circuit training is awesome

15 Circuit Training Routines: Try These Fast Workouts Anywhere!

This guide on circuit training will provide you with all the essentials to kickstart your first amazing circuit training session today.

These workouts resemble the tailored programs Personal trainer North York create for our Online Coaching Clients, whether they’re working out at home, on the go, or even in the cosmos.

Alright, maybe we haven’t reached space clients (yet). However, we do have clients in Antarctica and numerous aerospace engineers. That’s pretty close, isn’t it?

If you’re aiming for maximum results in minimal time through circuit training, any of the 15 circuits listed below will fit the bill:

  • What is Circuit Training?
  • What are the benefits of Circuit Training?
  • Warm-Up Circuit
  • Beginner Bodyweight Circuit
  • Advanced Bodyweight Circuit
  • Playground Workout Circuit
  • Kettlebell Workout Circuit
  • Beginner Gym Circuit
  • Hotel Workout Circuit
  • The Batman Workout Circuit
  • The Lord of the Rings Workout Circuit
  • The 300 Workout Circuit
  • The Wolverine Workout Circuit
  • Complete List of Circuit Training Exercises

What is Circuit Training?

As Coach explained earlier, the term “circuit” in circuit training refers to performing a series of exercises consecutively and then repeating this sequence.

And repeat it again.

You go through the planned sequence of exercises, or circuit, multiple times.

That’s the essence of circuit training.

Typically, you engage each major muscle group within a complete circuit. For instance, you might focus on lower body exercises in one round and then switch to upper body exercises in the next.

Various circuit training routines exist, but most share some common elements:

  • Multiple exercises: A typical circuit comprises five to ten distinct movements per circuit. These are often referred to as “stations,” such as overhead press station or squat station.
  • Minimal rest or no rest between exercises: The primary objective of circuit training is to maintain an elevated heart rate. Ideally, you transition from one exercise to the next without pausing. Rest may be taken after completing the entire circuit, or it may be minimal.
  • Repetition: Generally, you’ll complete your circuit for a few rounds, with three rounds being a common approach.

Does this make sense?

Coach is thrilled that you are gaining weight, be it muscle or fat, as it indicates that our strategy is effective.
The key concept here is to engage different muscle groups with diverse exercises. As some muscle groups recover, you focus on exercising others. This approach enhances cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, and strength.

Moreover, you’ll burn calories!

As outlined in our article comparing Cardio vs. Interval Training vs. Weight Training, research supports the effectiveness of strength training circuits for weight loss and overall well-being.

Crucially, for individuals with limited time, a strength training circuit is more efficient for both building strength and burning fat than an equivalent duration of cardio.

In essence, if weight loss is your goal, incorporating circuit training into your routine is highly advisable.

Why Should I do circuit training?

Exercise is generally categorized into two main types: strength training and aerobic exercise, commonly known as cardio.

So, what sets them apart?

  • Strength Training: Also referred to as anaerobic exercise, this involves short bursts of energy for movement, such as push-ups or pull-ups. These exercises aid in muscle building and toning.
  • Aerobic Exercise: “Aerobic” refers to exercises that require oxygen. During aerobic exercise, your heart rate increases to supply oxygen to where your body needs it. This is why it’s often called “cardio.” Activities like running, biking, or jumping jacks fall under this category.

The unique aspect of circuit training is that it incorporates both categories. Exercises like presses and lunges contribute to strength training, while activities like jumping jacks add a cardio element.

Since there’s minimal rest between stations in circuit training, your body requires more oxygen, adding to the cardio aspect of the workout.

This means that circuit training helps in muscle building, fat burning, and enhancing stamina – a true win-win-win, as Michael Scott would put it.

circuit training is a win win win

Now, there’s an ongoing debate about which type of exercise is more effective for weight loss: aerobic or anaerobic.

Here are my thoughts:

If you’re pressed for time and can only choose one, I’d recommend strength training. When you engage in strength training, your muscles undergo breakdown, and your body expends extra effort over the next 24-48 hours to rebuild those muscles (resulting in increased calorie expenditure).

