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The Intense Cardio Circuit Workout for Those Short on Time

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Let's face it: Life can be hectic sometimes. With going to work, picking up the kids, and running errands, you don’t always have time for a full workout. So how can you get an intense cardio circuit workout when you’re short on time? By combining body parts in a total body circuit, or through pairing opposite muscle groups together in a superset (when one set of an exercise is performed directly after a set of a different exercise without rest between them), you can conquer your workout in as little as 15 to 20 minutes. You might also add active rest (which involves lighter exercises that stimulate the recovery process) in between strength training to ramp up the calorie burn. Here is an example of intense cardio circuit workouts combining these ideas:

Total Body/Active Rest Circuit:

Squats: Execute 25 squats

Technique tip: Keep your thighs parallel to the floor; do not let the knees travel over your ankles.

Jump Rope: Count 100 rotations

Pushups: Start with a set of 12–15

Technique tip: Keep your core tight throughout the movement. Arms should remain directly under the shoulders. Beginners can begin with their knees on the ground. For a more challenging pushup, try stacking your feet or elevating them.

Jump Rope: Count 100 rotations

Dumbbell Shoulder Press: Start with a set of 12–15

Technique tip: Keep the palms facing outward; press upward as if you are trying to form the top of the letter “A” with your arms.

Jump Rope: Count 100 rotations

1-Arm Dumbbell Row: 1 x 12–15

Technique tip: Always keep a flat back with a tight core; pull with that lateral muscle, not the arms.

Jump Rope: Count 100 rotations

Dumbbell Curl: 1 x 12–15

Technique tip: Make this a slow and controlled movement; do not swing the weight upward.

Jump Rope: Count 100 rotations

Crunches x 25

Technique tip: Knees should be bent, feet flat on the floor. Exhale as you crunch upward and squeeze at the top of the movement.

Repeat this circuit 3 to 6 times.

If some of these seem too challenging, start at a level you are comfortable with. For instance, you can drop the repetitions, increase the rest, or cut the number of rounds. These are just examples of intense cardio circuits. If you are unsure how to put together your own, a personal trainer can assist you. Above all, be safe, have fun, and make the workout your own!

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