Your Workouts Reviewed: At-Home Circuits

Circuit review_rotator

Everyone’s got a workout of their own—your “go-to” routine. But is your routine good enough? We asked our Men’s Fitness Facebook friends if they had a killer routine to share and subject to the scrutiny of our readers. The big catch? Our team of training experts also review it, critique it and tweak it if necessary.

Workout Submission

Antonio Aguilar Men’s Fitness Facebook Friend

“This is a circuit workout I do to train some friends and also for myself when I’m at home and want a good workout.”
This workout is 3 rounds of 4 groups/sets of 3 exercises each. You complete 3 rounds of each group/set before moving on to the next one. Each exercise is 30 seconds, rest 10 seconds and move to the next. Once you finished the 3rd exercise, you rest one minute and jump back into it again for 2 more rounds before moving to the next group/set. ‎

Group/Set One: Jump Squat Mountain climbers Sit-ups w/ weight on hand

Group/Set Two: Slow motion 4-second count push-ups Scissor switch Body builder count

Group/Set Three: Plank up/down Jump splits Bicep curl to shoulder press

Group/Set Four: Back flyes Spider man push-ups Squat press

Expert Assessment #1

Rob Sulaver C.S.C.S. is the owner and founder of Follow Sulaver on Twitter @BandanaTraining

Pros: Minimal equipment. Lots of variety. Up-tempo.

Cons: Exercise order – Start with the most demanding exercises in the circuit, then degrees from there (i.e. the last circuit should be squat press, spider man push, back flyes). Exercise selection – Slow motion push ups for 30 seconds? You’ll be able to do six max. (Slow motion anything doesn’t work very well here.) And jump splits? Meh. There’s also no big pull exercise (I love me some pull-ups). Time – 30 seconds on, 10 second off will eventually be easy. Try 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off. As a bonus, you can keep the clock running and start each new exercise on the minute.

Comments: These cardio-strength circuits are fun, up-tempo, and challenging—a nice intro to strength training because they require little equipment, relatively light weight and lots of reps. Eventually, however, think of this type of workout as a supplement to your cardio routine, not your resistance training, which should be heavier, harder and awesomer.

Expert Assessment #2

Dan Trink C.S.C.S., CPT is the Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance NYC and the trainer in our 8-Week Fitness Transformassacre Follow Trink on Twitter @TrinkFitness

Pros: Antonio is not afraid of getting some work done. These types of workouts will certainly build up your work capacity—which can be helpful in a lot of sports and activities. And you are incorporating a lot of body weight movements which is smart if you are going to perform 30 seconds of work for every 10 seconds of rest. I’m also glad to see that you have some workout partners to help push you to get through all these exercises and sets.

Cons: Has everyone gotten afraid of lifting actual weights? While this type of training will work your conditioning, it certainly will not build lean muscle mass or get you strong—which are still the two critical training components of performance and body composition last time I checked. Also, the majority of the work getting done is focusing on the so-called “mirror muscles.” Tons of pressing (shoulder press, squat press, curl to press, two types of push-ups!) but nothing for your back (set aside for some reverse flyes thrown in at the end). The lower body work is very heavy on the plyometrics which can be very demanding, especially when done in a fatigued state. I’m also dying to know what a “body builder count” is.

Comments: If I made my workout partners train in this manner, they would leave me. I think conditioning circuits are great and are a worthwhile addition to a training program, but almost everyone should be prioritizing strength training. Also, it’s never a good idea to thrash certain muscle groups while completely ignoring others. This leads to imbalances and injuries. Antonio, you and your buddies certainly have a lot of guts to complete this workout but do yourselves a favor and build a solid base of strength by moving some loads. Your performance and body composition will be better for it.

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