height. Push the dumbbells overhead until your arms are fully extended, and then lower them back down to shoulder level. This exercise helps strengthen and sculpt your deltoids, which are the muscles responsible for shoulder movement.
1.3 Tricep Dips
Tricep dips are an effective exercise for targeting the triceps, which are the muscles on the back of your upper arms. To perform tricep dips, find parallel bars or a sturdy elevated surface and position your hands shoulder-width apart on the bars with your legs extended in front of you. Lower your body by bending your elbows and keeping your back close to the bars, and then push yourself back up to the starting position. Tricep dips can be modified by bending your legs at the knees or adding weight to make them more challenging.
1.4 Bent Over Rows
Bent over rows are a compound exercise that targets several muscles in the upper body, including the back, biceps, and shoulders. To perform bent over rows, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, bend your knees slightly, and hinge forward at the hips while keeping your back straight. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, and pull the dumbbells towards your chest by driving your elbows back and squeezing your shoulder blades together. Lower the dumbbells back down and repeat. Bent over rows help improve posture, strengthen the back muscles, and enhance overall upper body strength.
2. Lower Body Circuit Training Routines
To effectively work the lower body, it’s essential to incorporate a variety of exercises that target different muscle groups. Here are four lower body circuit training routines to help you achieve maximum results:
Squats are a compound exercise that primarily targets the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and lower your hips back and down as if you’re sitting into an imaginary chair. Keep your chest up and your knees tracking over your toes. Squats can be modified by adding weight, such as dumbbells or a barbell, to increase the intensity and challenge your muscles even more.
Lunges are an excellent exercise for targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. To perform lunges, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step forward with your right foot and lower your body by bending both knees until your front thigh is parallel to the ground and your back knee is hovering just above the floor. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position and repeat on the other side. Lunges can be performed stationary or walking, and you can add weights to make them more challenging.
Deadlifts are a compound exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. To perform a deadlift, stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs with your palms facing your body. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight, and lower the weight towards the ground while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Push through your heels to lift the weight back up, fully extending your hips and squeezing your glutes at the top. Deadlifts are a great exercise for building lower body strength and improving overall muscle definition.
2.4 Glute Bridges
Glute bridges are a fantastic exercise for targeting the glutes and strengthening the lower back. To perform glute bridges, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Engage your core and squeeze your glutes as you lift your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lower your hips back down, tapping the floor lightly, and repeat. Glute bridges can be modified by adding weight or raising one leg off the ground to increase the difficulty and engage the muscles even more.
3. Cardio Circuit Training Routines
Cardiovascular exercises are essential for maintaining overall health and boosting endurance. Incorporating cardio circuit training routines into your workouts can help increase your heart rate, burn calories, and improve cardiovascular fitness. Here are four cardio exercises you can include in your circuit training routine:
3.1 High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, involves alternating between short bursts of high-intensity exercises and periods of active recovery. This type of workout can be done with various exercises, such as sprints, burpees, or jump squats. For example, you can perform 30 seconds of high-intensity exercise, followed by 15 seconds of active recovery, and repeat for a set duration. HIIT is an efficient way to maximize your calorie burn and improve cardiovascular fitness in a short amount of time.
3.2 Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a classic cardio exercise that gets your heart rate up and works multiple muscle groups simultaneously. To perform jumping jacks, start with your feet together and your arms resting by your sides. Jump your feet out to the sides while raising your arms overhead, and then quickly jump back to the starting position. Repeat this movement for a set duration or number of repetitions. Jumping jacks can be modified by doing side-to-side squat jumps or adding a tuck jump at the end of each repetition to make them more challenging.
3.3 Mountain Climbers
Mountain climbers are a dynamic exercise that engages your core, shoulders, and leg muscles while also providing a cardiovascular challenge. To perform mountain climbers, start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body in a straight line. Quickly alternate bringing your knees towards your chest, as if you’re running in place. Keep your core engaged and your hips low throughout the exercise. Mountain climbers can be performed at a fast pace for a high-intensity cardio workout or at a slower pace to focus more on core stability.
Burpees are a total body exercise that combines cardio with strength training. They target the arms, chest, legs, and core muscles, making them an excellent addition to any circuit training routine. To perform a burpee, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Lower your body into a squat position and place your hands on the ground in front of your feet. Jump both feet back into a high plank position, and then quickly reverse the movement by jumping your feet back up towards your hands and then exploding into a jump. Burpees can be modified by eliminating the jump at the end or adding a push-up in the plank position for an extra challenge.
4. Core Circuit Training Routines
Strong core muscles are essential for stability, balance, and overall functional fitness. Including core exercises in your circuit training routines can help strengthen your abdominal muscles and improve your overall core strength. Here are four core exercises to incorporate into your workouts:
4.1 Plank Variations
Planks are a static exercise that targets the entire core, including the abs, obliques, and lower back. There are several variations of planks that you can include in your circuit training routine to challenge your core muscles in different ways. Some plank variations you can try are:
- High plank: Start in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders.
