The Beginner Circuit

Improve your strength and cardiovascular health with this beginner circuit.

Circuit training gets your heart pumping as you move from one exercise to another without resting in between. Circuit training is perfect for beginners because it improves your strength and cardiovascular endurance, while also speeding you through a workout. If you're just starting out, try this beginner's circuit three times a week, giving yourself one day of rest between sessions. Perform each exercise for a minute as you cycle through the circuit, then repeat the entire circuit a second time.

Necessary Equipment:

  • Bench
  • Dumbbells (2 or 3 sets)
  • Resistance Bands (2 or 3 resistances)
  • Sturdy Chair
  • Stability Ball
  • Lightweight plate weight (optional)

Dumbbell Step Ups

Perform the dumbbell step up exercise for one minute, alternating between your right and left legs. If the extra weight of the dumbbells makes the exercise too difficult, perform it sans-weights.

See the Dumbbell Step Up

In and Outs

The in and out exercise will add a touch of cardio to your routine without overtaxing you. Perform the in and out for one minute. Hold a medicine ball in your hands to increase the difficulty.

See the In and Outs

Row with Resistance Band

Perform the row with resistance band for one minute to target the major muscles of your back. You may want to grab several different resistances so that if one becomes too difficult, you can switch down to an easier band to finish out the exercise.

See the Row with Resistance Band

Sumo Slaps

The sumo slaps add your next bout of gentle cardio. Perform the sumo slaps for a minute.

See the Sumo Slaps


You can't get through a circuit without performing a squat! Spend a minute performing body-weight only squats. If you can complete a full minute with ease, add dumbbells to the movement.

See the Squat

Push Up to Plank

This combination exercise will target your entire upper body and core. You may have to modify the routine by dropping your knees to the floor. Steadily perform the push up to plank for a whole minute.

See the Push Up to Plank

Fan Kicks

The fan kicks will work your legs while increasing your heart rate. While the exercise is performed kicking your legs over the back of a chair, you can always modify the height of your kicks to a lower level. Perform the fan kicks for a minute.

See the Fan Kicks

Exercise Ball Prone Cobra

The exercise ball prone cobra works your shoulders and entire back while also enhancing your stability. If you have a hard time staying balanced on the exercise ball, perform the exercise with your feet pressed against the wall to help stabilize you. Perform the exercise ball prone cobra for a minute.

See the Exercise Ball Prone Cobra

Steering Wheel

The steering wheel will work most of your upper body including your abs, shoulders, triceps and chest. If you don't have a plate weight, hold a dumbbell horizontally and grip the ends to perform the exercise. Do the steering wheel for a minute.

See the Steering Wheel

Seated to Standing Biceps Curl

The seated to standing biceps curl will work your biceps while also targeting your legs and increasing your heart rate. Perform the exercise for a minute, switching out dumbbells for lighter ones if you need to.

See the Seated to Standing Biceps Curl

Strong Finish

After finishing two full cycles of the circuit routine, spend five-minutes cooling down and getting in a good stretch. You should be able to complete the entire workout in less than 30 minutes, including your cool down.

Additional Articles by This Author:

circuit training, beginner exercise, strength training

  • Expert

    Laura Williams (LauraEWilliams)

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