Cardio and strength training collide in this 30-Minute Circuit Training Workout! This full body workout at home uses just a set of dumbbells to build strength and improve your cardiovascular endurance. From upper body strength to lower body strength, core conditioning and cardio, we’ll hit it all.
Today’s full body circuit workout hits it all — grab your dumbbells and get ready to build strength and test your cardiovascular endurance!
Circuit Training FAQs
What Is Circuit Training?
Circuit Training is a workout format that alternates between several full body exercises with minimal rest between exercises. This format maximizes efficiency by alternating exercises that target different muscle groups. We’re able to move quickly through each circuit with minimal rest time (while still maintaining proper form and challenging weights) because as soon as the muscle starts to fatigue, we move on to a different muscle group. This also keeps your heart rate high throughout the workout.
What Are The Benefits Of Circuit Training?
Circuit training has great benefits like: increased muscle tone and definition, increased cardiovascular fitness and it helps avoid fitness plateaus and boredom. You get a total body workout AND get to isolate different muscle groups within each circuit. And the workout never gets easier if you keep striving for heavier dumbbells. You can toggle between different weights during circuits, using heavier weights for the lower body exercises and lighter dumbbells for smaller muscle groups like the triceps and shoulders.
30-Minute Circuit Workout
Follow along as we work through three circuits. Each circuit consists of four exercises targeting the arms, legs, abs and cardiovascular endurance.
Add this circuit workout to your home workout plan 1-2 times per week to build and maintain total body strength.
Medium-to-Heavy Set of Dumbbells.
I suggest 8-20 lb dumbbells. I’m using 12 lb dumbbells in this workout video, but if I were doing this workout at home I’d toggle between 12 and 15 lbs.
Shop My Dumbbells
I’m using 12 lb dumbbells in this circuit workout.
Timed Intervals (45 seconds of work, 15 seconds rest for the strength exercises; 30 seconds of work, 30 seconds rest for the cardio exercises; complete as many repetitions as you can in the timed interval)
How To Do An Upright Row and Row to Overhead Shoulder Press
Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells, palms facing in towards your body.
With control, pull your elbows up towards your shoulders, gliding the dumbbells up your body. This is an upright row.
With control, lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
The repeat for a second upright row. At the top of the second row, flip the palms so they’re now facing out away from you.
Then perform an overhead shoulder press by pressing the dumbbells straight overhead.
Lower the dumbbells down to your shoulders with control, flip the palms so they’re facing in towards your body again, and lower the dumbbells all the way back down to the starting position.
2-Pulse Squat Thruster
Targets: Legs, glutes, hamstrings, quads, hips, shoulders, abs and core.
Squat thrusters are a good way to raise your heart rate.
How To Do A 2-Pulse Squat Thruster
Start standing, feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your shoulders (front-rack position, overhand grip, palms facing in).
With your weight in your heels, step your right foot out so feet are now shoulder-width distance apart. As you do so, sit your hips back to lower into a squat, striving for a 90-degree angle between your hips and knees.
At the bottom of your squat, pulse up an inch and down an inch for a two-count.
Then, drive through your heels, squeezing your glutes to stand tall. As you stand, bring the right foot back in to meet the left foot while performing a squat thruster, pressing the dumbbells straight overhead.
Bring the weights back down to shoulder height and repeat the sequence, stepping the right foot out for the entire timed interval. Switch the leg that steps out on the next set.
Modification: Option to omit the overhead press. You can also omit the front rack and keep the dumbbells at your sides.
Plank and Dumbbell Open to T
Targets: The entire core with an emphasis on the obliques. Your chest, shoulders and arms are also engaged.
Your core stabilizes your hips as you pull the dumbbell overhead.
How To Do A Plank and Dumbbell Open to T
Center your dumbbell on the mat between your hands. Start in high plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
Hold plank and grab the dumbbell with your right hand. Flex your core and open into a side plank as you pull the dumbbell overhead with your right hand. Hold this position for a moment as your body mimics a sideways “T” shape. Hips high and obliques turned on.
