We’ve all been there, a first timer at the gym, looking around and unsure of what to do. In Part 1 of my article, I taught you to master the basics. Now it’s time to put them to the test.

Wipe away those fears because with this circuit based workout, you’ll be looking like a pro in the gym.

Circuit based workout

45 seconds exercise, 15 seconds rest (increase rest if needed).

1. Press Ups

Works the pectoral muscle, deltoids and triceps. Place your hands shoulder width apart and in-line with your chest. Lie on the floor and then use your arms to push yourself into the air. Pause and then lower yourself right back down to almost floor level. That is one press up.

2. DB Goblet Squat

Stand in the squat position with a fairly heavy dumbbell held in between your two hands, the dumbbell should be sideways with your hands grabbing one end as if you would hold the rounded part of a goblet (hence the name).

Then you squat down until your quads are past parallel, pause, and raise yourself back up. Due to where you are holding the dumbbell you will have to keep your chest up and shoulders back or the weight will fall forward, this will prevent you from squatting with poor posture.

Continue using this version until you have successfully corrected your technique, then you can progress to barbell back squats.

Goblet squats are also a great warm up for squats or an awesome leg exercise in their own right.

3. DB Romanian Deadlifts

Start with dumbbells at hip height whilst standing upright, your feet should be in a narrow stance with toes facing forward (unlike a normal deadlift stance where toes are facing slightly out).

Push your hips back (like you would when reversing a normal deadlift) and bring your chest forward towards the floor as if you were about to perform a bent-over row.

Keep your back as straight as possible and make sure you don’t round your shoulders. Continue to lower the bar until your hamstrings start screaming, this probably won’t be too far, don’t worry this is natural. Begin to raise yourself back up through thrusting your hips forward, breathing out as you do so.

When lowering the bar you can have your legs very slightly bent, but keep your shins vertical. The Romanian Deadlift places more emphasis on hamstrings and Gluteals, less emphasis (none) on quadriceps

4. DB Bent Over Row

Mostly works the muscles in your upper and middle back (Trapezius muscles, Infraspinatus, Teres Major/Minor), also works the lats, deltoids, and biceps to some degree.

Hold the dumbbells with an overhand grip, chest out, shoulders back, with your knees slightly bent. Then lean forward (45 degree angle) and stick your butt out.

The dumbbells should be in line with your knees and your chest should be directly over them. Pull the dumbbells towards the upper part of your abdomen, pause, and then lower them back towards your knees.

5. DB Step Ups

Some people find lunges very difficult, this can be due to a lack of coordination, poor balance or bad ankles.

Whatever the reason, step ups are an excellent replacement.

Almost everyone can step up without difficulty, and the exercise works the exact same muscles (Quadriceps and Gluteals) as the lunge. Win/Win.

Grab a pair of dumbbells and find something shorter than knee height that you can use to step up to. Place one leg on the step and use it to lift yourself up until you are standing on the step. Lower yourself back down keeping the same leg glued to the step and repeat for the desired amount of reps. Then swap legs.

To increase difficulty you can either increase the height of the step, or increase the weight of the dumbbells used.

Make sure the step isn’t too high though, you need to be able to have both feet flat at the start of the movement. Watch out for bouncing off the back foot between reps.

6. DB Overhead Press

Works the deltoid muscle group, whilst also hitting the triceps and the pectoralis major.

Stand upright holding the dumbbells in front of you at shoulder height, push your elbows slightly forward and push your chest out.

Try to prevent curving your back whilst pressing the weights above your head, make sure that the dumbbells finish directly above your head rather than in front of it. Return dumbbells to your chest and then repeat.

7. Plank Get Ups

Start in the plank position, then one arm at a time raise yourself into the press up position (both hands flat on the ground rather than your forearms), once you are in the press up position return to the plank position one arm at a time. That is one rep.

Good cardio exercise as well as a quality ab exercise. Repeat 2-3 times.

Give this circuit based workout a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments down below. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing No. 2 of my best gym workouts: Strength Based Workout. 

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
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