Circuit-Training Workout

Circuit training is an exercise technique that alternates between strength training and aerobic activity in one workout session. Studies have shown that circuit training is an excellent way to increase cardiovascular health and muscle strength, as well as stave off boredom.

Chest Press

"Circuit training can keep motivation levels high due to the variety of motion," says Shannon Griffiths, president and chief executive of Sunshine Fitness Resources in Boulder, Colorado. "It's also convenient and quick -- a benefit for those who can't seem to find the time to work out."

Go through this routine twice and you'll spend about 30 minutes exercising your heart, lungs, and muscles. If a 30-minute workout seems too challenging, start with 15 minutes.

Chest Press

a. With the ball under your mid- to upper back, hold the weights above your chest.

b. Slowly lower until your elbows are flexed at 90 degrees to your side, then raise again.

Ball Squat

a. Place an exercise ball between your lower back and a wall.

b. Slowly lower yourself until knees are bent, as if sitting. Slowly rise again.

Alternating Front and Back Raises

a. Stand with one foot on the center of the resistance band and a handle in each hand. Raise your arms in front to shoulder level.

b. Swing arms back to hip level, then return to start.

Seated Bicep Curls

a. Sitting on the ball, hold weights with elbows close to your body.

b. Raise the weights to shoulders, then lower again.

Child's Pose

While kneeling, lower your chest and face toward the floor while extending your arms. Stretch your arms from the shoulder joint and relax into the pose.

Spinal Balance

On all fours, slowly extend one arm in front of your body. Extend the opposite leg behind your body at hip level, toes pointed down. Hold for 10 seconds on each side.

Cat and Cow

a. On all fours, place hands under shoulders and knees under hips. Slowly round your spine, dropping your head.

b. Drop your lower back, sliding shoulder blades down. Hold for 10 seconds in each position.

Build Your Own Circuit

Cardiovascular circuit: Do this circuit twice, spending about a minute at each station. Each rotation should take 10-12 minutes, for a total of 20-24 minutes.

Cardio Circuit

  • Ball Squats
  • March in place
  • Alternating Front and Back Raises
  • Step side to side or march in place
  • Chest Presses
  • March in place
  • Seated Bicep Curls
  • March in place

Stretching circuit: Do these core exercises and stretches after your cardiovascular circuit. One circuit should take six to eight minutes.

Stretching Circuit

  • Spinal Balance
  • Cat and Cow
  • Child's Pose
  • Seated Twist
  • Abdominal crunches on back
  • Knees to chest on back

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