One of the most effective ways to target fat burning and muscle growth within the same time frame is circuit training — grouping together several exercises for different muscle groups to get in a full-body workout in minimal time.
There are many types of circuits you can put together depending on your goals, but today we’ll give a good general formula and example that you can use to work your entire body — you’ll get the blood flowing all over to get your heart working and burning fat, on top of the resistance training to strengthen your muscles.
The General Plan: You want to start with your biggest muscles first and end with your smallest ones in this circuit, and you also want to alternate upper- and lower-body muscle groups to get your heart rate up. You’ll obviously just be doing one set per group before moving on to another, and once the circuit is done, repeat the same circuit twice for a total of three circuits. Your rest between sets should be minimal (no longer than 60 seconds) and you’ll be moving between weight stations, so don’t drag your feet — get your set in, and move on to the next one. If you can get into a versatile squat rack, you can do nearly all your exercises in one spot.
You can fill in with your favorite exercises based on this basic plan: Quads, chest, hamstrings, back, calves, shoulders, upper abs, lower abs, biceps, triceps, and finish up with some obliques work.
The rest is pretty easy — just fill in quality exercises for each group. So, a sample circuit would look like this:
- Bench press
- Romanian deadlifts
- Bent-over rows
- Seated calf raises
- Standing shoulder press
- Hanging leg raises
- Skull crushers
- Alternating twisting decline sit-ups
Run through them all in order, perhaps starting with just two completions of the circuit if three is too challenging. If you feel you want to remove any of the lifts, don’t sacrifice the bigger-group exercises and instead drop the auxiliary lifts (biceps, triceps) first.
Tried the workout? Let us know what you think. Got a better one? Let us know and we might use it as our Workout of the Week in the future!