Circuits are one of the best, most efficient workouts—plus, you can do them in your own backyard. They keep your body guessing as opposed to something like running where you are doing the same thing at the same pace all the time (although running can play a big part in your overall fitness goals). Circuits also allow you to hit a lot of different muscle areas, and you won’t get bored doing them as long as you change up what exercises you include.
A circuit workout is a handful of exercises you do for a set amount of time or reps, doing one then moving along to the next one. Your coach might have had you do a similar workout before, setting up different stations in the gym. You can include three to five exercises and do the whole circuit two or three times, or you can include nine to 15 exercises and go through the whole thing once. Make sure to pick a variety of exercises, like a leg exercise followed by an arm exercise, then abs or cardio rather than three leg exercise in a row.
Here are some exercise ideas to choose from:
- Side planks
- Plank variations (side plank dips; planks with one leg in the air; front planks bringing one leg out to the side, then the other, etc.)
- Ab twists (Grab something from your kitchen or garage if you want to add weight, like a big, unopened bag of flour—just make sure to return it in one piece.)
- Leg raises (Lying on your back, raise both legs, all the way to 90 degrees or stopping them at about 45 degrees, then lower them back down, raising them again just before they touch the ground.)
- Scissor kicks
- Flutter kicks
- Jump lunges
- Calf raises
- Rim jumps (Pretend you are beneath a basketball hoop. Jump up on both feet, reaching to try to hit the imaginary rim. Land lightly, then go right back up again.)
- Skaters/Side slides
- Body weight squats
- Jump squats
- Two-legged jumps (for distance, not height, bending your knees to load up more than you would for the rim jumps)
- Wall sits
- One-leg hops (Jump on one leg for half the time, then switch, or find a line on your porch or driveway and jump back and forth over it, then side to side over it, then switch legs.)
- Single-leg squats (Put one leg on a bench or chair and the other out in front of you in a lunge position, then go down and back up like in a regular squat.)
- Shoulder raises (Grab cans of food or something heavy to use as dumbbells if you don’t have any available.)
- Pushup variations (Set your hands at different widths to target different areas, put your feet on a chair or bench, or do plyometric pushups where you push yourself up and clap in between each pushup.)
- Overhead press (Find something weighted to push over your head, like a can of beans in each hand or a piece of wood you find in your backyard.)
- Many of the exercises in other categories double as arm workouts, like planks and burpees.
- Jumping jacks
- High knees
- Lines (Set objects in your lawn to run to.)
- Jump rope
- Many of the exercises in other categories double as cardio, like one-leg hops and jump lunges.
Here is a sample circuit workout, choosing items from the lists above:
(30 second stations)
- Jump lunges
- Jump rope
- Wall sit
- Ab twists
- Jumping jacks
(Repeat three times)
- Add music! This will make it more fun, distract you a little bit from the burn when you have to hold a plank or wall sit for 10 more seconds, and motivate you to go harder.
- Don’t overdo it. The point of summer workouts is to maintain your fitness level from last season and get a good starting point for next season so you can jump right into your skills without having to start from zero on conditioning. This isn’t the time to push yourself to the point of injury. Remember that you might not feel how hard the workout was until the next day, so don’t add more just because you don’t feel exhausted yet. Start with one or two sets or lower time and reps, then add more the next time. It’s better to be safe then sorry—especially when it comes to off-season workouts.
- Recruit friends. This makes it more fun and will set your whole team up for a great season.