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Are you looking for a great workout that can help you burn fat, build strength, and increase your muscle? One exercise that you should look into is a bodyweight circuit routine. By the name alone, bodyweight workouts are done with just your bodyweight and very little equipment if ever they’re needed.
Bodyweight exercises are very convenient because you can execute them in just a few minutes and you can perform them almost anywhere. You don’t have to get a gym membership in order to work out your entire body. Learn more about bodyweight exercise and create your bodyweight workout plan in this article.
Is Bodyweight Circuit Training the Same as High-Intensity Interval Training?
If you go to the gym or if you have friends who are gym-goers, you’ve probably heard of the workout term “circuit training.” If you’re not familiar with exercises, you might be thinking that circuit training involves riding a bike or using an elliptical and going over an entire circuit. In reality, circuit training is very far from that.
Circuit training is called such because an exercise “circuit” is one completion of all set exercises in the program. When you complete a circuit, you begin the first exercise again for the next circuit. You cycle through the planned sequence of exercises multiple times.
Circuit training is generally a mixture of strength training and cardiovascular training. The average bodyweight workout in a circuit involves anywhere from 8 to 12 stations where you work different muscle groups, allowing you to have a full-body workout without increasing the risk of injury of any muscle.
For example, you performed a chest press as your first exercise, and then on the following station, you performed step-ups. This means that while you are working your upper body, your lower body is taking a rest, and vice versa. In a bodyweight workout circuit, you can also control the intensity of the session.
In contrast, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a cardio workout. HIIT combines short bursts of intense exercises with lower-intensity exercises that give your body some time to rest. While you can use weight training equipment during a HIIT workout, that isn’t the main purpose of the exercise.
Both HIIT and a bodyweight workout circuit can help with fat loss but HIIT does a better job at it. This is because HIIT consumes much more oxygen after the exercise, as opposed to a bodyweight routine. Doing HIIT means you keep burning fat even after your workout has ended.
While that may sound great, it doesn’t mean that you should drop your bodyweight workout circuit plan in favor of HIIT. Like with any other workout regimen, you have your own set of fitness goals to achieve. Whichever workout you choose to do will greatly benefit your health and body.
Are Bodyweight Workout Routines Effective?
Yes, they absolutely are! Bodyweight workout training can be an excellent way to help you achieve your fitness goals. A bodyweight workout is just as effective a form of strength training as workouts that involve free weights or weight machines. Moreover, bodyweight circuits can be used by anyone at any fitness level to strength train.
The best thing about doing bodyweight exercise is that it is highly convenient; you can do your workout and build muscle without stepping foot inside a gym. You can do a bodyweight workout from almost anywhere, whether you’re at home, in the office, or even on vacation.
Can You Build Muscle With Bodyweight Circuits?
Bodyweight workout training can effectively work your whole body. Think of a bodyweight squat, jumping jacks, mountain climbers, side planks, push-ups, and the like. These workouts actively engage different muscle groups to complete the exercise. This means that bodyweight circuits are great for building strength and muscle.
Can You Do Bodyweight Circuit Every Day?
The good news is, bodyweight exercises can be done every day. This means that if you want to train and even if you don’t have access to a gym or any exercise facility, you don’t have to skip a workout day because you can do bodyweight exercises instead.
However, as with any other workout, you will still need to consider recovery. Bodyweight workouts can be strenuous on the body, especially if you’re a beginner. Rest and recovery are highly important.
Bodyweight Training Warm-Up
Before diving into bodyweight training, it’s vital that you warm up the body. Warming up will get your muscles active and will get your heart rate up, preparing you for your exercise session. Aside from that, warming up can help you execute workouts properly and help prevent injury. Here’s a great warm-up routine that you can do:
- Jumping jacks: 25 reps
- Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
- Lunges: 5 reps for each leg
- Hip extensions: 10 reps on each side
- Hip rotation: 5 each leg
- Leg swings: 10 each leg
- Push-ups: 10 to 20 reps
Once you’re finished warming up the various muscle groups of the body, it’s time to head on to your circuit training.
30-Minute Bodyweight Circuit Workout
As mentioned earlier, a bodyweight exercise done in a circuit format means that you will perform a sequence of exercises back to back to back, and then repeat the sequence. Each exercise or station is completed for reps or time, which typically lasts 30 minutes. If you’re a busy bee and still want to work up a sweat, then a 30-minute bodyweight circuit workout is ideal for you.
