Timesaver Circuit Training Workout

This circuit workout is a great calorie-burner and perfect for travelers or for people who want to get more done in a short period of time. This workout moves fast and involves high-intensity cardio (any activity of your choice) as well as combination strength moves involving both upper and lower body. Complete the entire workout for a 34-minute calorie blaster or go through it twice for a longer workout. Modify any exercises as needed and skip any moves that cause discomfort or pain.

Timesaver Circuit Training Workout

Getty Images/Mike Harrington

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

Equipment Needed
Various weighted dumbbells

The Workout

Warm Up: 5 Minutes of light cardio activity
Cardio:     5 cardio exercises, each done for 1 minute each and workout at an RPE of 7-8.
Strength:  7 combination exercises, working the upper and lower body at the same time, each done for one minute with no rest in between
Repeat:  Repeat the cardio and strength circuits one more time for a 30-minute workout.

Let's get started with your first exercise: 5 Minute Cardio Warm Up

5 Minute Warm Up

High Knee Jog. Paige Waehner

Begin with about a 5-minute warm up doing light cardio moves and working your way up to a more moderate intensity to get your body ready for the workout.


Try these warm up moves, doing each one for 1 minute:

Step Touches
Knee Lifts with a Medicine Ball
Low Impact Jumping Jacks
High Knee Jogs

Next Exercise:  5 Minutes of High Intensity Cardio

5 Minute High Intensity Cardio

Mountain Climber
Paige Waehner

If you feel warmed up, move into 5 minutes of high intensity cardio.  You can do any moves you like, as long as you work hard and get your heart rate up.


Do each of these exercises for 1 minute:

Jumping Jacks
Side to Side Jumping Lunges
Mountain Climbers
Plyo Jacks
Speed Skaters

Next Exercise:  Plie Squat Jumps with Chest Squeezes

1 Minute of Plie Squat Jumps with Chest Squeezes

Paige Waehner

Your next 7 minutes will be high intensity total body strength training moves.

How To Stand with feet wide and hold a medicine ball or weight in both hands close to the chest, squeezing the ball. Keeping steady pressure on the ball, lower into a wide squat and come up, completing 4 slow squats, following that with 4 slow squat jumps while continuing to squeeze the medicine ball. Repeat, alternating 4 squats with 4 squat jumps for 30-60 seconds.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  60 seconds

Next Exercise:  Side Lunge with Rows

1 Minute Side Lunge with Rows

Paige Waehner

How To: Begin in a wide stance holding weights, toes forward. Lunge to the right, bending the right knee and keeping the left leg straight as you shift the hips over the right foot.  At the same time, take the weights to the floor on either side of the right foot.  Keep your back straight throughout the movement.  Push into the heel and come back to center and lift the weights to hip height in a rowing motion.  Now go to the left, shifting the left hip over the left foot and placing the weights on either side of the left foot.  Repeat, alternating sides for 60 seconds.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  60 seconds

Next Exercise: Squat Press

1 Minute Squat Press

Paige Waehner

How To:  Begin with the feet hip-width apart, holding the weights just over your shoulders.  Lower into a squat, sending the hips back while you keep the torso upright and the abs engaged.  Press into the heels to stand up. As you stand, press the weights overhead, focusing on the shoulders. Lower the weights and repeat a squat with an overhead press.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  60 seconds

Next Exercise:  Power Hammer Curls

1 Minute Power Hammer Curls

Paige Waehner

How To:  Stand with feet about hip-width apart, abs engaged as you hold weights with the palms facing in.  Swing the weights behind you slightly and curl the arms up as you lower into a squat until the thighs are parallel to the floor.  Keep the arms curled up as you stand back up.  Slowly lower the weights for 4 counts.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  60 seconds

Next Exercise:Curtsy Lunges with Weighted Swings

1 Minute Curtsy Lunges With Weighted Swings

Paige Waehner

How to:  Begin with the feet hip-distant apart and hold a moderate to heavy weight in the right hand.  Take a giant step back with the right foot, crossing it behind the left leg into a curtsy lunge.  Watch the position of the front knee and make sure it isn't twisting.  Push into the right heel to come back up and swing the weight to shoulder level while touching down with the right foot. 

Reps/Sets/Duration:  30 seconds on each side

Next Exercise:  Side Lunge with Triceps Kickback

1 Minute Side Lunge with Triceps Kickback

Paige Waehner

How to:  Begin the move with the feet together, holding a weight in the left hand with the elbow bent.  Take a wide step to the right into a side lunge. Your left leg should be straight and your right leg bent (foot facing forward).  Sit into the heel of the right foot and lean slightly forward (back flat) as you straighten the left arm, extending it out to the side.  Bend the arm and step back to the starting position, completing all reps before switching sides.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  30 seconds on each side

Next Exercise:  Pushups to Side Plank

1 Minute Pushups to Side Plank

Pushup Plank
Paige Waehner

How To:  Begin in a pushup position, on the hands and toes (or on the hands and knees, if you're modifying). Make sure the core is braced and the body is in a straight line from head to heels.  Bend the elbows and lower into a pushup.  As you push up, rotate to the left, taking the left arm straight up towards the ceiling and rotating the feet into a staggered position (left foot in front and right foot in back).  Hold the side plank for a few seconds, then rotate back to your pushup position.  Do another pushup and, this time, rotate to the right into a side plank, balancing on the left arm.  Continue pushups with alternating side planks for 60 seconds.

Reps/Sets/Duration:  60 seconds

For a shorter workout, stop here for a cool down. For a longer workout, repeat the cardio and strength circuits 1-3 more times.