Tip: The Smartest Way to Do Circuit Training

Hit every major muscle group and train every movement pattern with this unique and challenging full-body workout.

Elimination Circuit With Climbing Reps

This is almost like a game. You create a circuit of 5 exercises covering the whole body. They all have to be big movements:

  • 1 squat variation
  • 1 horizontal press (barbell or dumbbell bench/incline)
  • 1 hip hinge variation (any deadlift, Olympic lift variation, etc.)
  • 1 vertical press (barbell or dumbbell military/push press)
  • 1 pull (pull-up, chin-up, row)

Do all these exercises as a circuit. You're allowed 60 seconds (beginners), 45 seconds (intermediate), or 30 seconds (advanced) between stations. Use approximately 60% of your 1RM for each lift.

Start your first round doing 5 reps on each exercise. When you've completed a round of the circuit, add one rep per exercise while keeping the same weight:

  • Round 1: 5 reps per exercise
  • Round 2: 6 reps per exercise
  • Round 3: 7 reps per exercise
  • Round 4: 8 reps per exercise

You'll be perfectly fine adding one rep per round up to about 8 reps. At that point, fatigue will build up. On some exercises you might not be able to add another rep. When you can't complete the required number of reps on an exercise, drop it from the rotation and continue on.

What happens then is that you get less rest between individual exercises, which will invariably cause you to drop another exercise from the rotation. Continue in this manner until you have no exercises left in the rotation. Then go dip your head into an ice bucket.

Note: The problem with most circuits is that they require you to use several stations in a crowded gym. With this one, you can set up almost every exercise in a single power rack. Most racks have pull-up bars across the top. You may need to roll a bench in and out of the rack during your rest periods and use a couple of bars, but it's doable.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.