Ashley Conrad's Fat-Burning, Muscle-Building Celebrity Circuit
If you think circuit training is easy, think again. Ashley Conrad's hardcore circuit workout will challenge, redefine, and transform your body.
This intense circuit workout is actually a series of demanding circuits founded on a total of 26 different exercises, supersets, plyometrics, and world-renowned fat-burning, muscle-building techniques.
Every circuit you complete builds on the previous circuit, adding up to an insane super-circuit session that will challenge you, push you, and torch every muscle in your body. It will transform you.
This workout is all about conditioning, strength, and general physical preparedness (GPP), so you're going to encounter a lot of exercise variety.
It's not uncommon to go from a plyometric strength exercise into something purely cardiovascular. The setup keeps your body guessing, which leads to quick results.
My clients do this workout four times per week for the first couple weeks of a transformation. They drop weight and shred up almost immediately.
When you do it, you'll see for yourself why they lose so much weight.
Ashley Conrad's Celebrity Circuit
Watch The Video - 29:20
Your first circuit is a high-intensity warm-up designed to prep your body for the even higher-intensity weight and resistance training circuits to come. This warm-up sets the tone for the rest of the session. You need to start giving 100 percent right now!
The first exercise is a five-minute treadmill interval circuit. For the first minute, just go at a steady pace—6.5 mph. This is the lowest speed you want to start with. For those of you in great shape, start at 7.5 or even 8 mph.
After the first minute, increase the speed and push the treadmill to max incline. The one-minute intervals begin when you reach the incline. The time between adjustments doesn't count. There's no cheating on this. After 2.5 minutes, decrease the speed to a brisk walk. Lower the incline to zero and keep walking.
This is your initial sweat. Keep it throughout the workout!
After the treadmill intervals, we dive into boxing. Start simple with a couple of jabs, straight out and back, like you mean it. Follow with a straight right: pivot off the back foot and bring your arm across. Get your abs fired up. Combine the two: left, right, left.
Your breathing will begin to increase. Keep up the intensity. Switch to right, left, right, and then try uppercuts, which fire up the chest and biceps. Start with a slow uppercut, which is a great exercise for the abs. Dig down, press on your front foot, squeeze, and make your abs push you through the movement.
Left jab: 10 fast, intense jabs
Straight Right: 10 fast, intense straight right shadow punches
Left, Right, Left: 10 fast, intense combos
Right, Left, Right: 10 fast, intense combos
Uppercuts: Repeat 3 times (about 90 seconds total)
5 on the left
5 on the right
Left-right combo for 10 seconds
You'll need two lightweight dumbbells, probably 1-3 pounds. Start with a quick-paced overhead press: Fire your elbows all the way up, then down to 90 degrees. Next, perform lateral raises. Move your arms straight out, then straight overhead, to really fire up the upper body.
This circuit is also a great way to end a workout. After an intense upper-body session, use this circuit as your finisher. Everything in the circuit is fast and intense. Work the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Keep an upright posture to engage your abs.
Now that your entire body is warm, we're going to jump straight into conditioning. Get ready for a slew of plyometrics, explosive movements, jumps, dynamic exercises, and sweat. Most of all get ready for the sweat.
This circuit is arranged to help you get maximum output from your muscles. It starts with a bang: plyometric push-ups. Plyo push-ups get the job done quickly and effectively, and they build powerful muscles in the upper body. You're going to push from side-to-side, switching hands midway through the motion. Do a push-up on one side, then switch over.
Increase the speed and power with each rep. Launch yourself all the way up. With plyometric work, you want to go as long as you can go—if that's only 10 seconds, that's OK, because you're going to build up to the full time.
Hit dips next. Push-ups are for chest and triceps; dips focus primarily on the triceps. You want to do each of these exercises fast; this is about speed! To make the dips more advanced, throw a leg up in the air every time you come up. Lift your leg higher to further engage the abs.
To perform the medicine ball jumping lunge, put one foot on a bench and hold a medicine ball in front of you. The angle at the bottom of the movement should be around 90 degrees. The knee should not be past the toe. From this position, launch yourself straight up. If you can't jump with the medicine ball, drop it and use your body weight. Don't bend forward; stand straight up and keep the core engaged.
The lunge is a great glute and hamstring blaster. A lot of people like to hit the lower body with heavy squats. I like to fire up the muscles the way the body naturally moves, without overloading the back and putting a lot of pressure on the discs.
pick-up and put-down
To perform the "pick-up, put-down," start in a basketball defensive stance with lowered hips. Pick a dumbbell up, pull it back, and move to other side in an explosive movement. Do not bend over. Keep your back straight and move side-to-side. Everything comes from the legs. Try to go faster, faster, and faster.
Next you hit plyo box jumps. When you land, "move like a butterfly, sting like a bee." You want to be silent. You want to land softly. When you are jumping, you never want to land hard. That's how you get hurt—hard landings put too much torque on the back. Jump up explosively; try to land softly.
By this stage in the game, you are fatigued, but you've still got biceps curls. Things to remember: Keep your core tight, don't swing the arms, and keep everything stable. Pick a weight that challenges you enough so that at 20 seconds your biceps are toast.
Heavy Bag Boxing Circuit
Jab (left or right): 15 seconds
Straight punch (right or left): 15 seconds
Combo (jab, jab, straight): 15 seconds
Combo (straight, jab, straight): 15 seconds
Combo (jab, straight): 15 seconds
Boxing is a great way to shed fat. It brings in the hardcore lines and definition that everybody wants. Wear boxing gloves to hit the heavy bag. Do each combo for 15 seconds. In total, you're on the heavy bag for one minute and fifteen seconds.
