Strength and Cardio Calorie-Burning Circuit Workout

This intermediate/advanced calorie-burning workout will challenge every muscle in your body with a mixture of strength and cardio exercises.  This is a circuit workout, taking you from one move to another with little or no rest to keep your heart rate up.  This is a longer workout, about 45-60 minutes, if you repeat each series twice. For a shorter workout, just do one circuit.  


See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed

Various weighted dumbbells, an exercise ball, a step or staircase, a band, and ​medicine ball (substitute a weight if needed).

How To

  • Begin with a 5- to 10-minute warm-up of light cardio (walking in place, etc.)
  • Perform each series of exercises once for a shorter workout or twice (as suggested) for a more advanced workout.
  • Beginners:  Modify the exercises or start with this Beginner/Intermediate Circuit.
  • Monitor your intensity and make sure you stay between about Level 4-8.  Modify the workout as needed and avoid any exercises that cause pain or that are confusing.

Stair Climbs

Stairs Exercise
Stairs Exervise. Cameron Spencer / Staff / Getty Images

If you have a flight of stairs, walk or run up and down for 3 minutes.  If you don't have stairs, try any cardio (jogging in place, etc.) for 3 minutes. 

Pulsing Squats With Overhead Press

Holding medium-heavy weights just over the shoulders, squat as low as you can and do 3 slow pulses, only coming halfway up. On the 4th pulse, stand up and push the weights overhead.  Repeat the series for 12-16 reps.

Pulsing Walking Lunges

Holding medium-heavy weights, step forward into a lunge and pulse down for 3 counts.  Come up and repeat on the other leg, continuing across the room while alternating legs. Repeat for 1 minute.

Squat Thrusts

Stand with feet together.  Squat down and place your hands on the floor next to your feet. In an explosive movement, jump feet backwards into a push-up position, jump feet back between hands and stand up.  Perform 6 reps, briefly recover, repeat 6 more times. 

Step Ups

Using a band or holding heavy weights, place right foot on a step or the second step of a flight of stairs. Lower into a squat and then press into the heel of the right foot and step up, lightly touching the left foot on the step. Bring the left foot down and repeat for 16 reps before switching sides. 

Side Step Squats With Biceps Curls

 Place a band under the feet and hold the handles, keeping tension on the band. Take a wide step to the right, lowering into a squat as you do a biceps curl. Step together while lowering the arms and continue to step, squat and curl across the room. Repeat the other way for a total of 60 seconds.

Plyo Jacks

Begin with feet together and jump up, taking feet out to the side, landing in a low squat. Jump up and bring feet back together (a very slow jumping jack). Swing your arms overhead to add intensity. Do this move for 30 seconds, rest for a few seconds, and repeat for another 30 seconds. This is a tough one!

Side to Side Lunges

Hold a medicine ball or dumbbell and take the feet wide, toes slightly out. Lunge to the right, sitting into the heel and taking the weight towards the floor. Press back up and lunge to the left, repeating for 1 minute. Try to squat as low as you can, keeping the knee behind the toe and squeezing the glutes.

Plie Squats With Jumps

Take the feet wide, toes out and hold medium-heavy weights on the top of the thighs. Lower into a plie squat, keeping the knees in line with the toes and focusing on the inner thighs for 8 reps. For the last 8 reps, add small jumps to the squats. Repeat for 1 minute.  


 Repeat the above exercises, then go on to the next set.

Front Kick With Squat

Lower into a squat and, as you press up, kick out with the right leg.  Repeat, squatting and kicking with the left leg. Continue alternating squats and kicks for 1 minute.      

Pushups on the Ball

This is a very challenging move, targeting both balance and strength.  Hold the ball wherever feels most comfortable to you (you could even prop it against a wall if needed) and lower down until the chest touches the ball. Repeat for 12-16 reps. If you don't like this move, do regular pushups.    

Dumbbell Rows With Pulses

Holding medium-heavy weights, bend over with flat back and abs in, weights hanging down. Pull the elbows up to the torso, squeezing the back, elbows close to the body. Lower and repeat for 8 reps. For the last 8 reps, start at the top of the movement and lower halfway down for 8 slow pulses.

Alternating Chest Press

Lie on a bench or ball with medium-heavy weights.  Start with elbows bent and press the right arm up over the chest, leaving the left arm in place.  Lower the right arm and then press the left arm up.  Continue alternating arms for 1 minute. 


 Repeat this set of exercises, then go on to the next set.


Begin in a lunge position and jump up, switching the feet in the air, landing with the other foot forward in a lunge.  Repeat for 30 seconds, rest and do it for 30 seconds more.  Catch your breath.

Front Raise With Triceps Extension

Sit or stand and hold light-medium weights at your sides. Keeping the palms facing each other, lift the arms up to shoulder level and then continue to take the arms up overhead until the arms are next to the ears. Bend the elbows and lower the weights behind the head. Straighten the arms and sweep them back down, repeating for 1 minute. 

Crazy 8 Biceps Curls

Hold medium-heavy weights and curl the weights up for 8 reps.  For the next 8 reps, start at the bottom and curl halfway up.  For the last 8 reps start at the top and lower halfway down. Repeat the series one time.