Intense Gym Circuit Workout | Barbell and Body Weight Exercises

by Marianne  - February 26, 2012

Hi everyone,

I think it’s important to change the way you train in the gym sometimes. It can be very tempting to stick to what you always do (which is fine if you are in the middle of a program), but for me I sometimes love being instinctive and just going a bit crazy with the amount I squeeze into one gym session.

Yesterday I ended up doing a circuit-style workout with compound lifts, followed by 30 mins steady-pace cardio (when I got to zone out and think about some stuff). Β I decided, rather than complete all 3 sets of an exercise then move on to the next, I would complete Set 1 of a bunch of exercises in a row, then return to the first exercise for Set/round 2 etc. Β Then I added 2 more exercises in at the end to complete my workout. Β It was a little random, and I wasn’t able to film all exercises, but the video below shows the order of my workout. Β It lasted about 45mins and then I did my cardio.

The Workout

I did the following (in this order):

  1. Chin-Ups x 7 reps
  2. Deadlifts: 70kg x 8 reps
  3. Front Squat: 40kg x 10 reps
  4. Chin-Ups x 7 reps
  5. Deadlifts: 80kg x 5 reps
  6. Front Squat: 50kg x 5 reps (2 more than last week)
  7. Chin-Ups x 6 reps (wanted to get 7, but stopped)
  8. Deadlifts: 90kg x 3 singles (Form not as strong at this weight – it’s been a while since I have done DLs)
  9. Front Squats: 55kg x 2 reps (not in video because people in the way)
  10. Glute Bridge: 90kg x 12 reps (not shown)
  11. Glute Bridge: 100kg x 12 reps
  12. Glute Bridge: 100kg x 12 reps
  13. Dips x 10 reps (not shown)
  14. Dips x 12 reps (surprised I managed more on my second set with only a few minutes recovery πŸ˜€ )

You can see that I did quite a lot! When I get fired up, I just keep on going.

How I chose my reps: I basically went to just below failure, which is why the reps seem a bit random. I know how much to push myself in most exercises. I am still being careful with my front squats, but I did notice some improvement. I was disappointed with my deadlifts, but I can’t expect to improve at everything all the time. Β I will do this same workout next week and see if I improve any further.

On another day you could try the following:

  1. Front Loaded Reverse Lunges
  2. RDLs / Good-Mornings
  3. Push Ups / Bench Press / Barbell Military Press / Push Press
  4. Seated Cable Rows / Barbell Bent Over Rows
  5. Hanging Leg Raises / Barbell Roll-Outs
  6. Some Glute Bridges (I see these as mandatory LOL)

Just some ideas.

Hope you are all having a great weekend, and I will be back soon with a new Home Workout!




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  1. Hi Marianne,
    Loving your website and your work. I really enjoyed seeing you work at the gym and it’s nice to see things being done in a different way… I’m a physiotherapist with a background in exercise science, I think what you are doing for women is an awesome thing! I spend most of my day encouraging the ladies to lift!
    Just trying to piece together how you would plan your workout for a week – I generally strength train 5 days per week with one HIIT circuit (that I teach) a week. I’m slack on cardio but probably should do more. Just wondered how you organise it for yourself? I’d like to include a work out such as this as well.
    Anyway, well done again! Jess

    1. Hey Jess! Sorry it took me a while to get to your question.

      I have a confession … I rarely make a plan :/ But what I am going to do is write a weekly training journal on here so everyone can see what I do. Normally I aim for 2 strength sessions per week (in the gym) and 2 conditioning sessions. At the min I have been doing more HIIT cardio. I will write up a training journal as that will break things down further and include exercises.


  2. This is awesome! I love all the strength stuff. I am working on it myself and want to add more ‘mandatory’ bridging when I am able to go to the gym.
    My obstacle being that since I am not strong enough (yet!) to add a large plate onto the bar, I am having a hell of a time getting it on and off my body. I can’t roll it on and off like you do as there is not enough room. It is making me crazy!
    And for a home, do you think weighted jump squats is a good way to add some muscle onto my ‘chicken legs’? (LOL). I do a lot from home and don’t have a ton of weight to work with.