At Personal trainer North York, we collaborate with our 1-on-1 Coaching Clients to design enjoyable programs that combine both strength and cardio. Ultimately, it boils down to a program that you genuinely enjoy and are motivated to pursue.

Before and after your circuit training: Warm up and stretch

Regardless of the circuit you choose, there’s a crucial starting point: the warm-up!

I’ve elaborated on the importance of a thorough warm-up in an article accessible right here. However, it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Dedicate about five minutes to activate your muscles and elevate your heart rate.

This initial step is vital for executing exercises correctly and reducing the risk of injury. You can engage in activities like running in place, air punches and kicks, or a set of jumping jacks.

Here’s Coach demonstrating numerous beginner warm-up options you can incorporate:

Did I just suggest preparing for circuit training with a circuit?!

For those interested, here’s personal (advanced) warm-up:


  • Jump rope: 2-3 minutes
  • Jumping jacks: 25 reps
  • Bodyweight squats: 20 reps
  • Lunges: 5 reps each leg
  • Hip extensions: 10 reps each side
  • Hip rotations: 5 each leg
  • Forward leg swings: 10 each leg
  • Side leg swings: 10 each leg
  • Push-ups: 10-20 reps
  • Spider-man steps: 10 reps

Our objective isn’t to exhaust you. Instead, we aim to thoroughly warm you up.

That’s step one.

The subsequent step is completing your selected circuit training routine.

Below, you’ll discover 15 workouts you can follow!

Beginner Bodyweight Workout Circuit

Here’s the workout circuit outlined in our Beginner Bodyweight Workout article:

  • Bodyweight squats: 20 repetitions
  • Push-ups: 10 repetitions
  • Walking lunges: 10 each leg
  • Dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or a similar weight): 10 each arm
  • Plank: 15 seconds
  • Jumping jacks: 30 repetitions

Complete this circuit three times. If you don’t have milk available for the rows, find an item of approximately the same weight with a secure handle.

We’ve also transformed this workout into an entertaining infographic featuring superheroes, because that’s how we like to do things:

An infographic of the Beginner Bodyweight Workout

Advanced Bodyweight Exercises Circuit

If the introductory circuit provided is too easy for your fitness level, you may want to advance to our more challenging Advanced Bodyweight Workout Circuit. The workout regimen is structured as follows:

  • One-legged squats: 10 on each side [Note: This is highly challenging; attempt only if you’re in excellent shape]
  • Bodyweight squats: 20 repetitions
  • Walking lunges: 20 repetitions (10 on each leg)
  • Jump step-ups: 20 repetitions (10 on each leg)
  • Pull-ups: 10 repetitions [or substitute with inverted bodyweight rows]
  • Dips (using bar stools): 10 repetitions
  • Chin-ups: 10 repetitions [or substitute with inverted bodyweight rows using an underhand grip]
  • Push-ups: 10 repetitions
  • Plank: 30 seconds

Be forewarned, the aforementioned circuit is challenging and will push your limits—in a positive way. Completing this circuit three times is an accomplishment to take pride in.

Playground Workout Circuit

Do you have a nearby playground? Why not utilize it for a workout session! If you have kids, you can involve them, or just let them do their thing.

I’ll present you with a Level One workout and a Level Two workout. For more challenging exercises, you can also refer to the main playground article for Level Three options.

Level One:

  • Alternating step-ups: 20 repetitions (10 on each leg)
  • Elevated push-ups: 10 repetitions
  • Swing rows: 10 repetitions
  • Assisted lunges: 8 repetitions on each leg
  • Bent leg reverse crunches: 10 repetitions

Level Two:

  • Bench jumps: 10 repetitions
  • Lower incline push-ups: 10 repetitions
  • Body rows: 10 repetitions
  • Lunges: 8 repetitions on each leg
  • Straight leg reverse crunches: 10 repetitions

Once you’ve completed a full set three times, reward yourself with a slide down!

Kettlebell Workout Circuit

Have a kettlebell lying around? Utilize it for a circuit training routine!

