Packed on a few pounds this holiday season? Looking to add lean muscle? Either way, full body circuit training can be an effective tool to help you achieve your fitness goals. Combining multiple exercises that challenge every inch of your body into a cohesive workout can seem overwhelming, but that’s exactly why we’ve done the work for you.
Full-body circuits like the ones outlined below will test your strength, conditioning, balance, flexibility and most importantly: your mental fortitude.
For Circuits 1-4, perform each exercise for 30-45 seconds, followed by a brief rest period of equal or less time. Then, take at least 2 minutes to recover. Repeat the circuit for 3-5 rounds. As you get more comfortable, feel free to switch things up with variations of some of the staple exercises included.
Circuit 1: Kettlebells
Training exclusively with kettlebells is a fun way to switch up your stale gym routine. This full-body circuit covers everything from the all-important kettlebell swing (a great hip-hinge movement) to goblet squats that can be made more challenging by using a heavier weight, slowing the tempo, or elevating your heels on a plate.
Next, walking lunges will force you to stay balanced and utilize your quads, glutes and hamstrings to their full potential. Gorilla Rows are a great back-building exercise that also requires solid core strength. Finally, Bridge Pullovers will leave your lats, shoulders, glutes and abs on fire!
- Goblet Squats
- Walking Lunges
- Gorilla Rows
- Bridge Pullovers
Circuit 2: Dumbbells
Make sure to pick up a few pairs of dumbbells so you can perform each exercise with the appropriate load. First up are Thrusters, which are the very definition of a full-body exercise. Hammer Curls followed by Overhead Triceps Extensions will leave your bi’s and tri’s burning before you dive into Renegade Rows.
Wrap things up with Dead Bugs, which work every abdominal muscle, as well as your mind. You may be surprised at how fatigue will make you forget how to lower your opposite arm and leg simultaneously!
- Hammer Curls
- Overhead Triceps Extensions
- Renegade Rows
- Dead Bugs
Circuit 3: No Equipment
No equipment? No problem. This full-body circuit requires nothing except your full effort. Start off with jump squats, focusing on exploding as high in the air as you can on every rep. Next, walk it out and lower yourself to the floor with an Inchworm to Push-Up. Then, flip over and get ready to put your lower abs to the test with Leg Raises. (Pro tip: Try the single-leg version for an added challenge.)
Don’t think your leg workout ended with jump squats. Raise your hands in the air and prepare your quads for Overhead Reverse Lunges, which will leave you trembling. Finish it off with a full-body exercise that’ll make you appreciate being able to walk on two feet: the Bear Crawl.
- Jump Squats
- Inchworm to Push-Up
- Leg Raises
- Overhead Reverse Lunges
- Bear Crawl
Circuit 4: Mixed Equipment
Take advantage of YouFit’s wide range of equipment with this all-encompassing full-body circuit. Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings will work your body from head to toe. The Dumbbell Overhead Press is a classic push movement that will help you develop defined delts.
Ramp things up with Medicine Ball Power Slams–and take out any frustration you may have in the process. Battle Rope Alternating Waves serve as a humbling reminder of the mental and physical toughness it takes to last 30-45 seconds. And as a final way to build your confidence and overall athleticism, attack the Box Jumps with conviction and raise the bar on what you thought was possible.
- Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing
- Dumbbell Overhead Press
- Medicine Ball Power Slams
- Battle Rope Alternating Waves
- Box Jumps
Circuit 5: Olympic Platform Challenge
Pick a compound lift you want to focus on, such as the barbell back squat, barbell front squat, overhead press, or a deadlift variation. Use a weight that you can perform for 5-8 reps. Then, select two upper-body based exercises, two lower-body based exercises and one core exercise to round out the circuit. Perform the supplementary movements for a set number of reps or time.
Here is an example:
- Barbell Back Squat
- Dumbbell Step-Ups
- Single-Leg Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts
- Dumbbell Shrugs
- Lateral Raises
- Weighted Plank
Rest for at least 2-3 minutes after completing the entire circuit. Aim for 3-5 rounds, and don’t be afraid to increase the intensity (add more weight!) as you progress over the ensuing weeks.