  3. Hi Marianne!

    I love this workout–these particular exercises have been my focus for a while, especially now that I can actually DO a chin up! Yay!
    I notice that you believe glute bridges should be mandatory–I feel exactly the same way. I have SI joint issues (don’t you as well?) and ever since I’ve started glute bridging I am pain-free. I love, love, love glute bridging (especially because you can really load up the bar and put all the men to shame around you!). Have you experineced pain relief as well? All I know is that if I start to feel any sort of deep ache, I hit the gym for glute bridges and all is well again. :):):)

    1. That’s great Jennifer! I too experience less back and SI pain since doing glute bridges, especially the barbell ones.

      And they are great for feeling badass πŸ˜‰

  4. Nice work I see you are kicking up the cardio. I have been doing the same, mostly running, now that it is getting warm outside.
    Won’t be hitting the gym hard anytime soon. I am sailing all next week and want to avoid being sore for that.
    hope to hit the gym when I return.


  5. Love the gym workout(s). Won’t be too long and we’ll have our cage or bench/squat rack so i’ll be able to do the Front Squats/lunges with the barbell! Yay! We just picked up more KBs this weekend too. (had only one of each 35# & 40#, now we have two each and can use those for front squats as well. Altho I have been using them for offset squats in the meantime.)

    Curious tho, what did you do for your 30min of cardio? We did a 40min Insanity cardio workout yesterday and realized I how much I need to keep those in the mix as well.


    1. I just did the boring old cross trainer, but it was good for my thinking πŸ™‚ I usually do the stair master, but that’s at another gym I go to!

      So jealous that you’re getting a cage at your house!

  6. Hey tough chick!

    I do something similiar to this, although I just call it “supersetting” my exercises. I know you said you don’t like a lot of structure with your exercise programming, but what style of training has helped you bump up the weight on your heaviest lifts? (bridges/squat?) I’ve been following a Wendler 5/3/1 program for the past.. Oh, forever now.. πŸ˜‰ Almost 8 months I’d say… I’ve made gains but they’re slow. I’m also wondering how you have energy to be at the gym that long! πŸ˜‰ I’m usually toast after all those heavy lifts! Do you eat a lot of carbohydrates/calories?

    Thanks, love what you do πŸ™‚

    1. Everything helps Jessica, but the bridges have helped everything come together. I wouldn’t say my numbers have got much better at my DLs, Squats etc but I haven’t been aiming for 1RMs lately. I have been focusing on getting more reps at lower weights. That seems to be helping me build a little more muscle and helping my form stay strong.

      As for my calorie/carb intake … I honestly do not know how much I eat :-/ All I know is that I don’t ever go hungry LOL and I snack a lot in my “feeding window”.

      1. Ahh.. Gotcha. πŸ™‚ I personally like to get my 1RM, I feel pretty badass when I can stack another weight plate on the bar. πŸ˜‰ Although, you can definitely see some aesthetic changes in you from when you first started compared to now, with more awareness on your execution. .. I actually read an article on T-Nation recently that suggested to get a muscle “big”, you should do a 5×10 protocol at 60% 1RM, then increase to 70%, and 80% by each subsequent month. Sounds BRUTAL!

        So .. you do intermittent fasting then? I’ve dabbled in it, did a 24hr fast once a week for a month, did the 16hr/8hr thing for awhile, but it actually felt more stressful to me. I just avoid grazing and eat until satisfied, paleo-style. πŸ™‚ You’ve gotten so lean though, I was wondering if you made any dietary changes! S’pose not? Thanks for the response πŸ™‚

        1. That does sound brutal! I am thinking more and more of introducing a program for a while to see if I can make more gains. I might try the 5/3/1 because I had a read and it sounds good.

          As for my diet, I actually haven’t made any changes and I don’t think I am leaner at all. In fact I think I look smoother and have probably gained a little weight and BF. But I can never really rely on how I see myself LOL! Perhaps its the extra cardio I had been doing. Thank you for saying so though πŸ™‚ A few weeks back when I did the Sexy Challenge from Bret’s site, I had to weigh myself and had lost a few lbs, but I am sure they are back on me now.


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