Bodyweight Circuit Workout - for the time starved, beginners, and more experienced
I know, a new video on YouTube! Finally! I truly hope it's that you will enjoy. This is my Bodyweight Workout Circuit - especially great for beginners as well as those more experienced and also, the time starved (that’s most of us!). For those looking for an approachable way into exercise, this is for you. 3 rounds of this circuit takes only 12 minutes to complete! That's winning at life.
How did this come about?
You know I love my yoga flow, my weight training, and of course ClimbFlow practice which blends dynamic yoga and fitness movements together into one sequence - whether you’re a climber or any kind of movement lover. ClimbFlow is an example of bodyweight exercise i.e. movements that use your whole body, linked together in a flow. A great example is my Strong & Flexy Legs Workout. It’s also a form of resistance training, where your own weight is providing the resistance. Whilst so many of you also love ClimbFlow and yoga, I received a lot of requests from people (climbers, yogis, and more) asking for a video geared towards more of the “traditional” bodyweight exercises and resistance training to help improve their strength and overall fitness. You asked for a format that is practical when you're already so pressed for time e.g. something you could realistically do before or after work a few times a week. I also wanted this to be approachable for those new to this kind of training.
Why bodyweight exercise?
I love bodyweight exercises as the foundation for getting strong, without needing special equipment or a gym membership (I have never had one). It also has a lower risk of injury, provided of course you perform them with good form and bodily awareness. I call it a beginner’s bodyweight circuit because this is a great introduction to fitness movement. To many, it is still foreign and intimidating (like a lot of my friends) and don’t know where to start. Accessibility is an important factor. To some, these exercises might seem basic, but even to well established fitness pros, these movements are excellent for cultivating well-rounded strength and fitness. Also, it’s free! The only thing that is required is you (and your commitment!)
What’s in this bodyweight circuit?
I picked out 6 (of course there are hundreds!) that I feel are a great starting point for those new to exercise, but are also great as back-to-basic-yet-effective-conditioning. It can even be used for rehabilitation for the more established when done carefully. I do them. Also, to bring together the strength benefits of bodyweight exercise as all-important cardio, I put these together as a circuit.
- 6 exercises x 30 seconds each - that’s 3 minutes of movement
- 60 second recovery (that's 4 minutes for a set)
- perform 3 sets
- = 12 minutes total!
As a series of back-to-back exercises followed by rest, this brings the cardio-like benefits by elevating your heart rate (every heart needs cardio), akin to the concept of high intensity interval training (HIIT), where you work hard for a period before a segment of recovery.
The exercises are: the crunch, glute bridge (or as I like to call it, the Bao Bridge), elevated push up (a great precursor to push ups on the ground), squat with toes turned out (this gets a little more into your inner thighs as well as quads & glutes), tricep dips, elevated mountain climbers.
This is accessible, whole-body integrated work
Even though an exercise might be focused in one area of your body, as you will see from the explanation segment, your whole engaged body is required to perform the exercise well. That means just because your arms are working, it doesn’t mean your legs are floppy and your belly is hanging out (much like climbing right?). We call this compound movements, where multiple muscles and/or joints may be engaged in the exercise.
Each exercise requires full-body awareness and engagement, particularly through your core muscles which are fundamental stabilisers to pretty much every movement you do - your muscles front-to-back, side, down and around, and down to your hips! Read more about understanding core strength as part of my Core Flow video that I did with Arch Climbing Wall.
I make reference to "banana back" - and that means a disengaged middle and sagging lower back. Whilst many of us may love the banana fruit, the banana back in these exercises will only lead to dumping the strain into your lower back and causing injury. Working with a fully engaged body means you are holistically conditioning and strengthening your entire self.
No banana backs!
except sometimes... :D
How often should I practice? Do I need to warm up?
With regular practice of at least 2-3 times a week, you will see the benefits in a couple of weeks already. The great thing about this circuit is that as you get stronger, you can increase intensity, by increasing number of repetitions or reducing the elevation height of your elevated push ups, for example. Going further, you may also find that adding low amounts of weight will be your next step. By relation, if you need to dial down the intensity you also can. This means fewer reps, not squatting so deeply, not lowering as far into the movement.
Taking a couple of minutes to warm up first - working a cold body will only result in strains. Gentle jogging on the spot, high knees, skipping (even without a rope) are all great ways of waking up and warming up your body. If you've been walking, from the bus or train say, you may find you are already feeling mobile.
An important aspect I can’t reiterate enough is to develop a conversation with your body: Your body won’t feel the same every day and you need to understand the difference between positive challenge that you can engage with vs. pushing your body too hard and hurting it. Some days you DO need to dial it down. Pushing through actual pain is an absolute no-no. If you have existing injuries, then you also need to be aware that not every exercise may be right for you at that time, though these are also great for rehab movement when done with care and control at an appropriate time. Work with your body, not against it.
I really hope you enjoy the workout. Movement and exercise is meant to be fun! So smiles and laughter are always welcome even when you're sweating. If you enjoy it, why not share it with a buddy, or how about work colleagues and team-up in a fitness journey. Developing accountability for yourself by sharing with others is a great way to stay motivated.
Also, It would be wonderful if you could subscribe to the channel (thanks to everyone who has done already!) and encourage your friends to also!
Lastly, why not leave an encouraging like and comment on the YouTube video itself. I would love to hear from you and how this is going for you. I read them all! Is there a video you really want? Let me know! You can also reach out to me here via this page and let me know!
Wishing you the best on your journey - we are all in this together! Remember, onwards and upwards everyone!
*You are inherently responsible for yourself and any movement you engage in. Any activity you engage in is solely at your own risk. This video is for demonstration purposes and not intended to diagnose/treat any health condition. Always consult with your doctor/physician to ensure you are able to practice any of the physical activity or exercise demonstrated here especially if you have any pre-existing physical or health conditions.*