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Friday Fitness: Take Your Workout to the Next Level

from Tad Daymil, Program Intern Spring 2013

Are you in the same boat as many people and bored with ordinary resistance training and cardio? Trying to think of ways to mix it up and add some new excitement to your workout?  Well this idea might be just what the doctor ordered.  I like to train with a circuit workout in order to maximize my caloric burn in the gym.  It is a simple way to keep things flowing, help save time, target the entire body, and utilize the main three energy pathways to increase calorie expenditure. 

Essentially, you’re going to break up a workout into 2-3 sets comprised of lower body and upper body resistance followed by a 20-30 second sprint interval.  This technique allows you to keep your heart rate (HR) up while working various parts of the body. 

Start by completing a lower body exercise for the desired number of repetitions; then an upper body exercise immediately followed by the reciprocal upper body motion; and finally complete your sprint interval.  After this entire “set” rest for 60 seconds and repeat the whole circuit 2-3 times.  Mix up the workouts by switching the exercises you do each time.  You’ll find maximum benefits are achieved, speed will slowly increase, muscle imbalances are prevented, and the heart will get stronger and be able to handle greater cardio loads.

Watch this video for a sample circuit training routine or use this chart below to create your own custom circuit workout. 


Choose exercises from each column; perform each exercise to the number or reps you feel comfortable doing; once you have completed one set of each exercise, rest for 60 seconds and start again; complete the circuit 2-3 times.

Lower Body

(Choose 3 exercises from this column)

Upper Body

(Choose 3 exercises from this column)


(Choose 1 exercise from this column)

Squat (8-20 reps) Fitball chest fly (8-20 reps) Wind Sprints (20-30 seconds)
Hamstring curl (8-20 reps) Bent over row (8-20 reps) High knees (20-30 seconds)
Step-ups (8-20 reps/leg) Seated Row (8-20 reps) Jump rope (20-30 seconds)
Hip bridge (8-20 reps/leg) Pull-up (8-20 reps) Burpies/ Up downs (20-30 seconds)
Push backs (8-20 reps) Shoulder Press (8-20 reps) Back Pedal (20-30 seconds or one lap)
Push press (8-20 reps) Lateral and front deltoid raise

(8-20 reps/arm)

Plyo Box Jumps (20-30 seconds)
Hanging leg raises (8-20 reps) Reverse Fly’s (8-20 reps) Grapevine through

Agility ladder (20- 30 seconds)

Calf raises (8-20 reps/leg) Chest Press (8-20 reps) Swim (50m max speed)



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