Training at home has never been more popular, particularly now that the gyms have been inaccessible for several months. In this article, we are going to take a look at an at-home circuit workout which will help you build muscle, burn calories, and improve your cardiovascular fitness.
All you will need is a set of dumbbells and a stopwatch (you can use your phone). If you do not have any to hand, then we will provide a bodyweight exercise you can perform instead.
A common misconception about circuit workouts is that they require a lot of space. This is only true if there is more than one person performing the workout. If it is just one or two, then the amount of space needed is marginal.
We will be performing a type of HIIT workout, where you exercise for 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. If your fitness is not up to that, then you can increase the rest periods and shorten the exercise period from 30 seconds to 20 seconds (or further).
You can also just perform this circuit using reps and sets, like a normal gym-based workout. It comes down to your personal fitness capabilities and your individual goals.
This is a breakdown of what your circuit workout will look like, it is designed for intermediate fitness levels. Remember, if you are a beginner you can reduce the time spent exercising or increase the rest periods between exercises. Or both!
30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest. Repeat circuit 3-4 times.
In this section we will be giving a brief description of each exercise within this at-home circuit workout. We will also share a relevant YouTube video if we can find one!
Dumbbell Squat into Shoulder Press
This exercise is a great calorie burner because it works the upper and the lower body simultaneously. If you do not have any dumbbells you can just hold something that is heavy instead.
Stand upright with feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and toes turned out. Hold a dumbbell in a neutral grip in each hand, resting at shoulder height with elbows pointed out in front of you.
Push your chest out and pull your shoulder blades back together, then squat down (keeping your heels on the ground) until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Pause, and then drive upwards extending your arms upwards so that you end up standing fully upright with your arms straight up and above your head. Return the weights to the starting position and then repeat the movement.
Do not lower the weights while you descend. Lower the weights and then descend.
Body Get Ups
This exercise is ideal for home circuit workouts for a number of reasons. It is ridiculously simple to learn, it does not take up much space, and can suit all fitness levels. There is also no equipment required!
Stand upright with your hands by your sides. All you have to do now is lie down on your front on the floor. Then get yourself back up again.
While the exercise sounds easy, you may be surprised just how tiring it is to perform body get ups at a fast pace for 30 seconds.
We could not find a good video to demonstrate this, but all you are doing is slowly falling forward and then climbing back up again.
Plank Get Ups
This exercise is a great combination of cardio and a core exercise, strengthening your abs while burning calories. Perfect for a circuit workout.
Start off in the push up position. Hands on the floor, toes on the floor and a straight line from your shoulders to your heels.
Lower one arm until your forearm is touching the floor, then lower your second arm. Now both of your forearms should be on the floor and you should be in a plank position. Once your second arm touches the mat you should start to raise your first arm to the original push up position, followed by your second arm.
That’s one rep. Once both arms are back in the push up position, immediately lower your first arm back down. Repeat this until the 30 seconds has run out. Squeeze your abs throughout.
Push ups are great additions to any home workout as they require no equipment and can help you to build your upper body strength in a small space.
There are ways to make push ups more difficult or easier. If you struggle to perform full push ups, then try them with your knees on the floor and feet up.
Start off with both hands flat on the floor and your toes touching the floor. There should be a straight line from your shoulders to your heels. Make sure that your hips are not dropping.
Lower your chest down towards the ground, keeping your elbows at a 45 degree angle from your body. Pause, and then use your arms and chest to drive yourself back up again.
Lunges are some of the best lower body exercises around, and there are multiple variations to shake up your workouts. One problem though is that walking lunges take up a lot of space.
That is why we have included alternating lunges. This variation takes up a small amount of space while still providing a high quality lower body exercise.
Stand upright with feet together, shoulders back and your chest pushed out. You can place your hands by your side or clasp them together in front of your chest.
Take a large step forward with your right leg, raise your left heel up in the air. Drop your left knee towards the ground (do not let it touch the ground though). This should make your right thigh parallel to the ground.
Pause, and then return your right leg to the starting position. Repeat the movement with your left leg. You can increase the difficulty by holding a dumbbell in each hand.
Glute bridges are really good for building your glutes and hamstrings, they are also quite low in intensity. This means that from a cardiovascular point of view they are good for getting your breath back. However, you will feel this exercise the next morning!
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Your hands should be by your side. Take a deep breath and then raise your glutes off the floor by pushing your hips forward. Stop when there is a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
Squeeze your glutes like mad while you do this, particularly at the top of the movement. Then slowly lower your hips back down to the start.
Bent Knee Raises
The final exercise in this circuit is a really cool abdominal exercise, that is slightly easier to do than the traditional sit up. Yet it can still prove challenging if performed correctly.
Lie on your back with feet flat on the floor, knees bent, and arms by your sides. Then what you want to do is bring your knees towards your chest, pause, and then slowly return your feet to the floor. Just before they touch the floor stop, then return to your chest. Keep going at a nice slow and steady pace for the 30 seconds.
There you have it, a simple yet challenging full body workout circuit that can be performed safely in your home. We recommend using a smart watch or smart phone as a timer. Downloading a circuits app that can do 30 second intervals would be useful, otherwise you will spend half your time staring at a screen!