Circuit Training for Weight Loss

Sample Workouts Included

Circuit training for weight loss is an effective and time efficient way to shed the pounds and improve your physique. While any exercise plan is helpful for losing weight, circuit training can be more effective than other’s because it keeps you active throughout your entire workout.

There are virtually limitless exercise options to choose from when setting up a workout plan. For example, you can create circuits that work the entire body or focus on specific areas such as legs, arms, or abs.

Your routine can have as few or as many exercises as you want. You can have a strong emphasis on cardio or focus more on strength training.


Setting up a Plan

  • Decide on exercise length. You can complete each exercise for a specific time limit or number of repetitions. For maximum weight loss, aim for 30-60 seconds, or 10-15 reps. 
  • Decide on circuit length. The desired circuit length will determine the number of exercises you include and/or the number of reps you complete. For example, 6 exercises performed for 30 seconds each repeated for 5 circuits will give you a 15-minute workout. 
  • Decide on a number of exercises. Most circuits include anywhere from 4-10 exercises. Some people want to keep the number of exercises to a minimum so their circuits don't become too complicated while others prefer to include several movements to ensure that all body parts are being worked.
  • Decide on equipment. The key to circuit training is to make sure that you can move from one exercise to the next quickly and smoothly. You don't want to waste 15 seconds adjusting your weight machine or pulling dumbbells off the rack. 


Circuit Training for Weight Loss Exercises

Besides our sample workout plans, a list of exercises have been included below to give you some ideas of the types of exercises used in a circuit training plan. Keep in mind there are many more exercises available that you can choose from besides these.

As you become more comfortable with your circuit training workouts, you can add to the list of exercises. 

Upper Body Exercises

Choose 1-2 upper body exercises, depending on your goals and preferred circuit length.


Lower Body Exercises

Choose 1-2 lower body exercises, depending on your goals and preferred circuit length.


Full Body Exercises

These exercises work the entire body and may replace individual upper or lower body exercises. Choose 1-2 full body exercises, depending on your goals and preferred circuit length.


Aerobic Exercises

Mix any of these aerobic activities into your circuit training routine 3-4 times.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Running on the spot
  • Treadmill
  • Stationary Cycling
  • Rowing Machine
  • Elliptical
  • Jump Rope – scissor jump, cross arm jump, single foot jump, alternating feet, two-foot jump, side-to-side jump



Circuit Training For Weight Loss Workouts

Circuit Workout #1


Jump Rope (your choice of footwork) – 30 seconds

Overhead Press (dumbbells or bar) – 10-15 reps

Bicep Curls (dumbbells or bar) – 10-15 reps

Jump Rope (your choice of footwork) – 30 seconds

Deadlifts (dumbbells or bar) – 10-15 reps

Squats (weighted or regular) – 10-15 reps

Jump Rope (your choice of footwork) – 30 seconds

Plank – 30-60 seconds

**You can also complete resistance exercises for 30 seconds each rather than for reps.


Circuit Workout #2

Bird-dog – 6 reps

Kettlebell Swings – 12 reps each side

Weighted Squats – 12 reps

High Knees Running – 1 minute

Lat Raises – 12 reps

Tricep Extensions with dumbbells – 12 reps

High Knees Running – 1 minute


Circuit Workout #3

High-Intensity Running on Treadmill – 2 minutes

Chest Press/Bench Press (dumbbells or bench) – 10-15 reps

Overhead Press (dumbbell or bar) – 10-15 reps

High-Intensity Running on Treadmill – 2 minutes

Bent Over Rows – 10-12 reps

Push-ups – 10-15 reps

High-Intensity Running on Treadmill – 2 minutes

Bicep Curls – 10-15 reps

Deadlifts (dumbbells or bar) – 10-15 reps

High-Intensity Running on Treadmill – 2 minutes


Circuit Workout #4

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Alternating Lunges – 1 minute

Push-ups – 1 minute

Jumping Jacks – 1 minute

Kettlebell Swing – 1 minute (30 seconds each side)

Plank – 1 minute

**Time can be cut to 30 seconds per exercise.


Circuit Workout #5

(bodyweight bearing version)

Plank – 30 seconds

Squats – 30 seconds

Push-ups – 30 seconds

Bird-dog – 30 seconds

Bridge – 30 seconds

Squats – 30 seconds


Circuit Training for Weight Loss

Circuit training is a great way to get a full body workout that increases fitness and burns more calories in a shorter period of time than steady state cardio workouts. That is why circuit training for weight loss keeps getting more and more popular. The goal is to maximize caloric expenditure in a time efficient training session.


Other pages that might interest you:



I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum



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