The secret to the boxing exercises is to keep your abs completely tight. Your stance (left- or right-handed) determines which hand jabs and which throws the straight punches. You will burn out by the end. Throw these punches fast and hard.
This circuit starts with one of my favorite moves: the crunch to push-up. This is an explosive abdominal exercise. Everything is fast. Grab a medicine ball, stay flat, and bring the ball up. To perform the crunch to stand-up, instead of getting into a push-up position after you crunch, stand to finish the movement.
The key to the 4-point jump is to explode. Bend down and throw yourself to each point, then throw yourself back. All of this channels through the core. It starts at the feet with proper form; then you bend down, and then explode out. Return to starting point after each lateral.
The toe touch works cardio, but it also brings in great lines of definition in your abs, especially the lower abs. It's like you're running in place, so all your weight is on the foot that's on the ground. Do this movement as quickly as possible. Do not put your weight on that front foot. Swing your arms to help with momentum and balance.
To maintain balance during the ladder exercises, engage your core. For the hopscotch round, move your feet in and out as you move forward. Step into each box. When it comes to high knees, drive your knees past your belly button, and drive your legs as quickly as possible.
Your last ladder movement is a feet-together hop. Start with both feet in the box and hop outside to the left of the ladder. Jump forward and right into the next box, then outside the ladder, then forward-left into the next box, and so forth until you reach the end of the ladder. Come back for an additional round.
For the treadmill, if you can't jog at 6.0 speed, then drop it to 5.0, but keep the jog going! By this point in time, your legs are tired and fatigued. Keep your head in the game. Push through this!
The strength portion of this workout really focuses on lean muscle growth. Instead of diving into the minutiae and attacking every little isolation exercise, this workout focuses on hitting the major muscle groups and firing up the small muscles as secondary movers. The main exercises target chest, legs, and back. We hit all areas of the body with a few simple moves.
The first exercise is called a burpee. It's one of my favorite moves. It looks deceptively easy, but when you get into multiple reps, your whole body is going to be on fire. To perform a burpee, you move from a push-up to a plyometric jump. Bring your feet in to engage your abs. Your core keeps your back stable. You use your legs to jump and land, and the entire upper body gets worked with the push-up.
Wide-grip pull-ups are a more advanced move. If you want to take it up a notch, move into a typewriter pull-up—slide back and forth laterally at the height of the movement. This move really works the lats and abs. To burn it out, do as many normal pull-ups as you can.
At this point, don't hold anything back. The strength circuit calls for 10 burpees, but you can go to failure if you are up for it. You're almost done.
This core workout is hardcore and intense. It's not for the faint of heart. I want to get people away from doing 300-400 crunches. That's not going to do anything for you. This type of work accesses every single muscle in your core. That's how you get those lines of definition.
Start by holding the plank for 10 seconds to get in perfect position. Once your abs start to burn a little bit, you lift up and give your workout partner or passing gym buddy a high-five. If you don't have someone to give a high-five to, then just keep holding a regular plank. You can do these on your own.
Do not release the plank as you switch steps in this circuit. Go directly into a rotating plank to hit your obliques. The upper body should stay in place as you rotate your hips side to side. This focuses on the deep muscles in the core, not just the superficial muscles that get worked daily. Keep your hips elevated!
Go straight to the elbow knee-in. Bring your knee out and around, then up to your elbow without moving your upper body. Just lift the knee straight in to contact the elbow. This brings in those nice lines along the hips that everyone desires.
Next, it's time for ball planks. Start in a push-up position with your feet on a ball. Once you are completely stable and your legs are straight, take one leg off the ball; hook it out, under, and across your body; and then move it back out and up to the starting position. You want to kick that leg out as far as you can out to the side, but keep the legs straight. This twist brings in the transverse abdominis.
Now lie flat on your back for V-ups. Hold the ball between your legs and bring them up while simultaneously bringing your shoulders and arms up to meet your legs in the middle. Both your lower body and upper body come off the ground, giving your body a "V" shape.
You should be burned out by this point in the workout, so if you can't do V-ups as prescribed, remove the ball and just use your body weight. If you still can't complete the exercise, if you're really tired, then switch to alternating diagonal touches.
Only a few more exercises! Next is the medicine ball twist. Bring your torso up, lift your legs, and rotate side to side. People cheat with this exercise; they don't bring the ball all the way back and behind them. That full extension gets the most bang for your buck. Don't cheat it; don't stop the rotation.
The medicine ball press, the next prescribed exercise, is great for the serratus. Sit up, lift your legs off the ground, and press the med ball above your head.
Your last exercise is an upright scissor kick. Clasp hands in front of your body with your legs elevated and out straight. Kick your legs like a pair of scissors. The straighter your legs, the more stress you're going to put on the lower abs. The scissor kicks are also a great exercise for the quads.
If you managed to survive my ultimate circuit workout, you might be wondering how often you should use it! If you want to shred quickly and focus on losing body fat, I recommend performing this workout at least three times per week.
Or, you can use it as your conditioning day during a strength routine, or even use the plan as an occasional "challenge" workout.
You can also break up certain chunks of the workout and use different pieces at different times. It's totally customizable, and that's what I call clutch.