If you read my previous posts about mixing up traditional circuit training (Remix This and The 5-10-15) and you absolutely fell in love with me, I mean, them – I am about to make you want to marry me, I mean, them. (Check them out before reading this.)
Let’s review a traditional circuit (for example: a 45 minute class, including warm up, rest in between circuits and cool down):
45 seconds of work, 15 seconds of rest
Repeat 3 times
Previous ways I’ve mentioned circuit remixing (see this article):
Traditional Circuit + Cardio Blast
Short Circuit + Team Challenge + Short Circuit
Double Up Circuits
Now, here are some fresh drills to mix up circuit training, specifically the time spent on exercises or at each station. The examples below use a lot of different pieces of equipment as ideas, but get creative and swap out for your favorite bodyweight moves instead!
Also, I like to leave room at the end of class when doing circuits for a super short fun finisher (2 to 3 minutes maximum) that gets everyone together in teams or as partners.
Pro Tip: Get a Gymboss Timer. It makes it super easy to program different types of intervals, save them before class, and switch between them during class if needed.
HIIT Circuits (30 minutes)
Flip the circuit!
Instead of having boot campers just rotate strength stations, have them rotate during HIIT stations instead. First, boot campers will do the strength exercises all together, then split up and rotate stations for the HIIT portion.
Format: Strength / HIIT / Strength / HIIT
Strength Set Ideas: (timer 45:15 x 7)
Complete together once through:
- Deadlift + High Pull
- Wood Chop
- Curtsy Lunge
- Squat + Overhead Press
- Plank Pass
- Good Mornings
- Back Lunge + Tricep Extensions
HIIT Station Ideas: (timer 20:10 x 12)
Complete in a circuit 3 times (12 intervls):
- Lateral Hop Thrusters
- Med Ball Slams
- Jump Rope
- Mountain Climbers
The 30:30 (25 minutes)
No rest for the wicked.
Set up 6 stations. Boot campers will perform a strength exercise for 30 seconds, followed by a cardio exercise for 30 seconds (with no rest in between exercises) and repeat 3 times before taking a 45 to 60 second break, then rotate stations.
Station Ideas: (timer 30:30 x 6)
- Pull Ups / Jumping Jacks
- Med Ball Slams / Mountain Climbers
- Lunge w/Rotations / Star Jumps
- Dive Bomber Push Ups / Lateral Hops
- Battle Rope Slams / Ice Skaters
- Bear Squats / Sprinters
Or make it a GAME: Take all the cardio exercises and write them on cards. (Be naughty and add a card that says Burpees.) Throw them in a bag and pull one out every time boot campers are on the strength portion, call out the new cardio exercise before the 30 seconds is up.
The 20-40-60 (30 minutes)
Everyone thinks it looks easy, but just wait until it starts to build up. 3 stations, 2 exercises at each station.
If you have limited equipment, partner up! Partner 1 will perform exercise 1 while Partner 2 does the other. They will swap exercises for 3 rounds total.
Between stations add a 5 minute cardio/strength challenge!
Format: Station 1 / 5 Minute Challenge / Station 2 / 5 Minute Challenge / Station 3
(5 Minute Challenge: Cardio Exercise + Full Body Strength Exercise Ladder)
Round 1: 20 seconds work; 10 seconds rest
Round 2: 40 seconds work; 10 seconds rest
Round 3: 60 seconds work; 10 seconds rest
Station Ideas: (timer 20:10 x 2; 40:10 x 2; 60:10 x 2)
1A. Hanging Knee Raises
1B. Band Walks
2A. Sled Push
2B. KB Halos
3A. Plank Up Downs
3B. Farmers Carry
5 Minute Challenge Ideas:
- 100 Jump Rope Skips / 5 (+1*) Walkout to Push Ups
- 50 Mountain Climbers / 6 (+2*) Lateral Lunges to Lateral Raises
*Add a rep to Strength exercise every time through
What’s your favorite format? Give them a try and let us know how your group liked them!
My name is Lizelle Din and I am a NASM CPT, FRCms, Kettlebell Sport Coach and fitness class instructor in Seattle, WA. My fitness background originated from a mix of biking, roller derby and dodgeball! I currently teach class occassionally and coach teams, and I am known to be both sneaky and stealthy with my workouts. Maybe because I am a ninja.