Workout Wednesday: 12-Minute Circuit

12 minutes, 3 exercises and 2 pieces of equipment for this fun, functional full-body circuit workout

You’ll need:

  • Jump rope

  • Yoga mat

Have you ever had one of those days where you just can’t gather the momentum for a workout? I have those days less and less as I deepen my understanding of the gift of moment and its incredible benefits for focus, creativity, energy, positivity and self-confidence.

I never feel worse after a workout, end of story. I know that it’s a super highway to feeling good, mentally and physically.

Yesterday, however, I was still in my bathrobe at 10am, having got up early to finish and submit a writing assignment for an awesome magazine. I was out of my usual routine of “wake, drink water, meditate, exercise” and having trouble gaining the momentum to get up and sweat.

The sun was making a rare appearance, amidst days of rain, so I knew I needed to get outside. I wanted something short and intense because I was planning on indulging that afternoon at Vancouver Magazine’s 25th Annual Restaurant Awards followed by dinner and movie with my husband.

I’m really fortunate to have a big patio and I felt like using my skipping rope – because even though it’s incredibly challenging it makes me smile like a big kid – so I came up with this little 12-minute workout that I’m excited to share with you!

By the way, how awesome are my snazzy new shoes? They’re the New Balance Minimus 10 Road. I love them! I got them from the amazing folks at Forerunners in North Vancouver. Ken Greenaway and Jerry Ziak are total pros who will make sure you’re in the proper shoes.    

The Workout

Throughout these exercises, focus on engaging your pelvic floor then your transverse abdominis as you exhale, spine elongated (maintain length between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your hip bones), chest lifted, shoulders back, and traps, neck and jaw relaxed.

Perform each exercise below for 1 minute with total focus on perfect form.

You can set your smartphone timer for 1 minute and reset between each exercise or use a free app like Ugi Fitness (read about the “hysterically hard” workout, which I love, here), and customize it to 1-minute intervals with no rest in between for 12 minutes (it also gives you a 10-seconds-to-go alert for each minute).

When you're done, make sure to take a few minutes to stretch. I like to begin with a couple of sun salutations for a gentle cool down and then move into some static stretches. Click here for more info on stretching and sun salutations.

1. Jump rope (nice and easy to start, shuffling from one foot to the other)

2. Squats

  • Inhale as you lower your hips back and down, engaging your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves for a smooth, controlled decent

  • Keep your knees strong, without wobbling, and equidistant apart

  • Exhale as you raise your hips, squeezing your glutes, hamstrings, quads and calves for a powerful ascent

3. Jump rope (feet together, double bounce, still fairly easy)

4. Superman + shoulder blade squeeze

This is a great way to work your middle and lower back without any equipment

  • Lie on your front with arms stretched out to the side, elbows slightly bent, and thumbs up

  • Gently begin to slide your shoulder blades down your spine and then squeeze them together to lift your arms off the ground

  • Then squeeze your lower back to peel your chest off the ground

  • Be sure to keep your neck and jaw relaxed, and look straight down, keeping the length in the back of your neck

5. Jump rope (feet together, a little faster)

6. Squats (option: jump squats)

  • Make them jump squats for added intensity!

  • Be sure to land softly, absorbing the shock to protect your joints

7. Jump rope (feet together, see how high you can jump)

8. Superman + shoulder blade squeeze

9. Jump rope (alternating high knees)

10. Squats

11. Jump rope (slalom / side to side)

12. Superman + shoulder blade squeeze