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How to create your own circuit training workout

If you’re struggling for time or just need to shake up your workout – whether that’s in the gym or at home – why not try circuit training, one of the most effective ways to optimise your workout routine.

Circuit training can be great for complete beginners right up to those advanced level fitness enthusiasts, all scaled to challenge you according to your individual goals and fitness level.

There are so many different variations of circuits to try. What’s great about them, is that if you’re in the gym you have a wide range of options to use specific equipment, but all you really need is your body. This means that they can be done anywhere that suits your lifestyle or way of working out whether that’s in the gym, at home, or even outside – either on your own or with friends and family.

When planning your circuit, try and choose what we call ‘compound exercises’ – ones that work several of your muscle groups at once – things like squats, press-ups, and lunges. This type of exercise ensures that you’re maximising your workout by raising your heart rate as well as hitting the most muscle groups possible.

Try and consider the various parts of your body too – including upper body, lower body, core, and cardio exercises will leave you confident in the knowledge that you’ve done a full body workout. If you do want to concentrate on a certain part of your body or muscle group – for example one focusing more on the lower body – that’s fine too.

Another benefit of circuits is that you often repeat the routine of exercises roughly 3-4 times. This means that when you’re first starting out, you can make it easier on yourself by only doing 2-3 rounds, building up to 3-4 the more you get used to the exercises and build up your strength.

To get you started and give you an example of what a circuit training routine really looks like, we’ve listed three below to get you on your way.

Gym based – rest after each exercise circuit

6 main stations – 1 interval station

After you complete each of the 6 main station workouts, you’ll move onto the interval station, then back up to the top to complete the next set of main station exercises for round 2. Do 45 seconds of each with a then 10 seconds rest between each one to give you time to get into position. Do the circuit 3/4 times.

Main stations

· Kettlebell swings

· Squats with weight

· Press ups

· Ball slams

· Burpees

· Plank

Interval station

· Spin bike: Sprint

No equipment – limited rest circuit

With this workout, you can choose the time you want to spend at each station. Once you’ve set out how long you want to spend on each exercise (20/30/40 seconds as an example), give it your all – resting only once you get to the end of the full list – do this for 4/5 rounds.

· Squats

· Lunge Jumps

· Sit ups

· High Knees

· Press ups

· Mountain climbers


Core focused – one round circuit

In this core workout you don’t rest in between each exercise, just power through to the end of the workout. It looks longer than the others, but you only need to complete 1 round... you can do it.

· 50 Mountain Climbers

· 50 Sit-ups

· 40 Mountain Climbers

· 40 Russian Twists

· 30 Mountain Climbers

· 30 Bicycle Crunches

· 40 Mountain Climbers

· 20 second Plank

· 50 Mountain Climbers

· 10 Heel Taps

You can swap these exercises out for any you enjoy or want to work on and practice – these are just a few to get you started and demonstrate the different types of variation you can use.

If you ever feel like stopping halfway through… try your hardest not to. You can always go slightly slower if you need to until you get your breath back, just make sure you keep going. If you liked these, and want to try a few more variations, head over to the Total Fitness App and check out Digital Workouts.

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