Quick and Dirty Strength and Cardio Circuit Workout

This strength and cardio circuit workout is perfect for those days when you want to work all the muscles in your body with a quick, efficient workout. The variety of cardio and compound exercises will engage all your muscles, including your core and stabilizer muscles for an effective total body workout.

By doing everything in a circuit format, you'll keep the heart rate elevated throughout the workout so you burn more calories both during and after your workout. By using a medicine ball, you'll add even more intensity, so you're done in less time.


See your doctor if you have any medical injuries, illnesses or conditions.

Equipment Needed: 

A medicine ball, various weighted dumbbells

How To Do the Strength and Cardio Circuit Workout

  • Warm up with 5-10 minutes of any cardio activity
  • Perform each exercise one after the other for the suggested time
  • Try not to rest between exercises unless you're very winded
  • Repeat the circuit 1-3 times, depending on your fitness level and time constraints
  • Skip any exercises that cause pain or discomfort

Knee Lifts with Med Ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Hold a light medicine ball or weight straight up overhead, abs braced and back straight.

Lift the right knee up to waist level while bringing the arms down, touching the medicine ball to the knee.

Return to start and repeat on the left side.

Alternate knees and repeat for 60 seconds. 


Squats With an Overhead Press

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Begin with feet about a little wider than hip-distance apart and hold medium weights just over the shoulders.

  1. Squat as low as you can, keeping the abs in and the knees behind the toes. You don't have to go all the way down to the floor, just as low as you can. Make sure you're sending the hips back and keeping the torso upright.
  2. Push into the heels to stand up while pushing the weights overhead.
  3. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Squat With Med Ball Toss

Medicine Ball Squat, Dribble and Toss

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball.

  1. Squat as low as you can, sending the hips back and keeping the abs contract. Either dribble the ball, if your ball bounces or, if it doesn't, touch the ball to the floor.
  2. Stand up and either press or toss the weight overhead.
  3. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Wide Squat With a Biceps Curl

Stand in a wide stance, toes out at about a 45-degree angle. Hold weights in both hands with the palms facing in.

  1. Bend the knees and lower into a squat, taking care to make sure the knees follow the same line as the toes.
  2. Press into the heels to stand up and, at the same time, curl the weights up towards the shoulders in a hammer curl.
  3. Lower and repeat for 60 seconds.


Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand with legs wide, arms straight out to the sides and parallel to the floor.

  1. Bend the right knee into a side lunge and bring the left arm down towards the foot.
  2. Repeat on the other side, lunging from side to side and bringing opposite arm towards each foot.
  3. Repeat for 60 seconds.

The faster you go and the lower you lunge, the harder it is.



Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Get into a pushup position, hands just wider than shoulders and resting on the toes or the knees, if you need a modification.

  1. Bend the elbow and lower into a pushup, going as low as you can or until chin touches the floor.
  2. Push up and repeat for 30 seconds.
  3. Rest briefly and complete another 30 seconds.

Squat Circle Medicine Ball

Verywell / Ben Goldstein


Stand holding a medicine ball near the right hip.

  1. Step out with the left leg into a squat as you circle the ball all the way around until it's next to the left hip.
  2. Step back, circling the ball back to the same hip.
  3. Repeat for 30-60 seconds on each side.

Seated Triceps Extensions

Tricep extension

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Sit on a chair, bench or ball and hold a heavy dumbbell in both hands.

  1. Keeping the abs braced and the back straight, take the weight straight up overhead.
  2. Bend the elbows and lower the weight behind you until the elbows are at about 90-degree angles.
  3. Press the weight back up and repeat for 60 seconds.

Front Kick With Squat

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Stand with a bit wider than hip-width apart, arms up in front of you in a guard position.

  1. Lower into a squat, going as low as you can. As you Press back up, bring the right knee up and extend the leg in a front kick. Avoid locking the knee.
  2. Bring the right foot down and immediately lower into a squat. The stand and kick with the left foot.
  3. Continue alternating squats and kicks for 60 seconds.

Crunches With a Heel Push

Verywell / Ben Goldstein

Lie down on the floor, knees bent and the feet flexed. Gently cradle the head in both hands to provide support for the neck.

  1. Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor at the same time you push into the floor with the heals.
  2. Repeat for 60 seconds.

Total Workout Time: 10-15 minutes 

Repeat 2 or more times for a longer workout.

By Paige Waehner, CPT
Paige Waehner is a certified personal trainer, author of the "Guide to Become a Personal Trainer," and co-author of "The Buzz on Exercise & Fitness."