FitFriday #16: Total Body Circuit

Heyyy! It's Friday :) Why not start the day off with a laugh....

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On Tuesday evenings I teach a group fitness class in the local high school weight room. Here is a circuit that I used a few weeks ago. If you've read my other FitFriday posts you've probably seen some of these exercises before!

This circuit is a ladder circuit. You'll do the circuit a total of four times in multiple time increments. Starting out with a 30 second round, a 45 second round, a one minute round, and ending with 30 seconds again.

Here's the circuit:

  • 20 Mountain Climbers/10 Push-Ups
  • Lunge with Front Kick
  • Russian Twist
  • Front and Lateral Raises
  • Dead Lift
  • Jump Rope
  • Plank
  • Side Lunge
  • Bent Over Row

Exercise Breakdown

  • Mountain Climbers/Push-ups
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Start in a plank position. Make sure that your hands are directly under your shoulders and everything is in a straight line from your head down through your ankles. Drive your right knee up toward your chest, jump and switch legs. Repeat this 20 times.

To modify this exercise, take it slow and step it out instead of jumping from one foot the the other.

Once you have repeated the mountain climber 20 times, return to the plank position and lower yourself to the floor for 10 push-ups. When lowering yourself try to go as far as to lower the chest to the floor. If you can't completely lower yourself, work towards this just lowering yourself as far as possible.

  • Lunge with Front Kick
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Start in a standing position. Step back with one leg into a lunge. Both legs should be as close to a 90 degree bend as possible with the front knee directly over the toes and the back knee directly under the hip.

Push off the back leg to stand up and continue the motion forward bringing the leg forward into a front kick.

This motion can be continued on the same side and switched halfway through the time period or legs can be alternated with each repetition.

  • Russian Twist
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Start sitting and lean back to engage the abdominals. Depending on your core strength you may wish to raise your legs, as seen in the image above, or leave the feet planted on the floor. If you leave the feet planted make sure you are still leaning back far enough that you are using the abdominals for support.

Once in position, rotate the upper body from side to side. For extra intensity, a weight, like a medicine ball or a dumbbell, may be held and rotated with the upper body.

  • Lateral and Front Raises
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For this exercise, your feet will remain hip width apart with a slight bend in the knee. This exercise can be difficult, especially for the minute round! ;) I would recommend using a light to moderate weight.

Starting with your arms by your side, raise your arms to the side with the back of the hand toward the ceiling until your arms extend straight from your shoulders. Bring your arms down to the starting position and then raise them forward, again with the back of the hand facing the ceiling and stopping when the arms are in line with the shoulders.

  • Dead Lift
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It is recommended that dumbbells are used in this exercise. If you are not yet confident in adding weight, thatโ€™s okay too.

Start in a standing position, knees slightly bent, with your feet hip-width apart and weight in each hand. Keep the knees in the slightly bent position and lower yourself by bending at the hips. Keep your back flat. Bring the torso back up to the starting position, extending from the hips. Make sure you squeeze the back of the legs and the glutes when returning to the standing position. 

  • Jump Rope (A personal favorite)

If you have a jump rope to use, great, if not that's okay too. Either way try to maintain a continuous jumping pattern for the whole time period. If you don't have a jump rope, still try to simulate the arm motions as you would if you were using a jump rope.

  • Plank
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When doing a plank, form is incredibly important. Keep your elbows under your shoulders. Everything from your head, through your spine, and down to your heels should be in a straight line. SQUEEZE everything!! By that I mean everything: abs, back, glutes, hamstrings and push your energy into your heels.

  • Side Lunge
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The starting position for a side lunge should be feet hip-width apart. Step one foot out to the side and bend that knee. Be sure that the knee tracks over the toes, and the knee does not pass the toes. Extend the bent leg and bring it back to the starting position, repeating this movement with the other leg.

If the knee passes the toes, stick your hips backwards more (like sitting in a chair).

Weight can be added to this exercise by holding a weight on each side of the knee, or holding the weight close to the chest.

  • Bent Over Row
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Your feet should be hip width apart with a slight bend in the knee. Bend over at the hips with a flat back, keeping the back, neck and head in line. Extend your arms out in front of you, then pull your elbows up toward the ceiling and squeezing the shoulder blades together.

Enjoy the workout and have a happy valentines day and a great weekend!!! <3