I Tried Cindy Crawford's Circuit Training Workout — and Wow, Was It Hard
My creativity falls flat when it comes to circuit training. I never know what exercises to pair together to create a well-rounded, full-body workout that I don't ditch halfway through for the treadmill (because I'm bored out of my mind), and actually makes me sweat. No, I haven't mastered circuit training yet, but luckily, Cindy Crawford’s trainer, Sarah Hagaman has.
Hagaman, who just teamed up to work with Crawford on her new nutrition product and wellness platform, Ladder, has been training the supermodel on full-body circuit-based programs for over a decade. What Hagaman says is ideal about circuit training is that it really allow you to work around a busy schedule. For example, if you don't have time split up your workouts into different muscle groups throughout the week, you can perform a circuit that works the entire body using different modalities, like free weights, medicine balls, spri bars, as well as cardio.
"If I’ve seen her [Crawford] three days a week, which sometimes schedule permits, we might break up the workouts more specific, hitting lower body and shoulders today and then we’re going to hit back and biceps and really focus on core and stability work on Wednesday," Hagaman says. "It’s a really great thing for readers to look at. What time do I have this week? Do I need to do a full-body workout because I only have time to hit the gym twice?"
Since I completely and totally blank when it comes to circuit training, I asked Hagaman to share one of the go-to circuits she does with Crawford for me to test. You can check out the exact circuit (and my thoughts) below. Before getting started, Hagaman let me know that all I'd need was a set of dumbbells and a mat.
Warm up activities: repeat twice
- 5 inchworms
- 10 plank walk ups (from plank position come down to forearms and then back up to palms)
- 20 forward lunges (10 each leg)
Timed activities: One minute for each exercise
- Single leg standing curl (hold leg up in front for balance while curling 8–15 lb. dumbbells (30 seconds each leg). Make sure elbows are in and dumbbells come down all the way before you bring them back up.
- Side lunge to balance with one dumbbell. Dumbbell is in the opposite hand of the leg that is lunging and travels with you as you lunge, and returns and you push back to starting position.
- Tricep dips (off bench, a chair, or even mat).
- Plank shoulder taps (make sure hips are not moving as you slowly tap fingers across chest to shoulder).
- Curtsy squat with one dumbbell alternating left and right leg.
- Hamstring bridge position and tricep skull crushers. As you extend arms from 90 degrees to straight, squeeze hips up and down.
- Sit-up to dumbbell chest press. This is both abs and chest. Do one arm for 30 seconds and the other for 30 seconds.
- Oblique twists. Take dumbbells side-to-side with feet planted on ground for lower back support.
- Ab scissor (slowly alternate straight legs making a scissor. If needed place hands under lower back for support).
- Plank with alternating slow knee tuck.
Cardio burst or stairs interval
1. 30 seconds jacks.
2. 30 seconds mountain climbers.
3. 30 seconds runner's hop (same leg that lunges back hops up).
So my thoughts? I tried it out one afternoon when I just didn't feel like going for a run. Reading through the exercises, I didn't think it was going to be that challenging. But, for the record, actually performing an exercise for 60 seconds feels more like five years. After my first circuit, I was already glistening with sweat.
I took longer to go through the first round because I was stopping to read and understand the exercises, but halfway through my second round, I memorized the order and moved through each exercise with more fluidity. And, do not be fooled by the 30-second cardio burst moves at the end. Those runner's hops are brutal.
The flow of the workouts meant my brain was active the entire time, and boredom didn't take over like I thought it would. The entire full-body workout — with pauses for reading — probably took me close to 45 minutes.
While I don't have enough workout knowledge to switch-up the circuit myself, I know this is one I can count on when things are feeling super mundane. Or, of course, when less than an hour is all the time I've got.