Basic Circuit Routine

This post was written by Wiley Ho Jan 28, 2021 in Fitness, Health & Wellness
Man doing a plank

The New Year has begun and, after the holiday excesses, it’s a good time to return to a basic fitness routine. NVRC fitness centres are open for book-ahead sessions and personal trainers are ready to help you out. For those staying close to home right now, the following ParticipACTION circuit workout provides an excellent, quick (7 to 15 minutes) and effective workout without special equipment. It gives a boost to your metabolism, mental sharpness and heart and hormonal health!

Three intensities

You can perform these exercises at three levels. If, at any time, you feel breathless between sets, feel free to take longer rests in between exercises.

Beginner (~5 min) Intermediate (~10 min)   Advanced (~12 min)
20 seconds per exercise 45 seconds per exercise 60 seconds per exercise
10 seconds rest between exercises 20 seconds rest between exercises 30 seconds rest between exercises

Each day, perform each exercise as many times as you can while maintaining good form. Increase to the next level when you can complete the circuit with relative ease. Try for 7 days in a row!

Warm Up: 2-3 minutes

Practice each of the exercises below in a slow and controlled manner. Pay special attention to your form and don’t break between exercises to help build intensity. 

The circuit

High Knees
High knees Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee toward your chest and quickly place it back on the ground. Do the same with your left knee. Continue alternating as quickly as you can.
Push Up
Push ups Lie on your stomach with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bring your hands directly under your shoulders. Keeping your back straight and core tight, push your bodyweight up on your knees until your elbows are extended (but not locked). Slowly lower yourself back to the ground. Then return to your starting position and repeat.
Step Up
Step up Facing a set of stairs, or a low and sturdy bench, step up with your right foot followed by lifting your left knee up to standing position. Step back down and alternate, stepping with your left foot next. Focus on bracing your core throughout.
Tricep Dip
Tricep dips To get in position, place your hands, finger tips facing forward, on a step or low, secure bench. Slide your bottom off the front of the step/bench and move your feet away until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. By bending your elbows, lower your glutes down as far as you can, keeping your back close to the step/bench. Then return to your starting position and repeat.
Chair Squat
From a standing position, lower your glutes down towards a chair with control. Let your glutes lightly touch the seat of the chair, then push through your heels to stand back up. 
Plank Begin by lying on your stomach with your feet shoulder-width apart and forearms placed on the ground. Ensure that your elbows are directly under your shoulders, keeping your head in a neutral position. Next, draw in your abs towards your spine and contract your glutes. From this position, lift your torso off the floor from your knees, keeping your back straight. Hold this position for 20, 45 or 60 seconds. 
Glute Bridge
Lie face up with your knees bent, hip distance apart, and feet flat on the floor. Keeping your arms at your side with your palms down, contract your glutes. Lift your hips off the floor until your knees, hips and shoulders form a straight line, then slowly lower your body down. Repeat.

You can print out this handy downloadable kick-starter workout PDF from ParticipACTION for easy reference. 

NVRC encourages everyone to stay as active as possible during the pandemic. Staying active is crucial for staying healthy physically, mentally and emotionally!

Learn more about NVRC fitness centres and fitness services.


Wiley Ho.

A long-time North Vancouver resident, Wiley works as a technical writer and is the current newsletter editor for the North Shore Writers’ Association. She spends her free time reading, hiking and discovering new things to try at North Vancouver Recreation & Culture!


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