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Four five-minute mini circuit workouts

Posted 05-08-2020
In Workouts & Circuit Training

Four five-minute mini circuit workouts

Working out at home doesn’t have to mean boring, repetitive workouts. In fact, with nothing more than a resistance band, somewhere to do pull-ups, and your trusty Gymboss interval timer, you have everything you need to create enjoyable, productive, and varied workouts.

Gyms? Who needs ‘em?!

For today’s workout, you are going to complete four five-minute mini circuits. Try and complete as many laps of each mini circuit as you can in the allocated time.

Program your Gymboss workout timer for four rounds of a five-minute interval and a one-minute interval recovery between each one. Start your timer and then do as many laps as possible of the exercises in mini circuit number one. Move quickly from one exercise to the next, resting no less than absolutely necessary. At the end of the first five minutes, rest one minute, and then move onto mini circuit number two and repeat.

 

Mini circuit one Mini circuit two Mini circuit three Mini circuit four
1 Lunge jumps x 8 Side lunges x 8 Goblet squats x 8 Hip thrusts x 8
2 Push-ups x 8 Band high-pulls x 8 Pull-ups x 5 Pike push-ups x 5
3 Crunches x 8 Inchworms x 3 Planks x 30 seconds Rolling side plank x 8
  Rest one minute Rest one minute Rest one minute All done!

 

Exercise descriptions

Get the most from each exercise by doing them correctly. Take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with them all before starting your workout.

Lunge jumps

This simple exercise will test and develop your leg power and endurance. It’ll also drive your heart rate sky high!

  1. Step out and into a lunge. Lower your rear knee to within an inch of the floor.
  2. Jump and swap legs in mid-air. Land on bent legs, descend and repeat.
  3. Do eight reps per leg.
  4. If this exercise is too demanding, feel free to do regular lunges instead.

Push-ups

Arguably the most commonly performed exercise on the planet, no at-home workout is complete without at least a few sets of push-ups.

  1. Adopt the push-up position with your hands roughly shoulder-width apart.
  2. Keeping your body straight, bend your arms, and lower your chest to the floor.
  3. Push yourself back up and repeat.
  4. Drop to your knees if you cannot do full push-ups.

Crunches

This old-school exercise is still one of the best ways to work your rectus abdominus, which is the muscle at the front of your abdomen.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet in the air. Place your hands on your temples.
  2. Lift your head, shoulders, and upper back off the floor and touch your elbows to your knees. Do not pull on your head or neck.
  3. Lie back down and repeat.

Side lunges

Work your front, inner, and outer thighs as well as your glutes with this dynamic leg exercise.

  1. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides.
  2. Take a large step to the side, bend the leg you just moved, and descend until your lead thigh is roughly parallel to the floor.
  3. Push off your bent leg and return to the starting position.
  4. Leading with the opposite leg, do another rep.
  5. Continue alternating sides for the duration of your set.

Band high-pulls

This resistance band exercise works almost every muscle in your body in one simple but demanding move.

  1. Stand on the middle of your band, feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the band with a narrow grip.
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your hands are level with your knees.
  3. Stand up and pull your hands up and under your chin. Keep your elbows high.
  4. Lower your arms and repeat.
  5. Make this exercise easier by using a lighter resistance band.

Inchworms

This exercise is the bodyweight-only equivalent of abs wheel rollouts, one of the best dynamic core exercises around.

  1. Stand with your feet together and your hands by your sides. Bend your knees slightly, hinge forward from your hips, and place your hands flat on the floor in front of you.
  2. Walk your hands forward and out as far from your feet as you can while keeping your abs braced and body straight.
  3. When you are at full stretch, walk your feet up to your hands while keeping your legs relatively straight and repeat.
  4. Use a shortened range of motion to make this exercise less challenging.

Goblet squats

Rgular bodyweight squats are an excellent exercise, but goblet squats work your legs even more effectively.

  1. Hold a weight in front of your chest. In place of a dumbbell or kettlebell, use a filled water cooler jug, medicine ball, backpack, or even a big stone. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes turned slightly outward.
  2. Push your hips back, bend your knees, and squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your chest up, and do not round your back.
  3. Stand back up and repeat.
  4. Feel free to do bodyweight-only squats for an easier workout.

Pull-ups

Arguably the best back and biceps exercise you can do with just your bodyweight. Pull-ups aren’t easy, but they are rewarding!

  1. Hang from an overhead bar using an overhand, shoulder-width grip.
  2. Bend your arms and pull yourself up until your chin is level or above your hands.
  3. Extend your arms and repeat.
  4. Can’t do full pull-ups? Do pull-ups with a band to assist you, lat pulldowns with bands, or body rows instead.

Planks

Planks work your core muscles isometrically or statically, which is how they often work in nature to stabilize your spine. Improved planking strength can help prevent and alleviate lower back pain.

  1. Lie on your front and rest on your forearms and elbows.
  2. With your legs straight, lift your hips off the floor, so your body is straight.
  3. Tense your abs and hold this position for the prescribed time. Do not hold your breath.
  4. Bend your legs and rest on your knees if full planks are too much for you right now.

Hip thrusts

Use this exercise to build your best butt and hamstrings ever, with next to no stress on your lower back.

  1. Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Drive your feet into the floor and lift your hips up until your knees, hips, and shoulders form a straight line.
  3. Lower your butt back down to the floor and repeat.
  4. Too easy? Elevate your feet to increase the range of motion.

Pike push-ups

This challenging exercise puts more stress on your shoulders and triceps than regular push-ups.

  1. Adopt the push-up position. Lift your butt into the air, so your body resembles an inverted V.
  2. Bend your arms and lower your head down to the floor.
  3. Push back up and repeat.
  4. Make this exercise easier by placing your hands on an elevated surface, e.g., a step or sturdy chair.

Rolling side planks

Rolling side planks work your obliques or waist muscles. They also involve your shoulders and especially your rotator cuff, which are your deep shoulder stabilizers.

  1. Lie on your side and rest on your elbow and forearm. Lift your hips, so your body forms a straight line. Extend your upper arm up to the ceiling.
  2. Roll forward and place your opposite arm on the floor. Continue rolling until you are planking on your opposite side. Extend your arm up to the ceiling. That’s one rep – keep going!
  3. Make this exercise easier by doing static side planks instead and holding for 15-20 seconds per side.

 

Modifications for beginners

This workout is against the clock, so work at your own pace. Adjust your speed to reflect your current level of fitness. You can make this workout easier by using the modified version of the exercises listed or doing fewer reps. Alternatively, do four or even three minutes per mini circuit instead of the prescribed five. You can also take a longer rest between mini circuits, i.e., 2-3 minutes instead of just one.

Wrapping up

Mini circuits are very simple, but they’re also a very effective way to train. They are self-regulating, which means it’s up to you how hard you work. It’s just you against your Gymboss timer. They’re not necessarily better than regular circuits, but they are different. And, when it comes to working out at home and keeping things fresh and exciting, different is good!