Check out our comprehensive write-up on kettlebell workouts, or you can simply watch the video to follow along:

  • Halos: 8 repetitions on each side
  • Goblet squats: 10 repetitions
  • Overhead presses: 8 repetitions on each side
  • Kettlebell swings: 15 repetitions
  • Bent Over Rows: 8 repetitions on each side
  • Front rack reverse lunge: 6 repetitions on each side

Once you’ve completed the above circuit three times, go ahead and set your kettlebell aside for the final step: stretching.

Beginner Gym Circuit Training

If you have access to a gym, you’ve got a multitude of circuit options available.

For those taking their first step into a fitness facility, take a look at our Beginner’s Guide to the Gym. Gyms can be intimidating, but we’ve got a strategy to help you feel at ease.

We’ll guide you through each exercise for both Days A and B below. I recommend selecting one of our 5 Beginner Gym Workouts, progressing through the levels, and gradually moving on to the circuits outlined below:


  • Barbell squats: 10 repetitions
  • Push-ups: 10 repetitions
  • Pull-ups or pull-up alternatives: 10 repetitions


  • Barbell Romanian deadlifts/regular deadlifts: 10 repetitions
  • Push-ups: 10 repetitions
  • Dumbbell rows: 10 repetitions per arm

Alternate between these circuits on different days and allow for rest in between. For instance, designate “Day A” for Monday, take a rest on Tuesday, and then designate Wednesday as “Day B.”

We take great joy in assisting individuals as they begin their gym journey, particularly in emphasizing the benefits of barbell training and aiding beginners in gaining confidence with weight training! If this resonates with you.

The Hotel Workout Circuit: For Travelers that Train

At times, you might find yourself confined to a hotel room. Even if there’s a hotel gym, chances are it’s quite disappointing with its limited equipment – perhaps just 2 machines, a malfunctioning treadmill, and an absence of free weights.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

But what if you could engage in a workout circuit right there in your hotel room?

Let's make the most out of the furniture available.

Level 1:

  • Bodyweight squats: 20 repetitions
  • Incline push-ups: 15 repetitions (feet on the floor, hands on the edge of the bed or desk)
  • One-arm luggage rows: 10 repetitions (each arm, use your suitcase as your weight)
  • Reverse crunches: 10 repetitions

Level 2:

  • Overhead squats: 25 repetitions
  • Push-ups: 20 repetitions
  • Inverted rows using the desk in your hotel room: 10 repetitions
  • Reverse crunches: 15 repetitions

Set the alarm clock for 15 minutes from now and challenge yourself to complete as many circuits as possible!

For a more advanced routine, check out our comprehensive post on hotel circuits in Level 3!

In our 1-on-1 coaching program, we frequently work with business travelers, tailoring workouts for both their home gyms and while on the go!

If you’re seeking accountability on a global scale, customized workouts for home and travel, and expert guidance.

Nerdy Circuit Training Exercises

If the aforementioned workouts don’t pique your interest, we’ve got some other nerdy circuits you might enjoy!


Batman running in training

Day 1:

  • Rolling squat tuck-up jumps: 5 repetitions
  • Side to side push-ups: 5 repetitions
  • Modified headstand push-ups: 5 repetitions
  • Jump pull-up with tuck / Pull-up with Tuck-up: 5 repetitions
  • Handstands against the wall: 8 seconds

Day 2:

  • ‘180 Degree’ jump turns: 5 repetitions
  • Tuck front lever hold: 8 seconds
  • Tuck back lever hold: 8 seconds
  • Low frog hold: 8 seconds


Let's go to training

Superset 1: The Fellowship of the Ring

  • “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!” Slams: 3 medicine ball slams
  • Legolas Bow Pulls: 7 renegade rows
  • “One does not simply walk/lunge into Mordor”: 9 lunges, each leg
  • Hip “Bridge of Khazad Dum”: 1-minute hip raises and hold at the top position

Superset 2: The Two Towers

  • Riders of ROWhan: 3 bodyweight rows
  • Gimli “Shall I get you a box?” jumps: 7 box jumps – explode with power
  • Helm’s Deep-Squats: 9 bodyweight squats – squat low
  • Tower of Orthanc Holds: 1 minute (Kick up against a wall and hold a handstand for as long as you can until 1 minute is complete, in as few sets as possible.)

