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updated: 2/20/2012 2:36 AM

Challenge yourself with 5 circuit training exercises

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  • Standing corkscrew, step 1

    Standing corkscrew, step 1

  • Standing corkscrew, step 2

    Standing corkscrew, step 2

  • Lunge to dumbbell raise, step 1

    Lunge to dumbbell raise, step 1

  • Lunge to dumbbell raise, step 2

    Lunge to dumbbell raise, step 2

  • Video: Trainer Talk: Circuit Training


This month's workout is a timed circuit that focuses on completing five exercises as quickly as possible with minimal rest.

Time how long it takes you to complete the first round of the circuit and this will become your baseline time that you will try to beat each time you complete the circuit.

Once the circuit is completed, rest for the same amount of time it took you to complete the circuit and then repeat for as many rounds as you can handle.

Because this is an intense circuit, choose light to moderate weights based on your fitness level and be sure to get a proper warm-up and cool down. We recommend women use weights between 5 and 20 pounds and men use weights between 10 and 30 pounds.

Dumbbell snatch: Grasp a dumbbell in one hand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Squat down as you push your hips back, being sure to keep an upright posture. As you stand up with force, pull the dumbbell upward as you lead with your elbow. As the dumbbell nears your chest, flip it into a shoulder press position and press it up overhead. At this point your legs should be straight and your arm extended overhead. Return to your starting position and repeat for 10 reps on each arm.

Jump squats: With feet shoulder width, squat down until you reach a comfortable depth. As you exhale, stand up with force and swing your arms upward as you jump straight up. As you come back to the floor, land softly by bending your knees and dropping right back down into the squat. Repeat for 20 repetitions.

Lunge to dumbbell raise: While holding a dumbbell in each hand, step back and drop into a lunge. As you lunge down, simultaneously swing your arms forward to about shoulder height. At this point you should be at the bottom of the lunge and your arms should be straight out in front of you. As soon as your arms start to drop back down, step up out of the lunge. Continue this rhythm until you've completed 10 reps and then repeat for 10 more reps on the other leg.

Prone dumbbell rows: Assume a push-up position with a dumbbell in each hand and feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Tighten your core and pull one dumbbell upward with a rowing motion and squeeze your shoulder blade. Extend the arm back to your starting point and row the other arm. Repeat for a total of 20 reps.

Standing corkscrew: Hold a dumbbell or weight plate with both hands and extend your arms out in front of you. As you squat down reach your arms down and to your left. As you stand up and exhale rotate your arms up and across your body to your right. Maintain an upright posture and keep your arms extended the entire time. Repeat for 10 reps and then repeat for 10 reps in the opposite direction -- reaching down to your right and up to your left.

So push your fitness to the next level with this high intensity circuit. For a video of this workout, and to see how long it took our trainers to complete, visit our blog at

• Joshua Steckler and Mark Trapp are co-owners of Push Fitness, a personal training studio in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning and nutrition. Contact them at

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