Apartment Living BlogFitness & Style › A Do-It-Anywhere High-Intensity Workout!

Tired of logging hours on the elliptical machine at your apartment complex’s gym? Bored with your weight routine but still want to get your body summer-ready? High-intensity circuit training is the ticket to busting boredom and reducing workout time all while getting great results. There are indeed innumerable workout plans and fancy equipment available to train your body, but some of the best, easiest and most effective exercises can be accomplished with just your own bodyweight. By combining high-intensity cardio moves with resistance exercises in a fast and cyclical pattern, you can burn fat, tone muscle and get healthy all in the comfort of your own apartment!

This cardio and strength circuit consists of 10 exercises done consecutively in 10 rounds of decreasing repetitions. Pick a number of repetitions to start; I suggest 10. Perform 10 repetitions of each exercise, moving quickly from one to the next without a break. Once you reach the last exercise (bicycle crunches), take a short break and start again.

On the next round, perform nine repetitions of each exercise, again moving quickly through the exercises. Once finished and after a short break, move quickly through the list again, this time performing eight repetitions of each exercise. Continue decreasing by one repetition each round. Your final round should be one repetition of each of the 10 exercises. Stop there or repeat the circuit again, depending on your time, exhaustion and fitness level!

A few helpful tips:

  • The key to keeping your heart rate high is moving quickly from one exercise to the next. Don’t dawdle between exercises or rounds.
  • This workout does require you to count and keep track of what repetition and round you are on. I highly suggest counting out loud as you do each exercise to stay on track.
  • Don’t force yourself to memorize the exercises. Write or print the list of exercises out on a piece of paper in large type and place it in front of you. When you finish one exercise, quickly glance at the paper to see the next. After the first few rounds, you will likely have the routine memorized.
  • While you don’t need any equipment for this circuit, a mat or towel may make the bicycle crunches more comfortable, and a coffee table or chair will make the triceps dips more effective.
  • This workout is deceivingly intense. After the first round, you may feel fine, but halfway through the 10 rounds, exhaustion will kick in. If you need to reduce the intensity of the workout, start with six or eight repetitions of each exercise instead of 10.
  • As you get more fit (or if you need the workout to be more difficult to begin with), start with 12 or 15 repetitions of each exercises and work down to one. This will make for a longer and more intense workout.
  • This workout is not intended for every day. I recommend doing it one or two times per week as a complement to an established cardio and weight training regimen.
  • After several sessions of completing this workout, you may get bored with the specific exercises. You can easily swap out the exercises on the list while keeping the overall countdown repetition structure the same.


Cardio+Resistance Pyramid Circuit

  1. Jumping Jacks
  2. Squats
  3. High Knees (R+L = 1)
  4. Alternating Lunges (R+L = 1)
  5. Wide Ski Jumps (R+L = 1)
  6. Triceps Dips
  7. Squat Jumps
  8. Push-Ups
  9. Ballet Squat Jumps
  10. Bicycle Crunches

Jumping Jacks: Jump out (a) and in (b) with both feet at the same time, swinging your arms overhead as you jump out. (Out + in = 1 jumping jack)

Squats: With your feet shoulder-width apart (a), sit your hips back as low as you can without letting your knees extend past your toes (b). (Down + up = 1 squat)

High Knees: Bring your right knee toward your chest, then switch knees by jumping slightly off the ground. Alternate in a jumping/running fashion, getting your knees as high as you can. (Right knee + left knee = 1 repetition)

Alternating Lunges: Starting with your feet together (a), step one foot backward, bending both knees to 90 degrees and ensuring your back heel is up and your front knee stays above your front heel (b). Hold for a brief second, then bring your feet back together. Repeat on the other side. Hold onto a counter or chair to keep your balance as necessary. (Right lunge + left lunge = 1 repetition)

Wide Ski Jumps: Bend your knees (a) and jump (b) as far as you can to the right (c), then as far as you can to the left, keeping your feet together at all times. Pretend you are skiing slaloms and focus on gaining greater distance between jumps rather than height. (Jump to the right + jump to the left = 1 repetition)

Triceps Dips: Sit on a chair or coffee table with your hands to your sides, fingers pointing forward and knees at 90 degrees. Slide your hips off the chair, keeping your hands in place and arms straight (a). Bend your elbows to 90 degrees (b) and then straighten. Focus on your elbows bending rather than your hips sinking. (Down + up = 1 repetition)

Squat Jumps: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointing straight forward. Sit your hips back as far as you can while keeping your knees over your toes (a). From the bottom of the squat, propel yourself into the air until your feet leave the ground (b). Return to the ground and settle immediately back into a squat before jumping again. (Squat + jump = 1 repetition)

Push-Ups: On the floor, place your hands just wider than your shoulders and support the rest of your body either on your knees (easier) or your toes (harder) (a). Bend your elbows to 90 degrees, lowing your chest to the floor (b). Keep your head in alignment by looking straight at the floor as you lower and lift. (Down + up = 1 repetition)

Ballet Squat Jumps: This is the same motion as the Squat Jump (see above), but this time your toes are pointed outward (a) and your hips go straight down instead of back (b) before you jump into the air (c). (Squat + jump = 1 repetition)

Bicycle Crunches: Laying on your back, bring both knees to your chest and push your lower back into the floor (a). Lower one leg straight toward the ground as you cross the opposite elbow to the knee closest to your chest (b). Switch the legs and the elbows to complete one repetition (c). Take care to not let your lower back lift off the floor; raise the extended leg higher into the air to make the exercise easier as necessary (d). (Right + left = 1 repetition)

Getting a great workout doesn’t require fancy equipment or hours at a hot, crowded gym. By completing a variety of exercises in a quick fashion, you can achieve a top-notch workout anywhere you have the space! For other apartment-friendly workouts, check out five easy exercises you can do in your apartment, as well as our apartment-friendly leg workout!

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About :

Hi, I'm Megan...wife to a U.S. Marine and mom to a high-energy baby boy! We are a military family, moving into our 5th home in 8 years! I started this blog as a way to chronicle the various "homes I have made" over the years, as well as to be a resource for ideas, tips, and tricks for making any temporary space a cute, cozy and comfortable home! I hope you'll stay a minute, take a look around, introduce yourself, and hopefully...find something you like! Have a great day!

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  1. These really kicked my butt. Thank you!! ???

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