Summer is a fun and active time for many people. Outside of work or regular day routines, we tend to pack on lots of social activities, stay up later, get up earlier and go, go, go! With all this fun it is hard to fit in or be motivated for the workouts we had during the colder seasons. I have put together two sample “Circuit Workouts” that require no equipment and can be done almost anywhere (including a small hotel room or at a campsite). I hope you enjoy them and they at least encourage you to be creative when finding time and ways to stay healthy during the summer months!
Start either circuit with a 5-10 minute warm up: light walking or marching in place to get your muscles and heart ready to work!
HIIT Cardio and Arm Circuit
Try to work as hard as possible without sacrificing form for each exercise. Move from exercise to exercise with little or no rest! Try to repeat the circuit if time allows, but even going through it once is better than nothing!
- High knees: 45 seconds:
In a running motion, bring each knee up as high as possible toward chest. Try to bring it straight up while engaging core. Do this quickly, “bouncing” from foot to foot.
**For a low impact option: bring each knee up and switch without bouncing or running. Try to switch quickly to keep heart rate elevated.**
- Pushups/modified pushups: 15x:
Hands are below shoulders and back is straight. Keep core engaged. Lower toward ground while squeezing shoulder blades together, exhale as you push back up to starting.
- Jumping Jacks: 45 seconds:
Start by standing tall with core engaged. Jump feet out and hands up simultaneously. Then back to starting.
** For a low-impact option: step one foot out, back together, and then the opposite foot out. Do this quickly to keep heart rate elevated.**
- Tricep Dips: 15x:
Place palm of hands on a bench/coffee table/chair with body facing away from support. Walk feet out so your body is “hovering” in front of support. Try to keep butt close to support so your body will move in an “up and down” motion. Bend at elbows and lower body straight down. Then using tricep and other arm muscles, pull body back up to starting.
- Jump Rope or Butt Kicks: 45 seconds:
Jump double or single using a rope or mimicking the action without a rope (if you don’t have one). Or you can choose to perform “butt kicks” where you run in place while bringing back foot up high enough to touch butt. Try to keep back straight during this action.
**For a low impact option: stand tall and bring one leg up in the back high enough to tap heel to butt muscles. Then switch and repeat with other leg. Try to do fairly quickly but do not bounce or run during this.**
- Superman’s: 15x:
Lying face down on ground, engage core and lift one arm and opposite leg simultaneously. Then switch and repeat with opposite limbs. Last lift all limbs together and then lower. Repeat this sequence for 15 repititions.
- Elevated burpees: 45seconds:
Start by standing in front of a chair, stool, counter, or table. Place hands on support and jump feet backwards. Perform an elevated pushup on surface and then jump feet back towards support. Stand up, reach overhead and repeat entire sequence again.
**For a low impact option: Step each foot out and back from body instead of jumping.**
- Dolphin plank rotations: 15x
Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders and core engaged. Hold hands together so they make a “triangle” with the forearms. Engage core and raise tailbone up. Lower back to starting.
Take a 1-2 minute break, grab some water and go through this circuit again (2-4 more times)
Legs and Core Circuit:
- Split squat on one leg: 12x:
Stand near a chair, coffee table, or other support facing away from it. Place the back of one foot on support and move other leg slightly out from support. Lunge by bending knee of stabilizing leg and moving straight down. Press back up to starting and repeat. Do not let knee of stabilizing leg travel in front of toes.
- Rotating side planks: 10x:
Start in plank position with hands below shoulders and core engage. Carefully, turn body to one side, stack feet and raise arm straight up into a side plank position. Pause and then rotate back to starting. Repeat on other side.
- Split squat on other leg: 12x
- Mountain climbers: 12x per leg:
Start in plank position with hands below shoulders, back straight, and core engaged. Carefully, bend the knee of one leg and move the knee toward the arm in front of it. Keep belly button pulled in the whole time. Return to starting and repeat with other leg.
- Lateral lunges on one leg: 12x :
Start by standing tall with core engaged. Step out sideways from body with one leg, then bend knee and lower down in half squat position. Raise back up and step into center. Repeat.
- Leg raises: 12x:
Lying on back, engage core and press low back into ground. Raise legs up until they are perpendicular with floor and lower back down carefully. If this is too hard or aggravates the low back, try with legs bent at knee the entire time.
7. Lateral lunge other leg: 12x:
8. Wall sit with core rotation: 12x:
Stand with back against wall, lower down into a squat or shallow squat where knees are at or slightly less than a 90 degree angle. Keep belly button pulled in and back straight. Hold a weight or hands laced in front of body. Carefully, rotate whole upper body to one side, back to starting, then to the other side. Repeat.
- Calf raises: 12x:
Stand with hip width a part. Roll up onto balls of feet, contracting calf muscles. Lower back to starting and repeat.
10. Bicycle crunches: 12x per side:
Lying on back with hands behind head, engage core and bring one knee up towards head while rotating upper body and moving elbow of opposite arm toward that knee. Lower both limbs to staring and repeat with other side.
11. Bridge lift: 12x:
Lie on back with knees bent and feet flat on floor. Pull belly button in and lift lower body off of ground and raise until body makes a straight line from the knees to the upper back. Squeeze butt muscles to stabilize and lower back to starting slowly. Repeat.
Take a 2 minute break and repeat circuit 2-4 times.
Don’t forget to stretch after your workouts to cool down and relax muscles! These exercises are great to use as supplements to any training program or activities you are already involved in or are perfect for an effective, quick exercise by themselves!