Superset 3: The Return of the King

  • Eowyn “I am no Man!”makers: 3 manmakers
  • Light of Galadriel raises: 7 arm overhead dumbbell presses
  • “Army of Dead”lifts: 9 lightweight reps, barbell or dumbbell
  • Samwise Gamgee Carries: 1 minute (Carry a heavy sandbag over the shoulder or use two dumbbells.)
    If you can complete a superset three times, consider yourself an honorary Ranger. Nothing found in Mordor can faze you.


do the 300 circuit training workout to get strong

This circuit is intense, much like the Spartans.

  • Pull-ups: 25 reps
  • Deadlifts with 135lbs: 50 reps
  • Push-ups: 50 reps
  • ’24-inch’ Box jumps: 50 reps
  • Floor wipers: 50 reps
  • Single-arm clean-and-press with 36 lbs. kettlebell: 25 each side
  • Pull-ups: 25 reps

The sequence is designed to be completed once. If you can go through it twice, you’re ready to defend Greece.


  • Barbell Deadlift / Dumbbell RDL / Banded Good Morning / Regular Good Morning: 10 reps
  • Medicine Ball Slam / Quick Downwards Bodyweight Squat: 10 reps
  • Push-up to Renegade row (push-up, row left, push-up, row right, repeat): 5 Rows per side
  • Transverse Lunge and Chop: 5 reps each side

How many times do you do this circuit? AMRAP, or, As Many Rounds As Possible. Set a 12-minute timer and get to work. Be cautious, only Wolverine can heal automatically.

wolverine does workout circuits too

You’ll need actual rest.

There you have your nerdy circuits. Feel free to immerse yourself in the soundtracks of the referenced movies during your workout. If you own a cape, now’s the time to don it. Boom!

Complete List of Circuit Training Exercises

You have the flexibility to choose any of the workouts mentioned in this article, all of which promise an excellent workout. However, if you’d like to design your own workout, that’s absolutely doable too!

Here’s a comprehensive list of exercises you can utilize to craft your workout:


  • Jump rope
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Walking Jacks
  • Burpees
  • Mountain climbers
  • Stairs
  • Sprints
  • High knees
  • Running in place
  • Rowing machine
  • Long-distance jumps
  • Box jumps


  • Push-ups (any variation)
  • Handstands


  • Dumbbell rows
  • Bodyweight rows
  • Negative pull-ups or chin-ups
  • Pull-ups or Chin-ups


  • Bodyweight squats
  • Lunges
  • Kettlebell swings
  • Farmer carries (carry dumbbells and walk around)


  • Planks
  • Side planks
  • Reverse crunches

Select 3-5 exercises and organize them as detailed in our “how to build your own workout routine.” You can also refer to The 42 Best Bodyweight Exercises for a wide range of movement options.

Complete 3 circuits with 10 reps of each exercise, one after the other!

Enjoy and keep things engaging. If you’d rather not construct your own workout, that’s perfectly fine too! We offer 15 free workouts in this article, and we’re more than happy to take on the planning for you.

(Well, not literally do the heavy lifting, but you get what I mean.)

In our 1-on-1 Coaching Program, we design tailor-made workout solutions for busy individuals like yourself. Allow us to devise a workout plan and assist you in making improved dietary choices.

How to Stretch After Circuit Training

After completing your workout, the concluding step (three) involves stretching and cooling down. Regardless of the circuit you’ve completed, it’s essential to stretch post-workout as it significantly aids in muscle recovery.

Watch this video for an excellent stretching sequence to follow. Additionally, incorporating some yoga poses can be beneficial.

When stretching, focus on what feels good and take your time. Allow your heart rate to gradually decrease while you engage in stretching exercises.