As a (former) figure competitor, my training style is primarily strength/building exercises that often require using free weights or cable machines. BUT, since taking a hiatus from that scene in an effort to stay on the lean and trim side I have happily incorporated circuit training into my regime once a week. I have found this has been a great way to 'shock' my system and my physique has responded well. The faster-paced, cardio based style has done wonders keeping those pounds off- as well as a balanced diet. It is also a convenient switch to rely solely on body weight and just one or 2 pieces of equipment. I often perform my circuits at the gym on weekend mornings, though they could easily be done at home or in a hotel room if you are travelling. The following is a sample workout to really target those legs!!! You will need:
1. A treadmill (recommended)
2. A well-inflated balance ball
Warm up - 5 mins (3.5-4.0 mph)
Sprint - 60 seconds
20 - pop squats
20 walking lunges
20 leg extensions
20 leg curls w balance ball
20 ab crunches
20 bicycle crunches
X 10 rounds
Run at a pace that is challenging but you are able to last the full 60 seconds.
* If no access to treadmill, substitute sprints for 60 sec jump rope/high knees/jumping jacks
Start with feet together. Jump/'pop' into a wide stance, toes pointing outward, knees bending to 90 degrees or parallel to the floor. Jump back in to start position. Repeat.
Start with feet hip-width apart. Extend one leg forward until front leg falls 90 degrees/parallel to the floor; your rear heel should be raised. Avoid your back knee touching the floor.
Start with feet together. Jump with hands up, landing with hands in front of feet in crouched position. Extend legs back, putting yourself in a pushup position. Return feet back towards hands, then drive upwards, jumping into next 'burpee'.
Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder width, toes pointed outward at 45 degrees. Lower yourself to 90 degrees/parallel to the floor, keeping your back straight. Make sure your knees are inline with your feet.
Lay on floor/mat. Bridge yourself, placing emphasis of bodyweight on shoulders and upper back. Alternate extending left/right leg upwards, maintaining the bridge position until repetitions complete.
Leg curls with balance ball
Lay on floor/mat. Place balance ball under lower legs, in between calves and heels. Raise hips off the floor. Curl ball inwards towards your glutes, then out again.
* Advanced: balance ball under single left/right leg; opposite leg held off the floor.
Laying on floor/mat, place hands behind neck, curl torso upwards while breathing out, lifting shoulders off the floor. Ensure you are not pulling on your neck as you lift your upper body up
* Advanced: have legs raised, perpendicular to the floor as you 'crunch'.
Start in the same position as ab crunches. Lead left/right elbow towards opposing knee as you crunch; repeat alternating each side. Ensure you breath out as you crunch.
Challenge yourself! I like to time my circuits using a stop watch, which also has a heart rate monitor component. This makes it more like a game- a competition with yourself!