If you read my post about Staying Fit During Pregnancy, you'll know I always try and incorporate a circuit workout in at least once a week. I think circuits are such a fun way to workout, because you get to go through so many different exercises and each one only lasts a short while so that you never get bored. Also, depending on the day you can go through the circuit twice or if you're feeling like being challenged more you can go through it 4-5 times! A circuit is a group of exercises done in rapid succession that you repeat a certain amount of times. You do not take breaks between each exercise, but can take breaks between each circuit to recover. I think I first fell in love with the circuit model from doing Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 DVD's. If you workout from home I highly recommend these! She makes three short circuits that you go through in under 30 minutes - so perfect if you are under a time crunch (aka have toddlers who need attention 24/7). Basically if you only have the ability to workout from home, circuits are the way to go. They are quick, require minimal if any equipment, and can be done in a short time span.
When choosing which exercises to do in the circuit I usually incorporate a few upper body, some lower body and cardio. In total I aim for 6-8, but you can use as many or as little as you like. I don't add in as many pure cardio exercises, because the circuit itself is aerobic as you go through it so quickly without breaks which gets your heart rate up. You can really throw together any exercises you like. If you are someone who likes to train just upper body one day and just lower body another, then choose your exercises accordingly. I like to do a full body circuit because I change up my workouts everyday and don't want to feel like I over-trained one part of my body more than the other. I also only do my circuit workouts in the turf section of our gym with free weights and body weight. This is because using machines in a circuit doesn't really work because you would have to make sure all of the machines are free and then clean them all after each use - it would just be way too time consuming and you wouldn't be able to get through your circuit quickly enough.
Below is a list of exercises that I incorporate into my circuits. Obviously some exercises require more than just one muscle group, but I have listed them in the section where the biggest muscle group is being used. If you aren't positive on how to do the move - send me a message (or just google it). To make your life really easy I have made a PDF file that has a list of all of the exercises shown below (plus an example circuit!). Print it off or save it to your phone and take it to the gym with you. I always have a list of exercises on hand so that when I get to the gym I can easily grab 6-8 (or however many your'e feeling) of them and create a circuit without having to think about it. There are obviously countless exercises you can use in a circuit, but here is a list of a few to get you started!
Bench jump over
Push-ups Walking plank Tricep extensions* Bent over reverse flies with one leg lifted* Dumbbell overhead press* Bent over rows* Chest press on an exercise ball* Renegade row* Bicep curls* Standing dumbbell upright row Barbell overhead press*
Squats into an overhead press* Jump squats Duck walks Box jumps Step-ups* Sumo squats with tricep extension* Sumo squat step-ups* Walking lunges* Jumping lunges Rear leg elevated lunge* Static lunge* Wall sit holding weight with arms extended out* Squat to curtsy lunge* Single leg squats on an upside down bosu ball* Skater jumps Straight leg dead lifts* Glute bridges* Donkey kicks