20 minute Bodyweight Circuit

13 June 2011
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Image credit: kho / 123RF Stock Photo

The following bodyweight circuit is great for people who either cannot make it to the gym, are rushed for time or both.

The circuit comprises of 5 exercises aimed to work your full body, building up the intensity as you go.

This is a high intensity circuit which can be done in the comfort of your own home and, if done regularly, is great for creating that lean and toned look everybody is after!

The Exercises

  1. Back up bridge – lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, tense your abdominals and raise your hips so they are inline with your shoulders and knees, return your hips to the floor, all the while keeping your abdominals tensed. This is 1 repetition.
  2. High knees on spot – jogging on the spot with high intensity – pumping your arms and bringing your knees as high as your hips.
  3. Sit-ups – standard crunches – knees slightly bent crunch upwards keeping your abdominals tensed throughout.
  4. Squats – stand feet shoulder width apart, keep your back straight and inline, bend at the knees and hips to lower yourself into a squat position so that your thighs are at least parallel with the ground. Using your quads and hamstrings return to standing position.
  5. Press-ups – standard press-ups, remembering to always tense your abdominals throughout the motion. If you cannot perform full press-ups then start by doing them on your hands and knees, building your way up to a full press-up position.

The circuit

Going through the exercises in the order above, perform 10 repetitions of each exercise with no rest in between. Once you’ve done 10 reps for each then start again this time doing 12 reps, remembering not to rest at any point (go straight into the next exercise), the reps increase by 2 for each set until your reach 20 reps for each exercise, then you work your way back down to 10.

The following sets of repetitions are a guideline that a well trained participant might start on:

10 -> 12 -> 14 -> 16 -> 18 -> 20 -> 18 -> 16 -> 14 -> 12 -> 10

For a beginner you may want to start on 4 repetitions, i.e.:

4 -> 6 -> 8 -> 10 -> 12 -> 14 -> 12 -> 10 -> 8 -> 6 -> 4

Get a watch and record the time it takes you to complete the circuit. Each time you do the circuit aim to beat your previous time.

Once you are comfortable and find the number of repetitions easy, increase the repetitions for each set by 2, thus increasing the intensity.

The full circuit should take around 20 minutes – enjoy!

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