We all know that circuit training is a no-nonsense way to build a full body strength workout for boot campers without having to question if it will be a solid, well-rounded workout.
We know they will work every muscle in their body. We know they will be covered in sweat and be out of breath without having to make them run for miles. But the burning question instead becomes — will it be fun?
Think of an old song you’ve gotten tired of hearing over and over again. You cringe when you hear it on the radio as you sit in rush hour traffic. Just as you are reaching over to change the station, you realize that the DJ just dropped a REMIX! All of a sudden the song is fun again and you could care less if you end up downloading it later to play on repeat the next morning.
Here are some fun ways to remix a traditional circuit workout.
Start with your basic circuit template below and then modify:
8–10 Resistance Exercises (depending on length of session) + rest, 3 times through
Try the following:
1. Traditional Circuit + Cardio Blast
Run through the circuit once, rest, then add a short cardio or plyo blast before running through the circuit a second time.
Cardio Blast Idea:
Farmers Walk + Figure 8 Burpees + Suicides
Set 3 minutes on the clock. Place 6 cones in a row, a 5–10 meters apart depending on space.
Campers start at the first cone with a pair of dumbbells at their sides and farmers walk to the first cone. Stop at the cone and squat to place dumbbells on the ground. Do a Figure 8 Burpee. Campers leave the dumbbells on the ground and sprint back to start. They then sprint back to their dumbbells and Farmers Walk them to the second cone. Repeat the sequence for all cones until time is up.
2. Short Circuit + Team Challenge + Short Circuit
(No, not Johnny Five.)
Break your circuit in half. There is a variety of ways to split the circuit:
- One half can be 4 to 5 exercises focused on upper body, the other lower.
- Or one can be strength and one can be cardio.
The possibilities are endless!
In between the circuits, have boot campers break into 2 teams to complete a team challenge. The team that loses the challenge now has to complete a cardio or pylo exercise during the last 10 seconds of each station! The other team will have a chance at revenge the second time through.
Team Challenge Idea:
Plank Pass + Burpee Ladder
Have each team stand in a line, shoulder to shoulder.
Everyone gets down in a plank with the person on the end starting with a medicine ball (or a dumbbell, sandbag, water bottle—whatever you’ve got handy!) Have each camper pass the medicine ball all the way down the line. When it reaches that last person, they must yell “Burpee!” and the team must complete 2 burpees all together.
Pass the ball back to the beginning and repeat, adding 2 reps each time the ball reaches the end. First team to 10 burpees wins
3. Double Up Circuits (5 by 5)
Less circuits, more time, even more sweat.
Instead of setting up 10 different stations for 1 minute each x 3, set up 5 stations for 5 minutes x 1. Assign 2 exercises to each station with a set amount of reps to cycle through.
- Push Up Ladder + Dumbbell Farmers Walk (Example: try starting with 10 reps of push ups and 1 farmers walk; go down by 2 reps and up 1 walk each set)
- Medicine Ball Rainbow Slams (slam ball on left side of body, pick up and lift overhead to slam on ride side of body) + Side Plank Rotations
- Squat Ladder w/Dumbbells + Dumbbell Overhead Carry
- Kettlebell Swings + Slider Hamstring Curls
- Manmakers + Star Jumps
What do you do to mix up circuit training?
Do you do the same things every time, or do you like to mix things up and stay fresh? Let us know what we missed in the comments below.
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.