HORT-CIRCUIT TRAINING

Set aside 20 minutes and follow these circuits to build total-body strength, increase muscle endurance, or rev up your metabolism.

February’s short days, erratic weather, and bitter temperatures can sap motivation— even for dedicated lifters who consider the gym a second home. And with willpower compromised, the idea of climbing under a Slanket and settling in for a Netflix binge can seem far more appealing than battling soul-sucking cold en route to and from the gym. If you’ve spent the past few months logging marathon workouts on the regular, we say enjoy the additional R & R and the first two seasons of Daredevil. Otherwise, it might be time for a major shakeup because it’s probably more than the weather that’s affecting your motivation.

Whether your routine has grown stale and predictable, it has remained too intense (or merciful) for too long, or you’re simply looking to keep things short and sweet until the weather turns, try tagging in any of these 10 quick-hitting circuits from trainer Don Saladino the next time you consider playing hooky. Saladino, owner of Drive495 health club in New York City, has experience training high-profile clients such as Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, and other celebrities who operate on a strict time budget. In other words, his circuits will use a limited time frame to extract maximum results. All you need is a willingness to work hard for 20 solid minutes.

So the next time your backyard looks like Hoth and you tell yourself it’s too cold to train, keep the No. 20 in mind. Because if you’re unwilling to put in 20 measly minutes now, once it gets too hot to wear a shirt, you’ll be the guy thinking twice about removing his.

1. High-volume Circuit

Rounds: 3

EXERCISETIME*REST*
Trap-bar Deadlift 40  15
Dumbbell Bench Press 40  15
Lat Pulldown 40  15
 Rear Delt Flye (Machine) 40  15
 Military Press 40  15
 Machine Row 40  15
 Plank 40  15
 Barbell Biceps Curl 40  15
 Triceps Pushdown 40 15

*In seconds; rest 1 minute between rounds.

SALADINO SAYS: “Work for the full 40 seconds on each exercise. Use light to moderate weight and make sure the last round is very difficult to complete.”

DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
Keep your core tight and maintain a slight arch in your lower back—but do not raise your butt off of the bench—as you press the dumbbells up over your chest.

TUT (Time Under Tension) Circuit
Rounds: 5

EXERCISE REPSTEMPOREST*
Front Squat55010**30
Bench Press5501030
Pullup5501030
Dip5501030

*In seconds; rest 30 seconds between rounds.

**5010: Five seconds on the eccentric (lowering) phase, no pause at the midpoint, one second on the concentric (lifting) phase, and no pause at the top.

SALADINO SAYS: “When your time in the gym is limited and your goal is to develop muscularity and strength, employ this routine and its strict 5010 tempo.”

FRONT SQUAT
An alternative to the cross-arm grip is a “clean” grip, where you grasp a racked barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart and allow it to rest on your fingertips. With either grip, keep the elbows pointed up to better balance the bar.

DUMBBELL LYING TRICEPS EXTENSION
Keep your elbows pointed upward; lower the dumbbells until you feel a stretch in your tri’s.

2. Lower-body Circuit

Rounds: 4

EXERCISEREPSREST*
Split Squat1015
Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift1015
Lateral Lunge10**15
Lying Leg Curl1015
Leg Extension1015
Leg Press1015

 

*Rest 1 minute between rounds.
**Per leg.

SALADINO SAYS: “Expect to shock the lower body and get a lot of blood into your legs without the heavy pounding of maximal weights.”

3. Upper-body Circuit

 

 

Rounds: 3

EXERCISE REPSREST*
Chest-supported Dumbbell Row1015
Alternating Incline Dumbbell Bench Press1015
Alternating Lat Pulldown10**15
Hammer Curl1015
Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension1015

 

*In seconds; rest 40 seconds between rounds.
**Per leg.

SALADINO SAYS: “If you’re tired, back off of the intensity and focus on getting blood into the muscle.”

4. Chest Circuit

Rounds: 3

EXERCISEREPS TEMPO REST*
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press8401040
Incline Dumbbell Flye8401040
Dip8401040
Machine Press8401040

*In seconds; rest up to 40 seconds between rounds.

SALADINO SAYS: “The lack of rest between sets will help get a tremendous amount of blood into the muscle while giving your joints a break. Throw this circuit in right after you get off an intense program.”

5. Back Circuit

 

Rounds: 3-4

EXERCISEREPSTEMPO REST*
Deadlift8401040
Assisted Pullup8401040
Hammer Row8401040
Close-grip Hammer Pulldown8401040
Chest-supported T-bar Row8401040

 

*In seconds; rest 40 seconds between rounds.SALADINO SAYS: “It’s effective for

SALADINO SAYS: “It’s effective for limited time and for getting maximal pump in the back. I have developed the wings of many superheroes using these principles.”

INCLINE DUMBBELL FLYE
Avoid clanging the weights together at the apex of the movement to increase time under tension. Maintain a slight bend in the elbows throughout the rep.

6. Shoulder Circuit

Rounds: 4

EXERCISEREPSTEMPOREST*
Side Lateral Raise8401040
Dumbbell Front Raise8401040
Seated Bentover Dumbbell Raise8401040

 

*In seconds; rest 30 seconds between rounds.

SALADINO SAYS: “If you’re having trouble adding size to your shoulders, I’d suggest giving this routine a try.”

7. Bi’s & Tri’s Antagonist Circuit

Time: 20 minutes*

EXERCISEREPS
Barbell Curl8-10
Close-grip Bench Press8-10
High-pulley Cable Curl8-10
Rope Pushdown8-10

 

*Take minimal rest between exercises.

SALADINO SAYS: “If you’re able to keep moving for 20 straight minutes without rest you’ll get a tremendous pump.”

Abs Circuit
Rounds: 4-5*

EXERCISEREPS
Hanging Leg Raise10
Ab Wheel10
Landmine10
Cable Crunch10

 

*No rest between exercises; rest 15 seconds between rounds.

SALADINO SAYS: “Aim to keep going until you hit the 15- to 20-minute mark.”

8. Metabolic Circuit

Rounds: 5*

EXERCISEREPS
Battling Ropes20 sec. on / 20 sec. off
Sled Push50 yards / 20 sec. off
Airdyne Bike20 sec. on / 20 sec. off
Sprint20 sec. on / 20 sec. off
Bear Craw20 sec. on / 20 sec. off

 

*Rest 1 minute between rounds.

SALADINO SAYS: “Perform each movement at about 85%. Along with torching fat, these exercises get you moving the way the human body was meant to move.”

DUMBBELL FRONT RAISE
Don’t use momentum by adding a bounce at the bottom of a rep. Instead, execute each rep with your arms straight and elbows fully extended. When the dumbbells reach shoulder height, return them to the start position.

BATTLE ROPES
Hold a rope in each hand and sink into a squat position. Alternate moving one arm to your shoulder and the other toward your knee—or move both arms simultaneously—as quickly as possible for the prescribed time.

AB WHEEL ROLLOUT
Kneel on the floor, place the ab wheel handles, and slowly roll it away from you until your upper body is parallel with the floor (or as far as possible). At full extension, reverse course.

HIGH-PULLEY CABLE CURL
Keep your upper body and elbows in a fixed position as you curl the handles toward your ears; hold for a one count, and then reverse course until your body makes a T shape.

 

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