Total Body Circuit: Work It!

Total Body Circuit: Work It! is part of Jessica Smith‘s new Strong + Centered Series, which is made up of 6 DVDs/19 workouts total. Jessica has also created an 8 week rotation calendar using the Strong + Centered workouts. All of the workouts are available both on DVD and as a downloads. I have already reviewed Walk a 5K (The Fun Way)Stretch + Relax, Fusion Flow & Glow and Split Session Strength.

Total Body Circuit contains 2 total body strength workouts. They are both solid strength workouts. They are not fast paced, but there is rarely any rest time between exercises so this causes problems with weight choices. You either stick with weights that are too light (or too heavy) or you miss a few reps when swapping weights out. I will admit, I am spoiled by the YouTube strength workouts I normally do where they give you time to swap weights between exercises. I did miss that when doing these workouts. But these are still excellent and challenging workouts. One of the things I really appreciate about Jessica’s strength workouts I’ve done in this series, is she does not neglect your back muscles. Every time I finish one of her total body or upper body workouts, I feel a nice lingering burn in my upper back. Like a few of the other workouts in the Strong + Centered Series, this workout is set in a bright studio with huge windows. In the back corner of the room behind Jessica is a small sculpture/statue of a white French bulldog, which I am sure honors the late Peanut😢.

Session 1 is 48 minutes; 8 minute warm up and 4:15 minute stretch. Equipment: at least 2 sets of dumbbells, one heavy and one light, and a fitness mat. Jessica does not reveal the weight of the dumbbells she uses. The weights listed below are what I used. The warm up is long because it contains mobility work. This is a high rep, no rest between exercises workout. I needed to change dumbbell weights between exercises so I missed one or two reps because Jessica does not change dumbbells and goes immediately from one exercise to the next, giving you no time to swap out weights. I find this irritating because, to get the best workout, you need to use the appropriate weight for the muscle group you are working. However, even though I missed a few reps, I still got a solid total body strength workout. After doing Jessica’s Split Sessions’s workouts, I was more conservative with my dumbbell choices and didn’t experience as much muscle burn, but it still happened a few times!

  1. Wide leg squats holding one DB in both hands; add an overhead press at top of squat; add an overhead tricep extension/French press (I started using one 30# DB but had to drop to one 25# DB when the French press was added, the second time through this circuit I used one 25# DB for everything)
  2. Overhead tricep extension/French press (one 25# DB)
  3. In split stance holding one DB in one hand (same hand as back leg), lower into a lunge and when rising out of lunge do a single arm back row; continue this move but pass DB to other hand (one 25# DB)
  4. Do one push up on your knees then push hips back into to heels so you are in child’s pose
  5. Lay on stomach on mat with arms extended overhead and open and legs open so body is in an “X”, raise chest and legs off the floor, pull elbows down into sides while closing legs then return to start
  6. Repeat #1 & 2
  7. Repeat #3 on other side of body
  8. Repeat #4 & 5
  9. Chest press fly w/ bicycle legs (lay on back with both legs raised off mat and bent at 90 degrees, each hand holds a DB and is extended to ceiling, palms facing each other, open arms to side, bending elbows chest press style while keeping palms facing each other then return to start, each time you do a chest press fly you extend one leg straight, alternate legs) (20# DBs)
  10. Same starting position as #9, do a narrow chest press/tricep press, extend both legs away from you when lowering arms then return them to start when pushing DBs to ceiling (18# DBs)
  11. Butterfly bridge (lay on back on mat, knees are bent and open with soles of feet together, place one DB on hips, raise and lower hips) (one 35# DB)
  12. In forearm/elbow plank, round spine while tilting pelvis forward and hold
  13. Single arm rear delt raise (on hands and knees holding one DB in one hand, do a single arm rear delt raise) (one 8# DB the first time, one 6# DB the second time)
  14. On elbows/forearms and knees, place one DB behind one knee, push foot up to ceiling then lower; keep leg raised at top of lift and pulse upward (one 6# DB)
  15. Repeat #13 & 14 on other side of body
  16. Repeat #9-15
  17. Stand holding one DB in each hand, step one foot forward and on a diagonal into a lunge with DBs framing front leg, when you return to standing, pull one DB up across your body and on a diagonal upright row style and into a single arm overhead press, again on a diagonal (8# DBs)
  18. Balance on one leg and do bicep curls, raise DBs at normal speed then lower DBs very slowly (15# DBs)
  19. All of your weight is on one leg, other foot is behind you w/ toe on floor, slowly hinge torso forward single leg deadlift style while doing a double arm tricep kickback; remain hinged forward and do tricep kickbacks (10# DBs)
  20. Repeat #17-19 on other side of body
  21. Lay on back with knees bent and feet on mat, hands behind head, crunch upper body normal speed and lower slowly; pulse upward at top of crunch
  22. Lay on side with bottom leg bent and top leg extended, top hand is behind head, raise top leg while crunching elbow toward leg
  23. Repeat #22 on other side of body
  24. Lay on stomach with arms extended overhead on mat in a Y shape, keeping legs on mat, raise chest while pulling elbows into sides and keeping hands out wide (arms make a “W”); keep chest elevated and pulse elbows back toward sides
  25. Lay on back with knees bent and feet on mat, hands behind head, raise upper body to top of crunch and pulse upward
  26. Repeat #22 & 23
  27. Repeat #24 but instead of pulses at the end, hold isometrically at top of lift