- Low plank: Start in a forearm plank position with your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Side plank: Start in a high plank position and rotate onto one arm and the side of your foot, stacking your feet and reaching your top arm towards the ceiling.
Hold each plank variation for a set duration, making sure to engage your core and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels.
4.2 Russian Twists
Russian twists are a dynamic exercise that targets the obliques, which are the muscles on the sides of your abdomen. To perform Russian twists, sit on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Lean back slightly while keeping your back straight and lift your feet off the ground. Hold a weight, such as a dumbbell or a medicine ball, in front of you and twist your torso from side to side, gently tapping the weight on the ground on each side. Russian twists can be modified by lifting your feet higher off the ground or using a heavier weight.
4.3 Bicycle Crunches
Bicycle crunches are an effective exercise for targeting the rectus abdominis, also known as the six-pack muscles, as well as the obliques. To perform bicycle crunches, lie on your back with your knees bent, feet off the ground, and hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the ground and bring your right elbow towards your left knee while straightening your right leg. Repeat on the other side, bringing your left elbow towards your right knee. Continue alternating sides in a pedaling motion. To increase the intensity, you can hold a weight or medicine ball in your hands.
4.4 Leg Raises
Leg raises are a challenging exercise that primarily targets the lower abdominal muscles. To perform leg raises, lie on your back with your legs extended and your arms resting by your sides. Keeping your legs straight, lift them off the ground until they form a 90-degree angle with your upper body. Slowly lower your legs back down towards the ground without touching it and repeat. For a more advanced variation, you can perform hanging leg raises using a pull-up bar or straps to suspend yourself in the air.
5. Full Body Circuit Training Routines
If you’re looking for a comprehensive workout that targets all major muscle groups, full body circuit training routines are the way to go. By including exercises that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously, you can optimize your time at the gym and achieve maximum results. Here are four full body exercises to incorporate into your circuit training routine:
5.1 Kettlebell Swings
Kettlebell swings are a dynamic exercise that targets the entire body, with a particular emphasis on the posterior chain – the muscles in the back of your body. To perform a kettlebell swing, start with your feet shoulder-width apart and a kettlebell on the ground in front of you. Hinge at the hips and grab the kettlebell handle with an overhand grip. Swing the kettlebell back between your legs, and then powerfully thrust your hips forward while swinging the kettlebell up to shoulder height. Let the kettlebell swing back down and repeat the movement. Kettlebell swings not only work your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back but also engage your core and shoulders.
5.2 Medicine Ball Slams
Medicine ball slams are an explosive exercise that targets the upper body, core, and legs. To perform medicine ball slams, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a medicine ball in both hands. Lift the medicine ball overhead with your arms extended, and then forcefully slam it down to the ground while engaging your core. Catch the rebound of the medicine ball and repeat the movement. Medicine ball slams provide a full-body workout, improving your power, explosiveness, and overall strength.
5.3 Battle Ropes
Battle ropes are a versatile and challenging piece of equipment that can be incorporated into your full body circuit training routine. Holding both ends of the ropes, begin by standing upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and your knees slightly bent. Create momentum in the ropes by using your arms, shoulders, and core to make waves or slams, depending on the exercise. The constant movement and resistance of the battle ropes engage your upper body, lower body, and core, providing a comprehensive full-body workout.
5.4 Box Jumps
Box jumps are a plyometric exercise that targets your quads, glutes, calves, and core muscles. To perform box jumps, stand in front of a sturdy box or platform with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and hips, and then explode upwards, swinging your arms to generate momentum. Land softly on the box, fully extending your hips and knees, and then step back down or jump back down to the starting position. Box jumps improve power, explosiveness, and lower body strength.
6. Interval Circuit Training Routines
Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity exercise and periods of rest or lower-intensity activity. It is an effective way to challenge your body, boost cardiovascular fitness, and burn calories. Here are four interval circuit training routines you can try:
6.1 Tabata Training
Tabata training is a specific type of high-intensity interval training that involves 20 seconds of maximum effort exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated for eight rounds. This allows you to complete a full Tabata workout in just four minutes. While Tabata training can be done with any exercise, some popular options include burpees, squat jumps, mountain climbers, or kettlebell swings. Tabata training is a time-efficient way to get a challenging and effective cardiovascular workout.
6.2 EMOM (Every Minute on the Minute)
EMOM, or Every Minute on the Minute, is a style of interval training that involves completing a specific exercise or set of exercises within a minute and then resting for the remaining time until the next minute starts. For example, you could perform 10 squats and 10 push-ups at the beginning of each minute, resting for the remainder of the minute. EMOM workouts can be easily customized to your fitness level and can incorporate a variety of exercises to target different muscle groups.
