This beginner bodyweight circuit workout will target every muscle in your body. Perfect for the fitness beginner. 8 exercises included. Let's work!
22 Minute Complete Beginner Bodyweight Circuit Workout
What Makes These Circuits Effective?
Before you try this beginner circuit routine, you should understand in more detail why this session is efficient in order to determine if it's for you, or not.
This is a HIIT circuit workout where you will alternate different movements while working and resting for a certain period of time.
1. Exercise selection & circuit structure - a total of 8 bodyweight exercises included in the circuits. You have 3 upper body exercise variations mixed with 3 lower body squat and lunge combinations.
This way you will alternate upper body and lower body work which is essential for a good circuit workout. Also, the last 2 moves are focused on the core as this is mandatory for every fitness beginner. The outcome of the workout structure will either help you get a successful workout, either you will burn out too early in the session. We will review each one of the exercises later in this article.
2. Interval timers - as a beginner, it's highly recommended to avoid too high intensity timers because it's the wrong way of doing circuits and you will burn out too quickly. With that in mind, in this workout, we have used 30/20 seconds of work/rest protocol. The 20 seconds of rest between moves will help you recover for the upcoming exercise while 30 seconds of work will be enough volume as a starting point.
3. Between rounds rest - a completed round is considered once you perform one set for each of the 8 exercises included in the circuit. Once done, there is a 2 minute rest applied so you can take your breath back and prepare for the upcoming bout of exercises.
4. 100% follow along circuits - the easiest way as a fitness beginner is to watch your workout video and replicate it (if visiting a circuit training group is not an option for you).
The less you think as a start, the better. Going forward, this beginner bodyweight circuit workout is created exactly in this way. Just warm up, play the workout video and replicate everything exactly as it's shown.
How To Customize This Session?
As mentioned above, this is a beginner bodyweight circuit workout tailored to fitness rookies. However, we should look into the scenario where you might not be able to perform a single push up, so find below my recommendations of how to make these circuits easier if the current physical shape is not allowing you to perform them:
1. Exclude the push ups - if you cannot do a single push up, then you will avoid this. Here is what to do:
Exercise 1 - T push up with row - avoid the push up and do only bodyweight row to T position.
Exercise 3 - Push up to knee elbow tap - exclude the push up and perform only knee to elbow taps.
2. Increase the rest between rounds - there are 2 minutes rest between the 3 rounds of this workout. However, if 2 minutes are not enough, pause the video, rest for 3-5 minutes and continue to the next round. This will make the session easier.
8 Exercises Combined In a Beginner Bodyweight Circuit Routine
Since you are aware of the structure and how to modify these beginner bodyweight circuits, we will move on to the 8 exercises showcase where we will review each move and how it will benefit you.
Exercise 1 - T Push Up/Row Combo
The T push up is a good variation of the regular push up where you will perform 1 rep followed by a T opener or T position. That way, you will activate the core and will enhance the tension in the arm, shoulder and upper back as well because you will have to frequently support your body on a single arm. The row addition will activate your core and obliques which will be beneficial for improving the balance and coordination of your body.
If you cannot perform a single push up, then perform only row to T position.
Exercise 2 - Squat To Reverse Lunge Kick
Squat to reverse lunge to kick is a lower body sequence that involves 3 exercises. You will begin with a single rep squat, followed by a reverse lunge and finishing with a straight kick. Once you are done, repeat this flow again but this time, switch the working leg for the lunge and followed kick.
A great combination for the whole lower body (glutes, hamstrings and quads). These moves will equally improve your strength endurance, balance and coordination. Good combo for building leg muscle if being applied for longer intervals.
Exercise 3 - Push Up to Knee Elbow Tap
Push up to knee elbow tap is another press up variation that will additionally target your core, obliques and cardio as well. Begin on a push up position, perform 1 repetition and follow it with 2 alternating knee to elbow raises. Repeat again. In case you cannot perform a single push up, exclude it and do only knee to elbow raises/taps.
Exercise 4 - Squat to Curtsy Lunge
The squat to curtsy lunge is a 2 exercise lower body combination that is good for leg muscle build, balance and coordination. The bodyweight squat itself will not much help you build leg muscle, however, when being combined with a single leg exercise such as a lunge or split squat variation, then the whole sequence will result in greater leg muscle recruitment.
Exercise 5 - Tucked Shoulder Tap to Ankle Tap
The tucked shoulder to ankle tap is a fantastic core and upper body exercise that will challenge your balance, coordination and core strength. Begin on a tucked push up position, do 2 shoulder taps followed by 2 ankle taps. All taps should be done in an alternating way. The tempo will be determined by your training level.
Exercise 6 - Side Step Jump Squat
The side step to jump squat is the last lower body focused move included in this routine. Begin on a stationary position, do 1 step with slide bended knee on the left, once turning back, perform 1 jump squat and then move on to the right step. Continue in this manner until the end of the set.
The bonus with this exercise is that you will perform a bonus lateral step under tension, and combining it with the jump squat will result in higher balance and explosive strength.
