The Circuit Style Trainer for Women

No time for extended training? This circuit workout will get your heart racing and give you the benefits of both resistance training and a cardio session.

Workout Summary

General Fitness
Full Body
Beginner
3
Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Kettle Bells, Machines, Other
Female

Workout Description

Whenever I talk to potential female clients, or just women looking at getting into shape, one of the most common things I hear is that they are more than willing to exercise, their only problem is finding time in their demanding schedule to step back and train. And I’m sure that many of you reading this are facing this same dilemma.

Well what if I told you that you can get a full body workout in, and feel in the best shape of your life, with as little as two 30 minute sessions a week? Many of you would be surprised. But that is the beauty of circuit training.

Circuit style training enables you to complete much more work in a shorter time period than would be done with traditional forms of weight training. Circuit training has a very simple premise: you do an exercise for one set, then immediately follow it with another exercise that doesn’t directly affect the muscles you just worked in the last set.

This type of training allows your muscles to rest as you move from one exercise to the next. The intensity of the overall training is high enough that you get a cardiovascular benefit similar to spending an equal amount of time on a treadmill or stationary bike. This eliminates your need to spend additional time on cardio machines, essentially killing two birds with one stone.

Below, I have listed a complete circuit style workout that you can do as little as two days per week, and up to every other day, depending on your lifestyle demands and goals. This specific workout that I have provided does a great job at addressing many concerns which should be looked at when programing workouts for ladies.

  • It contains basic strength work, which can offset the effects commonly associated with osteoporosis and aging.
  • Circuit style training provides cardiovascular benefits directly correlated to intensity.
  • Higher repetition isolation exercises provides the “toning” exercises typically desired in weight training programs.
  • The listed exercises work all major muscle groups creating a sexy balanced physique.
  • Strategically paired exercises allow for worked muscles to rest.
  • Eliminates need for cardio work after weight training.

Now before you go jumping into this program, understand that it is very adaptable to your individual preferences and abilities.  And how you perform this, will determine your individual outcome and results. For those looking more for fat loss, you will want to increase the intensity of the workouts and reduce the amount of time you spend resting between the circuits and between sets.  A great way to progressively add intensity to each matching workout is to time yourself through each circuit, or through the whole workout, and try to beat your time during each subsequent workout session.

For those trying to focus on strengthening your muscles, you may want to reduce the intensity. To do so allow yourself to rest more, especially during the first circuit to allow for maximal strength development.

Here are the major guidelines for maximizing your personal success with this workout:

  • Should be done at least 2 days per week.
  • Workouts are best separated by at least one day.
  • Can be done up to every other day.
  • A basic warm up should be implemented before getting into the first circuit. (i.e. Stationary bike, light jogging, another smaller body weight circuit, etc.)
  • A cool down should immediately follow the last circuit, consisting of stretching, foam rolling, yoga or other low intensity activities.
  • All circuits of the same workout should be completed within one workout.
  • Other forms of light cardio or recovery work can be done on “off” days.
  • As with any workout, nutrition will be the ultimate determinant of success.

So any ladies out there, whether you’re looking to lose weight, or just get into the best shape of your life, you can do it in as little as a few workout short workout sessions a week. Circuit Style training is the way to go!

Day 1
Circuit 1
Exercise Reps Circuits
Kettlebell Squat 8 4
Lat Pull Down 10 4
Circuit 2
Exercise Reps Circuits
Dumbbell Lunge 8 3
Machine Shoulder Press 10 3
Kettlebell Swing 12 3
Circuit 3
Exercise Reps Circuits
Crunch 25 2
Leg Extension 10 2
Dumbbell Curl 10 2
Hip Thrust 15 2
Day 2
Circuit 1
Exercise Reps Circuits
Push Up AMAP 4
Step Up 8 4
Circuit 2
Exercise Reps Circuits
Bent Over Row 8 3
Leg Curl 10 3
Incline Dumbbell Press 8 3
Circuit 3
Exercise Reps Circuits
Plank 30 Sec 2
Upright Row 10 2
Hyperextenion 10 2
Tricep Extension 12 2
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About The Author
Although a swimmer at the division 2 level, John’s passion lies in weight training, from bodybuilding to powerlifting, as well as Olympic lifting and all forms of training.