6.3 AMRAP (As Many Rounds as Possible)
AMRAP, or As Many Rounds as Possible, is another interval training format that challenges you to complete as many rounds of a specific set of exercises as possible within a specified time frame. For example, you could set a timer for 10 minutes and aim to complete as many rounds as possible of 10 squats, 10 push-ups, and 10 sit-ups. AMRAP workouts are a great way to push yourself to your limits and improve your overall fitness level.
Pyramid workouts involve gradually increasing and then decreasing the number of repetitions for a particular exercise. For example, you could start with one squat, then two push-ups, three sit-ups, and so on, until you reach a peak number of repetitions, and then work your way back down. Pyramid workouts are a challenging and engaging way to vary your intensity level and keep your body guessing.
7. Strength Circuit Training Routines
Building strength is crucial for overall fitness and health. Incorporating strength-focused exercises into your circuit training routines can help you increase muscle mass, improve bone density, and boost metabolism. Here are four exercises to include in your strength circuit training routine:
7.1 Barbell Squats
Barbell squats are a fundamental exercise for building lower body strength. To perform barbell squats, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and the barbell across your upper back. Lower your body into a squat position by bending at the knees and hips, keeping your chest up and your knees tracking over your toes. Push through your heels to return to the starting position and repeat. Barbell squats engage multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, making them an effective exercise for lower body strength development.
7.2 Deadlift Variations
Deadlifts are a compound exercise that targets the entire back side of your body, including the hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and upper back. There are several variations of deadlifts that you can incorporate into your strength circuit training routine to target different muscle groups or challenge yourself further. Some popular deadlift variations include:
- Conventional deadlifts: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your shins against the bar. Bend your knees and hips to grip the bar with an overhand or mixed grip. Keep your back straight and lift the bar by driving your hips forward and extending your knees.
- Sumo deadlifts: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes pointing out at an angle. Bend your knees and grab the barbell with an overhand or mixed grip. Push through your heels and drive your hips forward to lift the bar, keeping your back straight.
- Romanian deadlifts: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight, and lower the weight towards the ground. Push through your heels and squeeze your glutes to return to the starting position.
7.3 Bench Press
The bench press is a classic exercise that primarily targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. To perform a bench press, lie on a flat bench with your feet flat on the ground and your back pressed against the bench. Grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and lower the bar to your chest, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle. Push the barbell back up to the starting position, fully extending your arms. Bench presses can be modified by using dumbbells or an incline or decline bench to target different angles of the chest muscles.
7.4 Military Press
The military press, also known as the shoulder press, targets the shoulder muscles, primarily the deltoids. To perform a military press, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a barbell or a pair of dumbbells at shoulder level with an overhand grip. Press the weight overhead by extending your arms, and then lower it back down to shoulder level. Military presses can be performed seated or standing, and can also be modified by using a kettlebell or a resistance band.
8. Endurance Circuit Training Routines
Endurance training focuses on improving cardiovascular fitness and stamina. By incorporating endurance-focused exercises into your circuit training routines, you can increase your aerobic capacity and prolong your ability to perform physical activities. Here are four exercises to include in your endurance circuit training routine:
8.1 Running Intervals
Running intervals involve alternating between periods of high-intensity running and periods of lower-intensity jogging or walking. For example, you could sprint for 30 seconds and then recover by jogging or walking for one minute. Repeat this cycle for a set duration. Running intervals can be performed on a track, treadmill, or outdoors, and can be customized to your fitness level and preferences.
8.2 Cycling Sprints
Cycling sprints are a low-impact alternative to running intervals. To perform cycling sprints, hop on a stationary bike or a bicycle outdoors, and pedal as fast as you can for a set period of time or distance. Take a short recovery period by cycling at a slower pace, and then repeat the cycle. Cycling sprints are a great way to build endurance, improve cardiovascular fitness, and strengthen your leg muscles.
8.3 Rowing Machine Intervals
Rowing machine intervals provide a full-body cardiovascular workout, engaging the legs, core, and upper body muscles. To perform rowing machine intervals, set the resistance level on the rowing machine and row at a high intensity for a specified period of time, such as one minute. Follow this with a recovery period by rowing at a lower intensity for a set duration, and then repeat the cycle. Rowing machine intervals are an effective way to build endurance, burn calories, and improve overall fitness.
8.4 Stair Climbing
Stair climbing is a highly effective endurance exercise that targets the lower body and elevates the heart rate. You can incorporate stair climbing into your circuit training by finding a set of stairs, whether it’s at a stadium, in your apartment building, or even a stair climber machine at the gym. Alternate between sprinting up the stairs and recovering by walking or taking the elevator down. Stair climbing challenges your cardiovascular system while also toning and shaping your leg muscles.
