Creating a Circuit Training Routine

Creating a Circuit Training Routine

Often people send me workouts that they created for my opinion. This week an email prompted me to write about many of the varieties of workouts that you can create using a circuit program.

Often people like to use the circuit workout as a form to quickly get through a workout routine yet still workout effectively. Here are some examples of a few of the varieties of the routines you can develop:

The Bodyweight Full-body Routine

I like to alternate an upper body and a lower body exercise into a challenging non-stop routine then follow it up with a moderate form of cardio exercise.

Warm-up / stretch Pull-ups - max reps Squats - 20-30 reps Pushups - max reps 1 minute Lunges - 10/leg Sit-ups - max reps 1 minute Lower back extensions - 1 minute Repeat above 3-4 times

This workout will require no weights and will work the push and pull muscles of the upper body, the front and back of the torso, as well as the legs.

The Weights / Machine Full-body Workout

Similarly to the above workout, you can use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, and weight machines to complete this routine:

Warm-up / Stretch Pullups or Pulldowns - 10-15 reps Bench Press - 10-15 reps Leg Press - 10-15 reps Rest with crunches - 30-50 reps Dumbbell Mix - in one movement - squats, bicep curls, military press, tricep extensions 10-15 reps Woodchopper Squats - 10-15 Bent over rows - 10-15 / arm One Arm Snatch lifts - 10-15/arm Push press - 10-15 reps

This workout requires a gym or a variety of weight systems to use to complete, but will work the push / pull muscles of the upper-body, the legs, as well as the kinetic links of full-body movements.

The Classic Push / Pull Workout

This workout is for the quick upper body routine if you like to split your routines into upper body and lower body workouts on alternating days:

Warm-up / Stretch Pullups - 50% max reps Bench Press - 50% bodyweight - max reps Bicep Curls - 10-20 reps Pushups - 50% max reps Abs of choice - 50 reps Bent over rows - 10-20 reps Dips - 10-20 reps Pull-downs - 10,10,10 (wide, regular, reverse grip) Reverse flies - 10-20 Pushups - max reps Abs of choice - 50 reps Repeat as many times as needed

These are just a few of the many ways you can mix in a variety of exercises to produce an effective routine that will quickly help you reach the results you are seeking. Once again, the circuit is designed so you do not have to rest during the workout, BUT you actually rest muscle groups while working opposing muscle groups.

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Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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