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15-Minute Bodyweight Circuit Workout To Burn Fat

By Kristin Rooke / July 1, 2017

With a job, social life, and family obligations, finding time to go to the gym can be tough. But that doesn’t give you an excuse to not workout regularly.

The reality is, you don’t need a ton of equipment to get a great workout. Using just your bodyweight, you can build strength, burn fat, and get in incredible shape. You also don’t need a ton of time. If you focus on interval training, you can increase your heart rate and metabolism, and induce the afterburn effect. That means you’ll burn more fat and calories all day long.

Bodyweight Circuit To Get Lean & Strong

This circuit is comprised of bodyweight and plyometric exercises. Plyometrics are incredible for building power and burning fat. And if you practice them regularly, they can even help you run faster and jump higher.1

Because these moves are so dynamic, it’s critical that you perform them with good technique, especially as you start to fatigue.

Workout Instructions

Complete 4 rounds of the circuit, resting for 30-seconds or less between exercises. Take 60-seconds of rest between each full circuit. Keep up the pace, while paying attention to your form and technique. Form is always more important than speed.

Start the workout with a thorough warm-up, and finish with some foam rolling or static stretches.

To make this workout more challenging you can wear a weighted vest, or increase the duration of each exercise.

Exercise Time
Side Plank with Rotation 30 seconds, each side
Push Up Plank 30 seconds
Pendulum Lunges 30 seconds, each leg
Skater Hops 30 seconds
Burpees 30 seconds

Rest: 60 seconds

Exercise Instructions

1. Side Plank with Rotation

Instructions: Ideally using a yoga mat, prop yourself up on your right forearm and stack your feet. Lift your hips off of the ground and squeeze your glutes, so your body creates a straight line from your head to your heels. While keeping your hips strongly lifted, raise your left arm towards the ceiling and then reach it underneath you so your torso rotates slightly towards the ground. Return to the start position with your right hand reaching straight up, and repeat.

2. Push Up Plank

Instructions: Start in a forearm plank, with your body creating a straight line from head to heels. Your feet should be about hips-width apart, or completely together for more of a challenge. Keep your head neutral, shoulders packed, core tight, and legs engaged. Then press one hand into the ground, following by the other, to push up to a high plank position with arms extended. One arm at a time, lower your body back down into the forearm plank position. To make this exercise more difficult, try to keep your hips and shoulders completely level the entire time.

3. Pendulum Lunges

Instructions: In this lunge variation, you’re combining the reverse and forward lunge together into one exercise. It’s a move that challenges your strength, endurance, power, and balance. Stand tall with your feet together. Then step your right foot back into a reverse lunge, bending your right knee so it hovers just above the ground and so your legs create two 90° angles. Step up onto your left foot and balance for a second before bringing the right foot forward into a forward lunge. Keep lunging the right foot backwards and forwards, staying tall through your spine the entire time.

4. Skater Hops

Instructions: Hinge your body into an athletic position with your chest tall, hips reaching back, and knees slightly bent. Cross your right foot behind your left, then drive powerfully off your left foot to jump sideways and land on your right foot, allowing your left leg to naturally cross behind the right. You can either tap your left foot to the ground, or hover it above the ground to add a balance component. Jump back to the left, finding a fluid rhythm hopping right to left.

5. Burpees

Instructions: Stand tall, then bend your knees to bring your hands to the floor. Jump your feet back into a plank position as you bend your elbows into a push up. Press out of the push up, and jump your feet forward to meet your hands. Then powerfully jump up into the air. Land softly with bent knees, bringing your hands back to the ground, and repeating the entire movement. Hands down, jump back, push up, jump forward, jump up.

Alternative Exercises For Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises are intense, challenging, and can be uncomfortable if you have bad joints, which means they aren’t appropriate for everyone. If these exercises don’t work for you, you can absolutely substitute more accessible exercises. For example, perform side lunges instead of skater hops, and no-jump burpees instead of a standard burpee. With a few simple changes, this workout can be modified in a way that works best for you.

To make this workout more difficult, you can wear a weighted vest or add dumbbells. If you try this bodyweight circuit, let me know how it goes! And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out in the comments section below.

Show 1 References

  1. Davies G, Riemann BL, Manske R. CURRENT CONCEPTS OF PLYOMETRIC EXERCISE.Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015;10(6):760-86.


  • pratibha says:

    Is HIIT, CATABOLIC OR ANABOLIC. Does it come in category of anaerobic or aerobic.

    • Kristin Rooke, CPT says:

      Hi Pratibha,

      In general, HIIT uses the anaerobic energy system and tends to preserve lean muscle while primarily targeting fat for fuel. That being said, there are studies that have shown HIIT can have an anabolic effect if you're simultaneously eating a slight excess of calories. If you're interested, you can read more about HIIT training here: http://www.builtlean.com/2010/06/04/high-intensity-interval-training-hiit-best-cardio-to-burn-fat/.

