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Circuit Training Workouts: A Fast Track to Elite Fitness

The top-rated circuit training workouts for body transformation include full-body movements and high-intensity intervals. These workouts are effective as they combine cardiovascular exercise with strength training, aiding fat loss and muscle building.

5 min readAugust 22nd, 2023

Circuit training is the perfect tool for anyone on the go because you get a total body workout and cardiovascular exercise in one efficient session. Circuits are great for fat loss, general fitness, improving endurance, and anyone who loves endorphins. You can work out with or without equipment and still see great results.

What is Circuit Training?

Your body needs cardiovascular exercise and strength training to stay healthy, but you probably don't have hours a day to devote to exercise. So you need an exercise program that keeps you healthy and happy and fits your busy schedule. Cue circuit training!

Circuit training is an exercise style that allows complete flexibility in how you build your workout. Circuits are a series of exercises you move through with minimum rest between exercise stations. Unlike high-intensity interval training (HIIT), you can work at a moderate intensity, so it’s more accessible and doesn’t require a high fitness level to start. You can perform circuit training on your own, in a class, or with a personal trainer.

Benefits of Circuit Training

Circuit training is excellent for anyone wanting to reap the maximum health benefits of cardiovascular and strength exercise in less time. Unlike traditional strength workouts that require much longer rest periods between sets, circuits cut down on rest time, which increases the workload for your heart, thus offering dual benefits.

Types of Circuit Training

The type of circuit training you choose will depend on your goals and the amount of time you have. For example, if you want to lose fat, gain muscle, and improve your muscular endurance - opt for multi-joint exercises that hit large muscle groups and use challenging weights. In addition, you can use bodyweight exercises to increase cardiovascular health and endurance and get your heart pumping.

  • Repetition Circuit: Repeat one exercise at a time for a set number of reps before moving on to the next exercise station.
  • Timed Circuit: Repeat one exercise at a time for a set time frame before moving on to the next exercise station.
  • As many reps/rounds as possible (AMRAP) Circuit: Complete each exercise as many reps (or rounds) as possible in a set time, then move on to the next station.

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Repetition Circuit

A reputation circuit can be great for muscular endurance, cardiovascular health, and fat loss. But first, decide how many reps you want at each station and if you want to rest between completing your circuit and starting again. Repetition circuits are a multi-purpose and easily modifiable workout style well-suited to most fitness goals.

Repetition Circuit: Fat Loss or General Fitness

Goblet squat1590 secs between rounds3 - 5
Kettlebell swing1590 secs between rounds3 - 5
Gorilla row1090 secs between rounds3 - 5
DB press1090 secs between rounds3 - 5
KB halo20x each direction90 secs between rounds3 - 5

Repetition Circuit: Endurance

Jumping jacks3030 secs between rounds5 -8
Mountain Climber3030 secs between rounds5 -8
Russian twists3030 secs between rounds5 -8
Superman3030 secs between rounds5 -8
Squat jumps3030 secs between rounds5 -8

Timed Circuit

A timed circuit is another great option that develops our cardiovascular health and muscular endurance where you complete as many repetitions of the exercise as possible in the time allotted. Timed circuits are best suited for improving general fitness and heart health or as a cardio supplement for a fat-loss program.

Timed Circuit: Fat Loss  or General Fitness

Goblet squat30 sec90 secs between rounds3 - 5
Kettlebell swing30 sec90 secs between rounds3 - 5
Gorilla row30 sec90 secs between rounds3 - 5
DB press30 sec90 secs between rounds3 - 5
KB halo30 sec each direction90 secs between rounds3 - 5

Timed Circuit: Endurance

Jumping jacks60 sec30 secs between rounds5 -8
Mountain Climber60 sec30 secs between rounds5 -8
Butterfly sit-ups60 sec30 secs between rounds5 -8
Superman60 sec30 secs between rounds5 -8
Squat jumps60 sec30 secs between rounds5 -8

As many reps/rounds as possible (AMRAP) Circuit

Similar to a timed circuit, an AMRAP setup puts you in competition with yourself from set to set. First, you complete the exercise in the allotted time and achieve as many repetitions as possible. Then with your next round, you try to get more reps than the last. This is a fun way to push yourself and measure your progress from week to week. Of course, you can also do as many rounds as possible, attempting to achieve as many rounds of the circuit in a prescribed time. AMRAPs are great if you have a competitive streak and like to track your fitness progress.

AMRAP Circuit: Fat Loss / General Fitness

Goblet squatAMRAP in 1 min2 min between rounds3 - 5
Kettlebell swingAMRAP in 1 min2 min between rounds3 - 5
Gorilla rowAMRAP in 1 min2 min between rounds3 - 5

AMRAP Circuit: Endurance

Jumping jacksAMRAP in 1 min2 min between rounds3 - 5
Mountain climberAMRAP in 1 min2 min between rounds3 - 5
Squat jumpsAMRAP in 1 min2 min between rounds3 - 5

Best Circuit Training Workout Videos

30-minute Circuit Training with Weights

22-minute Intense Circuit Training

30-minute Abs & Strength Circuit Training

40-minute 450 Calorie Burn Circuit Training

How to Create Your Own Circuit Training Workout

Now that you know the benefits of circuit training and the different ways to structure your workout, you're ready to build your circuit based on your fitness goals and circuit style.

1. Define Your Goal

First, decide what your primary fitness goal is.

New exercisers commonly have too many, often conflicting, fitness goals. As a result, they work feverishly but do not achieve their desired results. For example, you cannot grow your glutes while losing fat while becoming a marathon runner. Simplicity rules when writing an exercise program you will stick to and will help you achieve your goals.

If your goal is fat loss, general fitness, or optimal health, aiming for 3-4 workouts per week is a good starting point.

2. Pick Your Circuit Style

Second, decide what circuit style suits your purpose best, then pick the exercises for each circuit station.

Multi-joint, complex exercises like squats, deadlifts, chest presses, and rows improve strength and build muscle, and I recommend including them in at least two workouts per week.

3. Remember to Warm Up

Every session should start with a warm-up that includes 5-10 minutes of low-intensity cardio to increase blood flow and a few bodyweight exercises or dynamic stretches.

4. Build a Well-rounded Workout

A well-rounded exercise program will provide cardiovascular exercise and address each of the following movements patterns:

Hinge at the knee -> Ex: Squat Hinge at the hip -> Ex: Deadlift

Push -> Ex: Bench press Pull -> Ex: Row

Rotate -> Ex: Med ball throw

Use the template below to build your first circuit workout

ExerciseTime / RepsRestRounds
I.e. Squat30 sec1 minute between rounds4

Circuit training is an excellent option if you lead a busy lifestyle or want to avoid spending hours in the gym to achieve your goals. Whether you choose a timed, repetition, or AMRAP circuit, you will enjoy the many health benefits of cardiovascular and strength training in just a few workouts per week.

More Circuit Training Advice from GymBird Experts


Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. Cardiovascular Effects and Benefits of Exercise.

Preventative Medicine. Potential health-related benefits of resistance training.

Sports Medicine. Effects of Rest Interval Duration in Resistance Training on Measures of Muscular Strength: A Systematic Review.

Biology (Basel). Effects of Resistance Circuit-Based Training on Body Composition, Strength and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Precision Nutrition. All About Strength Training.