In and Out in 20: INTENSE Cross-Training Circuit Routine When You’re Pressed For Time

You want to look like a lean, mean, fit athlete? We'll you better start training like a lean, mean, and fit athlete.

It’s Friday…for a lot of you the week is pretty much over and you’ve already begun switching into weekend-mode…even as you read this from your desk at work.  That’s all well and good and I don’t blame you for wanting to check out early….but do yourself a favor and don’t forget about your fitness the way you did about the cover sheets on your damn TPS reports.

Being that it’s Friday, I think something short, sweet, and intense will do the trick today.  I actually created this two cross-training circuit a couple of months ago and ran through it at the gym last night.  This workout is intense and will do wonders for your endurance as well as helping you get a nice muscle burn going.  As I often preach, if you want to look like an athlete, you’ve got to train like an athlete.  This athletic conditioning circuit is perfect for those wanting to break from their standard routine and add a little variety to their workouts. 

Do your best to complete all 10 rounds of the circuit in under 20-30 minutes.


The Workout

Rounds 1-5

  • Barbell Squat/Front Press x 10 reps – Holding a barbell at shoulder level squat down and as you rise, push the barbell up and over your head, extending arms fully. 
  • Plated Box Jumps x 10 reps
  • Plank Rows x 16 reps
  • Barbell Curls x 10 reps
  • Jump Rope 1 minute

Aim to perform all five exercises in a row without rest.  After the 5th exercise rest for 30 seconds.  Repeat the circuit a total of 5 times.  At the end of the 5th round give yourself a full two minutes of rest time.

Rounds 6-10

  • Hindu Push Ups x 10 reps
  • Barbell Box Jumps x 10 reps – With the barbell behind your neck perform box jumps. 
  • Curl Press x 8 reps per arm  – Bicep curl into an overhead press.  Perform one arm at a time.
  • Mountain Climbers x 30 reps

This routine is extremely effective in that it utilizes aspects of plyometrics, standard weight training, and traditional cardio to give you an all around total body burnout.  Cross-training in this fashion is a fantastic way to develop a lean physique and an athletic skill set.  Whether you complete in athletics or not is not the point.  By becoming more athletic you’ll be able to function better in real life and protect yourself from injuries that often afflict other, less agile and fit individuals. 

Bonus Work

If you’re feeling especially motivated (as I was yesterday) go for a little bonus work at the end of this workout.

  • 200 crunches in as few sets as possible.  I was able to knock these out in 4 sets…see if you can top that.
  • 200 push ups in as few sets as possible.  For these it took me 5 sets to complete…give it your best shot and try to do it in 4 sets!

Keep in mind this is just one type of cross-training conditioning workout.  There are countless other programs that can be designed using cross-training methodologies that will help you achieve the physique and health you’re after.  Always look to mix things up and head over to if you’re ever looking for more routines, both video and text-based or assistance from our staff of health and fitness professionals.


8 thoughts on “In and Out in 20: INTENSE Cross-Training Circuit Routine When You’re Pressed For Time”

  1. I know this post is older, but I’m following the Level-Up workout routine, and just did this step today. Here are my modifications if any other beginners are interested:
    1. I used 10 lb. dumbbells instead of the bar for the squats and box jumps. Personally could have gone a little heavier but wanted to make sure my form was good
    2. Instead of a plate for the box jumps, I held a dumbbell at chest level with both hands on the bar portion of it.
    3. As soon as my body couldn’t handle any more dive-bombers with good form (“hindu pushups”), I switched to regular/modified pushups to finish out the set
    4. For the second circuit box jumps, I upped my dumbbell weight to 15. Still could have gone heavier, but I will next time.

    I also thought about stepping up and stepping back down on the box in case my knees started to hurt instead of straight up box jumps, but thankfully didn’t need to. Not sure if it works the same muscles but it might be worth noting as another possible modification.

    Matt, please chime in if you have better ideas! It was a great workout and I’m excited for when I’m strong enough to add some more weight.

    1. That actually looks like a pretty good variation to the original workout. I think the most important thing (and something we all neglect) is to start keeping a journal or even a Google doc spreadsheet that shows how heavy/fast you’re completing certain exercises and/or routines. This will help you continually push yourself to go harder and/or heavier. Keep up the good work!

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