Exercise 7 - Sit Out To Straddle
This beginner bodyweight circuit will end up with 2 core exercises. The sit out to straddle is a high intensity bodyweight exercise that will elevate the heart rate, target the core, obliques and mobility too.
Begin on a push up position, you will perform triangle small jumps when constantly return to the starting position, which is the push up one. Once 2 jumps are completed (1 for both directions left and right), you will perform 2 sit outs. Alternate continuously these 2 moves.
Exercise 8 - V Sit Hold to Heel Tap
The last move of the bodyweight circuit is the V sit hold to heel tap. Great exercise for the abs, obliques and core as well. Keeping the balance here is crucial. Get into a seated position, lift the legs slightly up in the air while the upper body should slightly lay back. Once there, begin to alternate tapping the heels in a cross way manner, while still holding the required isometric V sit hold position.
Is Bodyweight Circuit Training Effective For Beginners?
Bodyweight circuit training is a good approach for the fitness beginner as such routines will spare time while improving your strength endurance and cardio at the same time. The HIIT bodyweight circuits are not the most optimal approach for gaining muscle, however, if your goal is to get yourself in better shape, fitter and with more energy, stamina and conditioning, then the circuit workouts are great to use as a starting point in your fitness journey.
Disadvantages Of Circuits and What To Avoid As Beginner
As effective as the circuits are, such workouts might be tricky when it comes to building these by yourself. In other words, the circuit training will deliver outstanding results for your body, but as a beginner, try to avoid creating the circuits by yourself.
You can easily make fundamental mistakes in the workout design and burn out too quickly in the session. This will not be productive for your progress either for strengthening your mentality. Instead, either visit a circuit training group where you will receive supervision by a coach or perform a 100% follow along workout videos just like the workouts presented in this article.
As mentioned in the previous chapter, circuit training is not the best workout style for getting you jacked and building muscle. Hence, if this is your goal, seek other types of training.
How Often Should You Do Circuit Routines?
Is it okay to do bodyweight circuits everyday? No, it is not a good idea to perform high intense workouts everyday because you will overtrain and will not lose weight or get in shape faster. Also, by training hard everyday, you can develop hormonal imbalances, lack of sleep, constant appetite spikes, mood swings and your body will be prone to injuries. Too many negatives for a fitness goal, don't you think? Instead of risking all of this, perform 3-4 beginner bodyweight circuits per week and you will get results in 4-8 weeks time. Allow your body to get equal amounts of tension (your workouts) and recovery (sleep and rest days).
2 Bonus & Complete Beginner Bodyweight Circuits
Every fitness beginner should have workout options in order to keep their interest and motivation on point. In addition, the more movement varieties you explore, the more proficient your body and nervous system will become. This will result in better overall performance with the other exercises (that you might be doing) and daily activities as well.
Going forward, below I have prepared 2 complete beginner bodyweight circuits that you can also try when you need. Both sessions are again HIIT routines and are complete follow along workout videos.
30 Minute Circuit Workout For Beginners
The whooping 11 bodyweight exercises are combined in this killer 30 minute circuit workout for beginners.
Find below the circuit exercise list for this workout:
1. Walk out to push up.
2. Jumping lunge to knee kick.
3. Push up to straddle.
4. Rotational drop lunge.
5. Push up row to side step.
6. Standing jump out.
7. High knee to sit out (8 knees to 4 sit outs).
8. Jump out to jump in combo.
9. Plank ankle taps (alternating).
10. Alternating V sit up to V hold.
11. Hollow body hold to crab reach.
2 rounds should be performed by moving through each one of these exercises twice. The work/rest interval protocol is 30/20 seconds of work rest. Rest between both rounds: 2 minutes.
Learn more about this beginner circuit workout.
15 Minute Full Body Circuit Workout For Beginners
This is another good and full body circuit workout for beginners. 6 exercises await for them to be performed. You will have to work for 30 and rest for 20 seconds.
Here is the circuit exercise list:
1. Burpee around the world.
2. Squat to drop lunge combo.
3. Beginner push up (Eccentric focus only).
4. Leopard to crab crawl.
5. Plank forward reach.
6. Plank twists.
3 total rounds should be done but without any big rests between. This means that for 15 minutes you will continuesley work and rest for 30/20 seconds.
Summing It Up
The beginner bodyweight circuits are good option for a person with a goal to get in better shape, with higher strength endurance, cardio, mobility and conditioning as well. As a beginner, try to avoid building circuit routines by yourself as this might be a tricky game for an inexperienced fitness person.
Instead, focus on visiting circuit or HIIT training groups or replicate 100% follow along workout videos (just like all workouts in this post).
In general, the circuit training will highly benefit the fitness beginner as you will perform lots of work in a tight time frame. That will lead to adaptation and respectfully - progress.
Avoid doing circuits everyday and instead, do 3-4 full body workouts per week. You can start only with bodyweight movements and over time, you can add a pair of dumbbells or a kettlebell in the workouts.
What is your favorite beginner bodyweight circuit workout?
To your FIT-ter self,