Forget running – build leg strength and burn calories with this bodyweight workout

It may be simple, but it will test you

Man performing bodyweight squat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Everyone may be lacing up their running shoes and learning to run a 5K right now, but that doesn't mean you have to. Yes, running may be one of the best forms of cardio to crunch calories and help you lose weight, but if it's not for you then there's other options out there, like this speedy six-move circuit. It may not require any equipment, but we can guarantee it'll get your heart racing. 

Circuit training provides an effective cardio workout as exercises are performed with little to no rest in between, boosting your heart health, lung capacity and endurance. They also work multiple muscles coherently, known as compound exercises which, also elevate your heart rate, helping burn lots of calories. But they're also great for building strength, coordination and balance, which is exactly what this workout will do.

While it may not be running, this workout still requires some hard work and sweat. Complete the five exercises below for five reps each and do five rounds of the workout in total. The aim is to complete this as quickly as possible, so you'll need to be strategic in how you do it. We suggest performing the five exercises back to back, followed by a 30 second rest in between each round, or completing each exercise with a 10 second rest in between. Make it work for you, but try not to make your rests too long as you want you heart rate to remain high to burn lots of calories. Here's your exercises:

  • 5 squats
  • 5 sit ups
  • 5 burpees
  • 5 push ups
  • 5 jump squats
  • 5 V sit ups (try toe taps if this is too hard)

If this is too easy, then why not make it more challenging and add in some extra resistance? You could use a backpack, add some dumbbells or even a kettlebell, all of which will boost strength and muscle. If, however, you're looking for a similar challenge to this one, try this four-move bodyweight workout from CrossFit athlete Lauren Fisher, or this 20 minute full-body workout.

Bryony Firth-Bernard
Staff Writer, Active

Bryony’s T3’s official ‘gym-bunny’ and Active Staff Writer, covering all things fitness. In her spare time, you will find her in her natural habitat - the gym - where her style of training is a hybrid of bodybuilding and powerlifting. Bryony loves writing about accessible workouts, nutrition and testing innovative fitness products that help you reach your fitness goals and take your training to the next level.