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A circuit is a series of strength or cardio exercises (or both) repeated two or three times with little or no rest between sets. You'll need a watch with a second hand, the cardio equipment of your choice, plus a set of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells. Find the workout that suits your needs below.Putting It All Together
The right circuit for your goalGoal 1: Melt fat, firm muscles
Do the strength moves for one minute each in the order listed, alternating one minute of cardio that matches your fitness level between each strength exercise. Complete the circuit three times through.
270-360 calories; 36 minutes
Do the strength moves for one minute each in the order listed, moving from one to the next without resting. Complete the circuit four times through with no rest in between.
210 calories; 24 minutes
Do five minutes each of low-, medium-, and high-intensity cardio (give yourself 10 seconds at the end of each interval before moving to the next activity). Perform the circuit twice, switching activities the second time through. To modify for beginners, stick with the lower-intensity activities; more advanced exercisers can do all high-intensity moves.
170-330 calories; 30 minutes
Targets: Back, Shoulders
Targets: Butt, Legs, Core
TIP: After each cardio move, rest for no more than 10 seconds between activities.
TIP: Organize all of your gear (weights, timer, jump rope if necessary) beforehand so you can move quickly from one exercise to the next.
Advanced option: Walk your hands over a step bench while remaining in full push-up position.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2006.