9. Agility Circuit Training Routines
Agility training focuses on improving speed, agility, and coordination. By incorporating agility exercises into your circuit training routines, you can enhance your athletic performance and overall physical dexterity. Here are four agility exercises to include in your routine:
9.1 Agility Ladder Drills
Agility ladder drills are a fun and challenging way to improve footwork, speed, and coordination. To perform agility ladder drills, lay an agility ladder on the ground and perform a variety of movements, such as high knees, lateral shuffles, or quick feet, as you navigate through the ladder. Agility ladder drills can be customized to your fitness level and can be done both indoors and outdoors.
9.2 Cone Drills
Cone drills are another effective way to enhance agility and speed. Set up a series of cones in various configurations, such as a zigzag pattern or a T-shaped layout, and use quick footwork to navigate through the cones as fast as possible. Cone drills can be performed in a straight line or in a circular motion, and can be modified by adding lateral movements or high knee lifts to increase the challenge and engage different muscle groups.
9.3 Shuttle Runs
Shuttle runs are a classic agility exercise that involves running back and forth between two points. Set up two cones or markers approximately 10 to 20 yards apart, and sprint from one point to the other. Touch the ground at each end before changing direction and running back. Shuttle runs can be timed to challenge yourself to complete the distance in a specific timeframe, or you can incorporate variations such as lateral shuttle runs or shuffled runs to target different movement patterns.
9.4 Dot Drills
Dot drills, also known as reactive drills, involve jumping or hopping from one dot or marker to another in a specific pattern. You can create your own dot drill by using tape or markers to create a pattern on the ground. Jump or hop from one dot to another in various sequences, incorporating forward, backward, and lateral movements. Dot drills challenge your footwork, coordination, and reaction time, making them an effective way to improve overall agility.
10. Functional Circuit Training Routines
Functional training focuses on exercises that mimic real-life movements and prepare your body for everyday activities. By incorporating functional exercises into your circuit training routines, you can improve your overall physical capabilities and make your workouts more practical. Here are four functional exercises to include in your routine:
10.1 Squat to Overhead Press
The squat to overhead press is a compound exercise that combines a squat and a shoulder press, targeting multiple muscle groups in the lower and upper body. To perform this exercise, start with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a dumbbell or barbell at shoulder height. Lower your body into a squat position, keeping your knees behind your toes, and then push through your heels to stand up while simultaneously pressing the weight overhead. Lower the weight back down to shoulder height and repeat. The squat to overhead press not only builds lower body strength but also engages your shoulders, arms, and core.
10.2 Push-up with Medicine Ball Roll
The push-up with medicine ball roll is a challenging exercise that targets the chest, shoulders, and core. Start in a push-up position with your hands on the medicine ball and your feet hip-width apart. Perform a push-up, keeping your body in a straight line from your head to your heels. As you come up from the push-up, roll the medicine ball to the side with one hand, and then repeat on the other side with the other hand. The push-up with medicine ball roll improves upper body strength, stability, and core control.
10.3 Plank with Leg Lift and Row
Plank with leg lift and row is an advanced version of the plank exercise that targets the core, shoulders, and back muscles. Start in a high plank position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and a dumbbell in each hand. Lift one leg off the ground while simultaneously rowing one arm, pulling the dumbbell towards your chest. Lower your leg and arm back down and repeat on the other side. The plank with leg lift and row challenges your core stability and strength while also engaging your upper body muscles.
10.4 Kettlebell Swing with High Pull
The kettlebell swing with high pull is a dynamic exercise that targets the hips, glutes, core, and upper back. To perform this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a kettlebell between your legs. Hinge forward at the hips, keeping your back straight, and swing the kettlebell back between your legs. Explosively drive your hips forward and use the momentum to swing the kettlebell up to shoulder height. At the top of the swing, pull the kettlebell towards your chin, bending your elbows out to the side. Lower the kettlebell back down and repeat the movement. The kettlebell swing with high pull is a full-body exercise that enhances power, strength, and coordination.
Circuit training routines provide a versatile and effective way to enhance your overall fitness, maximize results, and keep your workouts engaging and exciting. By incorporating a variety of exercises from different categories, such as upper body, lower body, cardio, core, full body, interval, strength, endurance, agility, and functional training, you can target different muscle groups, improve cardiovascular fitness, build strength, enhance agility, and develop functional capability. Experiment with different exercises and formats to find what works best for you and enjoy the benefits of circuit training. Remember to always consult with a healthcare professional or a certified trainer before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any pre-existing conditions or injuries. Stay motivated, stay consistent, and have fun while achieving your fitness goals through circuit training!