Circuit training is a workout method that gives you the benefit of building muscle while burning calories. You perform exercises at high reps and take short rest breaks in between to keep your heart rate elevated. When you are at home, you need to be creative with your exercise selection. Although you may not have free weights to hurl around, you do have the weight of your body. The goal is to get as much body movement as possible.
Pushups with Single Leg Raises
Pushups alone are classic circuit training exercises. When you add a single leg raise, you recruit more core muscles and make the exercise more challenging. Begin by lying on your stomach with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and feet together. Steadily push yourself off the floor until your arms are fully extended and then raise your right leg in the air. Your back should be straight at this point. Perform a pushup, place your foot down and perform another pushup with your other leg in the air. Alternate back and forth with each repetition.
Squat jumps are high-intensity plyometric exercises which are performed explosively. These work the leg muscles while burning calories. Begin by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower yourself down into a squat then jump in the air as high as you can. As you do this, extend your arms above your head. As soon as you land, lower yourself right back down and repeat. For a more intense variation, extend your arms and legs out to your sides when you jump in the air.
Dips target the triceps, are on the back of the arms. These are predominately strength building exercises. Use a chair to do dips. Begin by sitting on the edge of the chair with your hands by your sides and wrapped around the front of the seat. Walk your feet forward and slide your butt off the chair. Your knees should be bent at this point and your arms should be fully extended. Slowly lower yourself down by bending your elbows and stop when your upper arms parallel the floor. Push yourself back up and repeat.
Lunges work the entire lower body and they are also labor-intensive. To begin, stand with your feet together and place your hands on your hips. Keeping your back straight and core tight, take a long step forward with your right foot. Once your foot touches the floor, lower yourself down by bending your knees. Stop when both knees form 90-degree angles and rise back up. Lunge forward with your left foot and continue to alternate back and forth with each step.
Alternating Supermans work the back, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings and abs all in one motion. Begin by lying face-down on the floor with your legs together and arms extended in front of your head. Steadily raise your right arm and left leg and hold for a second. Return your arm and leg to the floor and repeat with your other side. Alternate back and forth in a smooth and steady motion.
Double crunches target your upper and lower abs. Start from a face-up position on the floor. Place your hands on the sides of your head and lift your shoulders off the floor. As you do this, lift your legs, bend your knees and tuck them in toward your chest. Move your elbows to your knees and squeeze your abs for a second. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.
With each exercise, aim for 15 to 25 repetitions. You also have the option of working out for a set time instead of counting reps. If you go this route, aim for 30 to 45 seconds with each set. Keep your rest breaks to 60 seconds or less and perform four or five circuits. As you get into better shape, reduce your rest breaks. The ultimate goal is to do your exercises back to back with no rest.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.