Most of the exercises listed below not only get your heart pumping, but they’re also incredible for building power and losing fat. The more you do them regularly, you’ll see that you can run faster and jump higher as well. Here are several circuits that you can try:
Beginner Bodyweight Circuit
This circuit can help build the foundation for your bodyweight training plan. For the dumbbell rows included in this routine, you may use milk jugs or another weight. Run through this circuit three times.
- Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
- Push-ups: 10 reps
- Walking lunges: 10 on each leg
- Dumbbell rows: 10 on each arm
- Plank: 15 seconds
- Push-ups: 10 reps
- Jumping jacks: 30 reps
Advanced Bodyweight Exercise Circuit
If the beginner circuit isn’t challenging for you anymore, you can move on to doing an advanced workout circuit. Remember that once you’ve done each moment on time, that’s 1 round. Complete a total of 4 rounds, then rest for 60 to 90 seconds before repeating the sequence.
- One-legged squats: 10 on each side
- Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
- Walking lunges: 20 reps
- Pull-up: 10 reps
- Dips: 10 reps
- Chin-ups: 10 reps
- Push-up: 10 reps
- Side plank: 10 reps
If you are going to do pull-ups, you may need a pull-up bar. You can also modify the chin-up station by doing inverted bodyweight rows in an underhand grip instead.
Find yourself at a playground? You can definitely work out there! Here’s a routine that’s great for both beginners and advanced exercisers.
- Elevated push-up: 10 reps
- Swing rows: 10 reps
- Assisted lunge: 8 reps on each leg
- Bench jumps: 10 ramps
- Alternating step-ups: 20 reps (10 reps on each side)
10-Minute Bodyweight Training Circuit
Pressed for time and don’t have 30 minutes to spare? Then this one’s for you. This circuit consists of 5 exercises for 2 rounds and 20 seconds of rest before moving on to the next exercise sequence.
- Mountain climber switch: 40 seconds
- Squats: 40 seconds
- Plank shoulder taps: 40 seconds
- Reverse lunge with high knee: 40 seconds
- Bicycle sit-up: 40 seconds
For the reverse lunge, remember to alternate legs and do so in a controlled manner. You can also place your hands on your knee if you need any assistance. You may also modify this sequence by switching out the plank shoulder tap to a knee tap or doing a side plank instead.
Other Bodyweight Exercises to Include in Your Circuit Training Routine
If any of the stations above don’t work out for you, don’t fret just yet! You can still complete your bodyweight training circuit. Simply switch out some of the stations with the ones listed below:
Begin in a forearm plank, with your body creating a straight line from head to heels. Position your feet hip-width apart and keep your head neutral, shoulders packed, your core tight, and your legs engaged.
Next, press one hand against the ground, followed by the other, to push up to a high plank position with your arms extended. Using one arm at a time, lower your body back down into the starting position.
Hang from a bar using a shoulder-width overhand grip. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull your elbows downward to lift yourself upward, as high as you can. Reverse the move slowly, returning to the starting position.
Dips with Leg Extensions
Sit on a step or chair with your hands next to your thighs, and knees bent. Push off the step and bend the elbows into a triceps dip. As you press up, extend the right leg, reaching for your toe with your left hand. Lower and repeat on the other side, alternating sides for 60 seconds.
One Leg Lift to Power Hops
To do a one-leg lift, begin with your weight on the right leg and your arms straight up. Next, tip at the hips to bring the torso parallel to the floor while lifting the left leg straight up. Lower your left leg and bring the knee up into a hop. Repeat for 30 seconds and switch sides.
Stand tall with your feet together. Step your right foot back into a reverse lunge, bending your right knee so it hovers just above the ground. Allow your legs to create two 90-degree angles.
Step up onto your left foot, balancing for a second before bringing the right foot forward into a forward lunge. Keep lunging the right foot backward and forwards, staying tall through your spine the entire time.
Single-Leg Balance Touch
Stand tall on your left leg with your knee slightly bent. Raise your foot off the floor until your right knee is bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your lower back naturally arched, bend your hips and reach forward with your right hand. Touch the floor a few inches in front of your left foot.
Bend your left knee only as much as needed, and push your right leg back. Return to the starting position. Do 10 reps before switching to the other leg.
Bodyweight exercises are great for building muscles and improving strength. Furthermore, bodyweight training workouts can help you improve your cardiovascular health as well as muscular endurance and burn calories. If you want to achieve your fitness goals, try doing circuit training today!