Bodyweight Circuit Workouts: An Effective Solution
Everyone wants to be fitter, healthier, and more successful. There’s no short cut—making that happen requires grinding every day. Bodyweight circuit workouts are a great solution.
Bodyweight circuit workouts can go where you go. I travel a ton, so I created this routine so I can do it anywhere, any time. It’s only six exercises, plus a warm-up, cool-down, and some stretching. The only piece of equipment required: my own bodyweight.
Below is the short version of my usual regimen. Even if I’m pressed for time and space, I can still get it done. No matter when. No matter where.
Stage One: Warmup
To begin, I jog for 5 or 10 minutes to loosen my muscles. When I’m breathing and sweating a little, I stretch the large muscle groups—hamstrings, glutes, quads, back, and chest—holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
Stage Two: Circuit
This is the exercise portion of my workout. Typically, I do five circuits of the following moves. Beginners might want to start with two circuits, or maybe three if they’re in good shape.
Pushups. I do 30 per circuit. Beginners may need to break this into 3 sets of 10 per circuit. If necessary, you can do modified push-ups, where you keep your knees on the floor instead of your toes. Or elevate your hands on a sturdy bench, counter, or table.
Squats. I do 20 per circuit. Most people can manage this. With squats, you start in a standing position, then you “sit” until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then you stand back up. Your weight should be on your heels, not your toes. If you’re just starting, sit back into a chair till your butt touches, and then pop back to a standing position. Once you get the move down, you can remove the chair and do it in free space.
Burpees. I do 15 per circuit. Most people can manage this. Burpees are my favorite exercise. I do them with my kids all the time. With burpees, you start in the standing position, drop to the floor and do a pushup, jump your feet to under your hips, and then leap as high as you can, landing on your feet in the upright position. That’s a burpee—back in the day some people called them squat thrusts. If there’s a pull-up bar available, I’ll leap right into a pull-up.
Box/Tuck Jumps. I do 20 per circuit. Most people can manage this. Box jumps are exactly what they sound like. You jump onto a stable box, straighten yourself, and then you step down or jump down. If there is no box, I do tuck jumps, where I simply jump, pulling my legs up toward my core, and then untucking as I land.
Jumping Jacks. I do 100 per circuit. Most people can manage this.
Crunches. I do 100 per circuit. Beginners may need to cut this in half, and they may need to break that into two sets of 25 per circuit. With crunches, you lie on the floor, bend your knees, cross your arms across your chest, and lift your head, neck, and shoulders toward the ceiling. Don’t lift your whole back, as you would with a traditional sit-up, as this can cause undue stress on the back.
Stage Three: Cool Down
For the cool down, I again stretch the large muscle groups—hamstrings, glutes, quads, back, and chest—holding each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds, just as I did in the warmup.
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