Answer: When time is limited, the best way to make use of it is through circuit training. In circuit style programming, you will perform one set of each of your strength exercises immediately after one another prior to beginning your second round. This keeps the workout fast paced, increases lean body mass through the use of resistance exercise (which burns more calories 24 hours per day), and allows you to maximize your caloric burning potential. Remember, “shaping up” any part of your body is a combination of body fat loss and increased lean body mass. An example of a circuit style workout could include:
Lunge with Overhead Press. Stand with your right foot about three feet in front of your left. Hold a weight in each hand in front of your body about chest level, with your elbows bent. Bend your left knee toward the floor, lowering your body down. Upon raising back up lift both weights overhead. Change legs and perform with your left foot forward.
Ball Crunch. Sit on a stability ball, and walk out so the ball is under your low back and you’re lying flat on top of the ball. Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your knees bent, curl your torso up about half way. Return to your starting position.
Ball Squat Curl. Hold a stability ball behind your low back against the wall. Hold a weight in each hand. Bend from your knees and hips, and sit back into a squat. As you stand back up, bend your elbows and perform a bicep curl.
Erin A. McGill, MA, NASM CPT, CES, PES
National Academy of Sports Medicine