Session 2 is 38 minutes; 6 minute warm up and 2:40 minute stretch. Equipment: at least 2 sets of dumbbells, one heavy and one light, and a fitness mat. Jessica does not reveal the weight of her dumbbells. The weights listed below are what I used. I am not really sure when the warm up ends the the workout begins, but I think the workout actually starts at #3 (so it is probably longer than 6 minutes). This was a solid total body workout. Jessica crammed a lot into a relatively short workout with a long warm up. It suffers from the usual problem of no time to change dumbbells but I tried to have all of my dumbbells close at hand so I could quickly swap when needed. #16 below was a complicated move for me. I do feel like I could have used a dumbbell a few pounds heavier, but there was so many different components to the move, plus it challenged my balance, that I just stuck with the 5s. I feel like the upper body got more work than the lower body did in this workout.

  1. Get on hands and knees with toes on mat, lift knees off mat and hold
  2. Still on all 4s, extend one arm and opposite leg out straight and hold (bird dog), circle wrist and ankle
  3. Lay on stomach on mat, arms are at sides with palms facing down, raise chest and arms, pulling shoulder blades together and turning hands so thumbs are reaching to ceiling
  4. Start in straight arm plank on knees, lower slowly to the mat push up style then raise chest and hands off mat keeping arms close to sides, place hands back on mat and push back up
  5. Chest press bridge (lay on back with a DB in each hand, knees are bent and heels are pressed into mat, raise hips into bridge while also doing a chest press) (20# DBs)
  6. Same starting position as #5 except raise onto toes, lift hips into bridge and hold isometrically while doing single arm alternating chest press (20# DBs)
  7. 1.5 sumo squat (hold one DB in both hands, lower to bottom of squat, raise halfway, lower to bottom of squat, raise all the way) (Jessica calls this a deadlift reaching squat) (one 50# DB)
  8. Pulsing lunges (lower into lunge with back leg straight, holding one DB in same side hand as front leg, hinge torso forward over front leg, pulse up and down) (one 25# DB)
  9. Same position and basic move as #8 but switch DB to other hand and do a single arm back row every time you raise up from lunge (it’s still a small pulse motion); continue this but with a larger and slower range of motion (one 25# DB)
  10. Repeat #4-7
  11. Repeat #8 & 9 on other side of body
  12. Wide plie squat pulses holding a DB in each hand at shoulders; add an overhead double arm shoulder press when lowering deeper in squat and bring DBs back to shoulders when rising (you are still pulsing while remaining in squat); hold isometrically at bottom of plie squat and do double arm overhead press (10# DBs)
  13. Single leg squats (hold one DB in each hand, back/non-working leg is in kickstand); torso remains hinged forward, pulse up and down in single leg squat while also doing bent arm rear delt flys; hold at bottom of single leg squat while continuing to do a rear delt fly (8# DBs)
  14. Repeat #12
  15. Repeat #13 on other side of body
  16. Stand holding one DB in each hand, do one side lunge while lowering both DBs to frame foot, return to standing and cross one leg in front of the other, tapping toe to floor, while also pushing one arm/DB straight in front of you at chest level (5# DBs)
  17. Stand with legs close together, do narrow squats, arms do a hammer curl into a tricep kickback (10# DBs)
  18. Stand with legs shoulder width apart, raise DBs halfway into a bicep curl, pulse DBs upward while also doing alternating toe taps (10# DBs)
  19. Stand with all of your weight on one foot, bend knee and hinge torso forward, do double arm tricep kickbacks while tapping one foot behind you then back in; tap changes to back leg lift (10# Dbs)
  20. Repeat #16 on other side of body
  21. Repeat #17 & 18
  22. Repeat #19 on other side of body
  23. Cross crunch (lay on back with knees bent and feet on floor, both hands are behind head, crunch upper body while reaching one elbow toward opposite knee, alternate sides; cross crunch to one side and hold, pulsing elbow toward opposite knee
  24. Reverse butterfly crunches (lay on back, legs are raised to ceiling with knees turned out and insoles of feet together, raise hips into reverse crunch)
  25. In modified side elbow plank (on one elbow and one knee), top leg is extended straight and top arm reaches for ceiling, raise top straight leg and draw circles with it
  26. Repeat #25 on other side of body
  27. Repeat #3 but hold isometrically at top of lift

2 thoughts on “Total Body Circuit: Work It!

  1. Happy Saturday!

    Today I did Fierce Day 6 full body strength and followed it with day 5 stretch/mobility. What a great combo workout! I just love what Heather has put together with these Fierce workouts! I can lift heavy and keep pace and feel well-worked at the end. The stretch workout felt really good. Nothing too deep but it was worth taking the 30 min to slow down and take care of my muscles! ☺️


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