With control, return the dumbbell back to the mat as you return to the starting position.
Repeat, alternating the hand that grabs the dumbbell and pulls overhead.
Modification: Perform the high plank from your knees and perform the side plank with your knee on the mat. Option to do this as a bodyweight ab exercise instead of a weighted ab exercise.
Center your dumbbell between your feet and start in a low squat position, feet hip-width apart, knees driving out towards toes, aiming to get your thighs parallel to the ground. Hold for a second, then plant your hands on the mat and hop back to a high plank position, hands are framing your dumbbell.
Hold high plank, shoulders over wrists, core engaged, tailbone tucked. Hold for just a moment.
Hop your feet up to meet your hands (landing in a low squat position). As you land in a low squat, grab the dumbbell. Then, explode up (option to jump) as you pull the dumbbell up along your body as though performing a deadlift.
Land softly in a low squat position, set the dumbbell back on the ground and repeat.
Modification: Option to omit the dumbbell pick up. Take this at your pace – you can make this low impact by stepping in and standing tall rather than jumping.
4 Reverse Grip Back Rows and 4 Bicep Curls
Targets: The lower back and upper back (specifically the lats and rhomboids) as well as the bicep muscles.
How To Do 4 Reverse Grip Back Rows and 4 Bicep Curls
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Grip a pair of dumbbells in your hands, palms facing out (reverse grip).
Hinge at the hips until your chest is parallel to the floor.
Pull the dumbbells back towards your hips, performing a bent over row. Feel your shoulder blades squeeze together.
With control, slowly lower the dumbbells back to starting position. Repeat for four reverse grip back rows.
Then, stand tall and squeeze your bicep muscles to curl the weights up to shoulder-height as you exhale, performing a standard bicep curl. Repeat for four bicep curls.
Curtsy Lunge and Bicep Curl and Squat
Targets: Legs, glutes, quads, hamstrings, biceps and core.
How To Do A Curtsy Lunge and Bicep Curl and Squat
Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold a set of dumbbells in your hands, palms facing in towards your body.
Step your left leg back into a curtsy lunge (left knee behind right calf), left knee lowers towards the mat. Lower your hips until both knees reach a 90-degree angle, front thigh parallel to the floor.
At the bottom of the curtsy lunge, perform a standard bicep curl by flipping the palms out so they’re facing away from you, then curling the weights up to shoulder height with control.
Slowly lower the weights back down, then squeeze your right glute, driving your back, left leg forward as you stand up. As you stand, bring your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart.
Then, lower down into a squat position, lowering your hips down parallel with your knees. Drive your knees out toward your outer three toes.
Drive through your heels to stand tall, squeezing your glutes.
That’s one rep. Repeat, stepping the left leg back into a curtsy lunge this entire set. Switch legs on the next set.
Modification: Option to omit the bicep curl.
Dumbbell Pullover and Alternating Leg Lower
Targets: The lats (latissimus dorsi), lower abs, pelvic floor and deep transverse abdominal abs.
How To Do A Dumbbell Pullover and Alternating Leg Lower
Lay flat on your back, holding one or two dumbbells in your hands with arms extended overhead (one dumbbell horizontally or two dumbbells vertically).
Extend your legs straight up so they’re parallel with your arms, slight bend in the knees, feet are flexed.
With a slight bend in the elbows, slowly lower the dumbbells overhead towards the ground. Range of motion will look different for everyone, but you should try to keep your low back pressed into the mat/ground.
As you lower the dumbbells towards the ground, keep your low back pressed into the mat and brace your core as you slowly lower your right heel towards the mat.
Engage the lats as you exhale and pull the dumbbells back overhead, raising the right foot back up to meet the left foot as well. Think of pulling your armpits down towards your hips to return back to the starting position.
Repeat, alternating the leg that lowers to the ground.
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