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

  • Mark says:

    Hi - these kinds of routines always sound like a good idea, but when time-based, I'm curious about an easy way to keep track of the seconds? I could set an interval timer app to go off every 30 seconds, say, but there's time in transition between the exercises. Anybody got that figured out?

    • Warwick says:

      I switched the time to reps to make it easier to keep track, and this approach seems to work well:
      Side Plank - 10 per side
      Push Up Plank - 10 total
      Pendulum Lunges - 10 per side
      Skater Hops - 20 per side
      Burpees - 10 total
      This took me 4.5 mins per round - fitter folks will be faster.

    • Mitchell says:

      Set it for 37 and go!!

    • Nancy says:

      There are free phone apps for timing this type of high intensity interval workout, including rest and warm-up phases, etc. You can set your own interval for each phase. Sometimes they're called Tabata timers.

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Mark,

      That's a great question! Because this workout is a circuit based on bodyweight exercises, there isn't that much time lost in transition. It's a short workout that's meant to keep you moving. You're essentially just moving from the floor to standing, and either prepping for the next exercise or walking around during the "rest" cycles. I like to use either my phone, or my gymboss interval timer to track my work and rest phases. That way, I can just focus on pushing myself through the exercises.

      Does that answer your question?

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

    • Gil says:

      Give yourself 20 seconds to transition 30 if you're really out of shape.

    • Erika says:

      So whenever I use my interval app I always account for the time lost in transition. For example 30sec sprints with 60 sec rest = 45 sec sprints and 90 sec rest to account for the treadmill taking that long to speed up or slow down... it's a pain and adds to the total time but it works. Do a trial round first and use it as your base. Maybe try to decrease transition time since no machines are necessary

    • Jasprit says:

      I feel like you shoudl just power through and move to the next exercise as quickly as possible. It's a circuit so it's meant to be going non-stop to get your heart rate up and burn off that fat.

  • Lucas Ntisana says:

    This is fit forever , is everlasting fitness which is not just a dream , it has a lot of benefits, no one can take them, once you get it it stays , enjoyable workout

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Lucas,

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed the workout!

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

  • J. Bryant says:

    Losing weight became a challenge for me after coming home from abroad. I have struggled with BiPolar 1 most of my life, the psych meds can pack the weight on quick. In High School, I weighed 258 lbs, was 6'4" tall a Wide Receiver. Fast forward to today. I'm 5 weeks from 50 years old. I served in the USMC for 12 years, I know how to be fit. But these stupid meds. I got up to 447 lbs at my peak in 2011. One day while shaving, I looked at myself. I only recognized my eyes. Nothing was the least bit familiar. I made a point at that moment. To DO SOMETHING about my my weight. I yo-yo dieted until 2014, then something strange happened. My metabolism just changed. In two years, I have lost 176 lbs!! I couldn't walk from my couch to my bed without being winded at first, but now I walk 10-12 miles a day with a 30 pound knapsack. I'm still 271 lbs. The VA is puzzled though, I apparently have an over active Pituitary Gland kicked out HGH and bolstering Testosterone. My T-levels were 773 ng/dl two weeks ago at my physical. I have enormous energy. They gave me Klonopin 2 mg to calm me at night, so I can sleep. I'm like the Energizer Bunny on Mania. lol I don't know what happened but I feel great....p.s. I have grown about 6" taller in the last three years. The VA docs can's explain it and I can't either. Maybe its a by-product of the Chemical Weapons I was exposed to in Desert Storm.

    • Kristin says:

      Hi J,

      Sounds like you have an amazing story!! Thanks for sharing! Really glad to hear that you've lost weight, gained energy, and feel better than ever. The body's ability to heal and restore balance is pretty incredible. Keep up the good work!

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

  • Mira says:

    How many times a week would you recommend this workout?

    Also, in one of his programs, Marc recommends doing cardio after the weight training to get that extra push on fat burning. I realize this is different, but would you recommend cardio after this workout as well for that same reason?

    To give you a little background - I eat healthy (cook real food at home, no junk food) and moderate portions. I'd like to loose about 8-10lb to get back to my pre-kids weight and size.

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Mira,

      It sounds like you're doing a great job of eating healthy, which is awesome! If your goal is to lose weight, then you'll want to create a calorie deficit by eating fewer calories than you burn. I recommend keeping that deficit pretty small, ideally around 250 fewer calories per day. You can figure out your average daily calorie intake by tracking your food in an app like MyFitnessPal for at least 3 days. Once you know your average, you can reduce your daily calories by 250 to start to see weight and fat loss.

      Now, for your workout questions -- I would recommend doing this workout 3x per week on nonconsecutive days (for example, Monday-Wednesday-Friday). You can definitely do cardio after this workout, or you can do it on alternate days (like, Tuesday and Thursday). I would personally do cardio on alternate days because I like to be active in some way every day. If you build a life around daily activity, then you won't have to think about whether you worked out or not. It will just be your lifestyle.

      Hope that helps!! Keep up the good work! If you have any other questions, you can reach me via support@builtlean.com

      -Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor

  • Bill Walker says:

    This looks like a great training program