25 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 12/04/2012 - 02:29
halleh jafari
i am really interested in fitness .i would really like to have special program. i live in Iran and unfortunately the female trainers are not professional. and having a male trainer is hardly ever possible . i will thank you if you help me with an appropriate fitness program .my height 159cm ,weight 53kg. i have been working out almost16 months . of course i used to do kong fu for 5 years . but i am planning to go on fitness, growing my muscles and changing my size after quitting sports for a while. i am trying to watch out my eating. please help me to have a nice body.
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:54
John Matulevich
This program is a great start, if you have access to the equipment listed in the program above.
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Posted Thu, 12/06/2012 - 16:27
Erin
If you don't have kettlebell what can you substitute for the squat and swing? THX
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Posted Tue, 12/18/2012 - 10:24
Becca
I used dumbells. It worked well. I also looked on YouTube to make sure I was doing it right.
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Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 00:02
Jade
Does anyone know what I can use (machine or otherwise) to do the leg extensions if the pictured one isn't available? That question also applies to the leg curl exercise as well. Thanks!
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 17:53
John Matulevich
For Leg Curls, you can position your legs on a exercise ball, with your back on the ground and curl your legs in towards you, to add weight to that, you can add weights across your waist -John
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Posted Tue, 07/02/2013 - 10:17
tina
you can do lunges
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Posted Wed, 01/16/2013 - 18:05
Krystle
to achieve best results for losing weight, how much weight should I use for each exercise?
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 19:35
Krystle
how do I know how much weight to use for each exercise?
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Posted Sun, 01/27/2013 - 02:29
Anna-Marie
i did day one! and i feel amazing! Tomorrow is day two :) i used a weight i was more comfortable with. and i used dumbbells in place of the kettlebell. but i enjoyed doing this circuit training.
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Posted Mon, 02/04/2013 - 14:10
Jess
Am I getting the benefits of circuit training by one day of upper body exercises followed by lower body exercises the next day since? I am completing 4-5 exercises without a break. Also, does each set have to be different exercises? I am a women looking to tone up. Any help is much appreciated.
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Posted Wed, 04/03/2013 - 16:30
Sparillo
It is good to alternate the muscle groups that you work on each session, especially if you are doing consecutive days. You want the muscles you worked the day prior to rest and recover. If you are working them everyday, you could injure yourself. The different exercises target different muscle groups which is definitely what you want if you are trying to tone up. To tone up it is also good to use a ratio of low weight : high reps. It helps you work the muscles, but not get bulky. I hope this helps. :)
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Posted Tue, 03/19/2013 - 09:10
Sue
What can I use as an alternative to the lunges? I had knee replacement 5 months ago and lunges still hurt like the dickens and are very unstable. Thanks!
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Posted Thu, 04/18/2013 - 13:07
sammie
I want to make sure I understand this circuit . In circuit #1 Kettlebell squat, 8 reps, move immediately to lat pull down, 10 reps, . Rest , and start over Kettlebell squat and lat pull down until I have gone through these two movements 4 times?????????????? Move to circuit #2????????????
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Posted Wed, 07/02/2014 - 23:31
Marysia
I have the exact same question! Really confused..wish the article would have specified!
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Posted Wed, 05/22/2013 - 11:07
ella
I have the same question as sammi. Do I move on to circuit 2 after kettlebell squats (8 reps) and lat pull downs (10 reps) are performed four times?
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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 13:25
Tuesday
my question is... if I do day1 on monday, should I do day2 on tue and so forth and so on. Or should I do day1 on monday rest on tue then day2 on wed and rest on thurdsday and so forth and so on??
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Posted Tue, 06/25/2013 - 17:12
Tuesday
is it ok to do day1 on monday, then day2 on tuesday, day1 on wednesday, and so forth and so on. Or should I do day1 on monday, rest on tuesday, day2 on wednesday, rest on thursday?
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Posted Fri, 08/16/2013 - 10:08
kat
I really like this routine; however, my local gym is always packed with people (at all hours of the day). I definitely want to get into fitness more seriously. I love to exercise, but feel a little intimidated with all the guys in the weight machines. Sometimes the machines are a little too heavy to adjust and I just give up on some occasions and leave the gym.
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Posted Sat, 10/26/2013 - 11:31
steph
I can't help but comment on some of the claims your article gives... 1) Cardio - a circuit style program does not provide enough intensity to eliminate the need for cardio in workout. Resistance Training uses the Anaerobic Alactic and Anaerobic Lactic Energy systems not the Aerobic energy system which sustains cardio training. 2) Also you claim that you can increase fat loss with an increase in intensity? Fat Loss doesn't come from weight training it comes from Cardio. The aerobic energy system is what burns fat. Muscle and fat are not connected, someone could do all the sit up they want but they aren't going to get rid of the fat on their stomach. 3) Also if this is for beginners, shouldn't you offer some information about what work load to start with? A person could not be using enough weight and someone could use far to much. (60-70% of 1RM for 8-12 reps).
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Posted Tue, 11/12/2013 - 03:49
Anita Bell
Have you actually tried this workout? I have had significant fat loss and muscle growth in 3 months without adding extra cardio. Done every second day, If you use common sense its an excellent program. Definatly worked for me. I lifted as much as i could to complete the reps and then added on weights. Keeping rest time very brief, also excellent cardio acheived. Only thing i changed was stepups for deadlifts and substituted what equipment i didnt have.
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Posted Tue, 11/12/2013 - 03:38
Anita Bell
I am 30yo female 59kgs 5"9 with 3 kids 1 yr old daughter. Ive been doing this workout every second day for 3 months lifting heavy and have awesome results! Thankyou! I exchanged the stepups for 50kg deadlifts. No need for cardio on off days although im pretty active with the kids anyway. Worked for me!
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Posted Wed, 01/01/2014 - 19:22
SSFitness
DIET tips please...I workout 4-5 days a week: cardio 3 weight training 5
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Posted Fri, 03/21/2014 - 01:35
want2getlean
I am 156cm and weigh 59kg. I have been working out at the gym for the last 2 weeks and I still weigh the same! My coach advised me to do the circuit training and do the stepper or cross trainer to burn at least 500 calories. I don't think I have the stamina or the endurance level to burn a lot of calories on the cardio machines. I enjoy the strength training exercises more. Also i want to lose fats on my arm, back, thighs and especially the midriff but I don't want to lose breast volume. Can you please advice on a workout routine i can follow easily
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Posted Fri, 01/16/2015 - 09:39
Marcia Pacak
How long to rest between circuits? I am assuming the 1st circuit is continuous.