Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Workout Wednesday: Body-Weight Strength Circuit

Happy Workout Wednesday, fitness friends! Do you have a workout planned for today? In honor of the new PiYo workout coming out soon, I put together this challenging body-weight circuit for you to try! Strength training is so important, but sometimes weights aren't accessible, or maybe you just don't like 'em. That's ok! You've got everything you need to get a great strength training session in, built right into your body!

Here's the Circuit:

01:00-05:00-- Warmup (jog in place, jump rope, jacks, whatever feels good!)
05:00-06:00-- Squat pulses
06:00-07:00-- Tricep pushups
07:00-09:00-- Reverse lunges (1 minute each leg)
09:00-10:00-- Pike pushups
10:00-11:00-- Sumo squats
11:00-12:00-- Spider pushups
12:00-14:00-- Bowlers lunges (1 minute each leg)
14:00-15:00-- Mountain climbers
15:00-17:00-- Side plank (1 minute each side)
17:00-18:00-- Forearm plank with knee pulls
18:00-31:00-- Repeat from Squat pulses
31:00-35:00-- Stretch

Here's a brief explanation of some of the moves:

Squat Pulses
Just like it sounds! A basic squat, but drop your booty really low, and pulse in small movements so that you really feel the burn! If it gets too much for 1 minute, simply slow it down, or don't squat as low.
Hint: Make sure you can wiggle your toes at all times-- keep your weight in your heels!

Tricep Pushups
Set up in plank, either on your knees or your toes. Shoulders and wrists should be in one line. Bend the elbows, keeping them hugging into the side of your body as you lower your chest. It should feel like you're pointing your elbows to the back of the room, like a crocodile. Lower until the arms are about 90 degrees, the press back up.
Hint: These are MUCH harder than traditional pushups, so don't be a hero-- drop to your knees if you need to!

Reverse Lunges
Stand with feet together. Step one foot back behind you and lower your booty down into a lunge. Exactly like a regular lunge, except you step back instead of forward. Lower until your front knee is about 90 degrees, then press back up. You can do these as pulses like the squats, or slowly if you prefer.
Hint: These are easier on the knees than traditional lunges. 

Pike Pushups
Start in Downward Dog (Google this if you're not sure how to do it.) Walk your feet in a few steps, and come up on your tiptoes. Turn your fingertips in to face each other slightly. Tuck your chin toward your chest, and bend the elbows, lowering the crown of your head towards the floor. Lower as far as you can, then push back up.
Hint: Elbows will point out to the side as you lower down on this one.

Sumo Squats
My favorite! Set up like a regular squat, but point your knees and toes out to the corners of the room. Tuck your hips under and squeeze your lower abs in tight. Lower down as though your back were up against a wall-- straight down, straight up. You can do these as pulses, or slowly, your call.
Hint: You should feel the burn here in the inner thighs and the quadriceps, more than in the glutes (as opposed to a regular squat.)

Spider Pushups
Set up in plank, but take your hands out SLIGHTLY wider than you had them for your Tricep Pushup. Walk your feet out wide, so that your arms and legs make an "X" shape. Bend the elbows and lower your chest towards the floor, sending the elbows toward the back corners of the room. Push back up.
Hint: You can still drop your knees to the floor in the "X" shape if you need to. 

Bowlers Lunges
Another favorite! Stand with feet together. Pick up your left leg and take it back at an angle, so that it goes behind your right leg. Stick your hip out towards the right, like you're going to butt-bump the person next to you. It should look similar to the stance a bowler takes as he/she releases the bowling ball down the lane (thus the name.) Repeat with the other leg.
Hint: Sticking the hip out is KEY for these! You'll really feel the burn in your side booty!

Mountain Climbers
For this circuit, I recommend doing these slowly. Start in plank pose. Squeeze the belly in tight, round the spine, and pull your knee in toward your nose. Try to kiss your knee! Step back to plank, and repeat, alternating legs.
Hint: Imagine pulling your knee in and creating a tight little ball with your body.

Side Plank
Start in plank. Place your right palm in the center, under your face. Rotate onto the outside of your right foot, stacking the feet if you can, and keeping the right shoulder and wrist in one line. Hold as long as you can, and if you need a break, simply place your right knee onto the floor, keeping the left leg extended.
Hint: Don't let yourself sag into your shoulder.  Keep lifting your shoulder away from your ear and thinking long and strong!

Forearm Plank with Knee Pulls
Start in the same form as Plank, but drop down onto your elbows/forearms. Keep the belly tight and the glutes engaged. Pull your right knee out to the side, like you're going to touch it to your right elbow. Return to plank, and switch sides, alternating legs.
Hint: Don't let your bum sag here! Keep lifting through the belly and hips to keep the back in a straight line. 

I hope you'll give this one a try! It's great for all levels, and works your whole body! Feel free to Pin and share. :)

Cheers! Happy Hump Day!


  1. Ohhh, this looks like a burner!! I love bowler lunges. I'm doing Turbo tonight. :)

    1. TURBOOOO, my fave! I love bowler lunges too! My PiYo class loves them and hates them. ;) HEEHEE!