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Short but Sweet Muscle-Building Circuit

DIRECTIONS: Perform the following workout as a circuit; don’t rest between exercises and rest only 90 seconds at the end of each round. Perform three rounds.

Bodyweight Squat X 20
Pushup X 10
Inverted Row X 10
Side Planks X 30 seconds each
Squat Jump X 10
Arnold Press X 15
Hammer Curl X 15
Rope Pressdown X 15
Plank X 60 seconds


Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and both hands in front of you or behind your head. Squat low to the ground, making sure your thighs get at least parallel to the floor. Engage your glutes as you stand back up.

Get into a pushup position with your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Keep your back flat as you lower your body to the floor, then push back up to the start. If a straight pushup is too difficult, modify it by putting your knees on the floor. In either variation, keep your back flat throughout the move.

Lie in a power rack underneath a bar set on the safety pins. Reach up to the bar (it should be just out of reach) and grab it. Pull your chest up to the bar (or as high as you can) squeezing your shoulder blades together as you do so. Hold the position for a second then slowly return to the start.

Lie on your left side with your feet stacked, right on top of left. Prop yourself up on your left elbow so that your hips and legs come off the ground. Keep your body in a straight line from ankles to shoulders; don’t allow your hips to “sag”. After 30 seconds, switch sides. To add difficulty, you can raise your top leg up while keeping the same position.

Stand as you would to do a normal bodyweight squat. Descend in the same fashion until your thighs are just lower than parallel to the floor, then reverse direction, exploding upward and jumping in the same motion. Land softly and repeat immediately.

Hold a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders with your palms facing out. Press the dumbbells straight up, pause just short of full extension, then slowly return to the start.

Hold a dumbbell in each hand and, without using any momentum, curl the weight up to chest level, stopping just shy of your shoulder. Squeeze your biceps at the peak of the movement, then slowly return to the start position.

Clip a rope attachment to a high pulley at a cable station and grip it with both hands at either end. Keeping your elbows at your sides (imagine they’re bolted to your rips) press down, extending and contracting your triceps hard. Flare your hands out at the bottom of the movement, hold for a second, then slowly return to the start.

Lie facedown on the floor, propping yourself up on your toes and elbows. Keep your core muscles tight to keep your body stable and in a straight line. Hold for the prescribed amount of time.

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