Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing a strength training/interval workout that has been making me stronger and toning my muscles!
As you might know from my previous posts, I like to try out a lot of different workouts as I can get bored easily with an exercise routine and like to change it up.
The workout I have been doing lately consists of full body movements done in a circuit with a cardio move in between each round, and today I’m bringing it to you for you to personalize. And of course don’t forget to check with your health professionals to makes sure you are doing what’s right for your body.
Here’s how to make your own personalized circuit workout that is made just for you.
1. The Warm Up
The warm up is a very important part of any exercise routine as it helps to loosen your muscles getting them ready for more vigorous movement. A warm up does not have to be very long to be effective, but it does need to get your heart pumping and your breath moving.
You can choose a number of exercises to help you warm up, from jumping jacks to jogging, slow squats to yoga, any exercise that is gentle on your muscles that still elevates your heart rate can be used as a warm up. My favorite warm ups are ones that incorporate my full body like a couple different down dog poses or plie squats.
Though you might be tempted to skip your warm up to save time, don’t skip it. The warm up helps prevent against injury and in the end will help you do the rest of your exercises better.
2. Whole Body Exercise
After my warm up I like to do a whole body exercise to help continue the warming up process in my body. A whole body exercise would be any exercise that uses most of the big muscles in your body. For example, a lunge and bicep curl or a squat and overhead press.
One of my favorite whole body exercises to start with is a squat and overhead press. The squat works my whole leg area and my core while the overhead press strengthens my shoulders and upper body. Doing two exercises together burns more calories, makes your exercise more challenging, and saves times. Triple score.
3. Upper Body Exercise
Next, I like to incorporate a separate upper body exercise. I do not always do this, but I really do like to whenever I can. I do this because it can be harder to find upper body exercises that cover all your muscles at once. The pushup and variations of the push are a great exercise for targeting most of your upper body muscles, but not everyone likes doing pushups.
I always try to make sure I include an overhead tricep extension in my upper body exercises. The overhead tricep extension is hard to pair with other lower body exercises so it becomes more of a stand alone move. I love this exercise because it really targets my triceps and also works on my shoulder flexibility as I have to keep my shoulders down and in place while I extend my arms and bring them back behind my head. It’s one of my favs!
4. Ab Exercise
Abs are the muscle group everyone wants to work on and probably works on the most. The way I like to do ab exercises are slow with control. You will find you get a much better ab workout this way and it is much safer.
Some of my favorite ab exercises are the standard crunch, bicycle abs, leg lowers, and planks! Yes, I said planks. All of these exercises are great for your abs if you do them slowly with control. Any exercise done quickly with no control is not only dangerous, but also is very ineffective. So remember, quality over quantity. Don’t do fast abs!
Last but not least, cardio! Cardio is the last type of exercise I do before starting the circuit over again. By adding cardio into my weight workout I create a circuit workout that is also an interval workout since my heart rate is spiking up at different times in the routine.
Some of my favorite cardio moves are mountain climbers, burpees, butt kicks, and jabs. These exercises are all whole body movements that get your heart rate up fast! This will probably be the hardest part of your workout but it is also one of the most encouraging parts as you will be able to really measure your progress week after week when you find yourself panting less every time you do a burpee.
I like to do each section of this workout for 2 minutes each before going onto the next exercise. That would mean 2 minutes of my squat and press, 2 minutes of tricep extensions, 2 minutes of abs, 2 minutes of cardio and then repeat. I like to try to do my circuit 3 times through using different exercises each time around. That would be a total of 24 minutes and 12 different exercises.
At the very end of your workout don’t forget to stretch for about 3-5 minutes. Stretching keeps your muscles healthy and ready for their next workout and can reduce the amount of soreness you might feel later. If you have questions about what exercises might be right for you ask the health professionals or personal trainers at your local gym! The health professionals at your gym can be a great resource for learning new exercises that are safe and right for your body.
This is one of my favorite designs for a circuit/interval workout and hopefully it inspires you to make your very own personalized workout routine. Remember, even loving your workout is important.