Bay Area Full Body Circuit



Business travel is interesting to say the least.  On one hand, I am in credibly lucky to have some of the most gorgeous, and sunny, cities in my territory.  On the other hand, I rarely get to see the best each city has to offer.  I was thinking about this today as I crossed the Bay Bridge in San Fran for the third time, which included paying a toll just to turn around and go back.  I’m now writing this from a Starbucks in Oakland waiting for the happy hour we have with a new partner at 4:00.

When you travel for pleasure you indulge in the all of the bests that city has to offer: accommodations, site seeing, food and drink, and in many ways you plan for those indulgences as part of your vacation.  Work travel is different, for me however.  I try to get in and out by cramming as many business meetings as I can in the shortest amount of time.  It’s costly for the company and lonesome for me to be on the road, and as I mentioned before, I’m a stickler for routine, which I only have at home.  At home I can workout, eat and drink what I want when I want.  I don’t have that luxury on the road.  Part of my job is to build relationships by wining and dining our partners, and I do my job very well.  🙂

My company reimburses me for my hotel stays, but don’t think for one second I’m staying at 5 star resorts.  I have flexibility in where I stay, but I have to make it work within a budget and that can be challenging.  This week I’m in a Four Star Sheraton by the SFO Airport.  I chose it for 2 simple reasons (1) it’s an SPG property and I enjoy my SPG points, and (2) It was close to both downtown SF and Oakland so I can minimize my time fighting traffic.  Though convenient, I doubt I’ll stay there again.  Between the noisy street traffic on Airport Blvd and the Luke-warm shower water I’m less than impressed.

The one upside was the hotel gym.  It was small but functional, and being that I was the only person using the gym this morning it was spacious too.  I’d probably have a different opinion if I had to share the facility with even one more person.  Here’s a picture:

four seasons SFO gym

I’m always excited when I see both cardio equipment and free weights.  The Stability Balls were an added bonus, though I didn’t use them this trip.  With the room to myself I was able to the following Full Body 2 Circuit workout without interruption.

I also started with 20 minutes on the elliptical.  My focus wasn’t cardio today.  If I were lifting at home I might only do a 3-5 minute warm-up of jumping rope or rowing, but hotel gyms are notoriously cold and my body is tired from mediocre hotel sleep so I make sure to get my body nice and warm before weight training.  Also, let’s face it, no matter how hard I try  to each clean on the road it will never be as clean at home so a little extra cardio first thing in the morning definitely doesn’t hurt.

Here was this morning’s Full Body (2) Circuit Workout.  Enjoy!

Circuit 1:

Repeat 3x with as little rest as possible then move on to Circuit 2

Equipment needed:  Dumbbells and a bench, box or step


1a. Squat to Hammer Curl to Should Press 10 reps
1b. Push-ups 10 reps
1c. Step-up with Lateral Should Raise – alternating legs 10 reps ea. side
1d. Triceps dips on bench 10 reps body weight
1e. V-Up crunches 15 reps
Repeat Circuit 2x.  No Rest between sets if possible.


Circuit 2:

2a Straight-leg deadlift with DB upright row 10 reps
2b. Triceps Push-up 10 reps
2c. Side lunge with Bicep Curl 10 reps ea. side
2d. Dumbbell Bent over row 10 reps
2e. Supine Hip Raise with Crunch 15 reps
Repeat Circuit 2x.  No Rest between sets if possible.

Abs – 100 crunch circuit

*Complete each set of 10 reps slow and controlled without resting between exercises.

Repeat 2-3x

Standard crunch 10 reps
Side crunch to the right 10 reps
Butterfly crunches 10 reps
Side crunch on the left 10 reps
Butterfly crunches 10 reps
Crunches with knees at 90 degrees 10 reps
Toe Touches 10 reps
Hip Lifts 10 reps
Bicycles 10 reps (ea. side)


If you are new to working out or have questions about the above exercise, please reference the detailed exercise explanations below. 

Circuit 1:

1a        Squat to Hammer Curl to Should Press   (10 reps x 15# dumbbells)

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and a dumbbell in each hand palms facing in. Chose a weight heavy enough to work your legs, but appropriate for the shoulder press.
  2. Sit down like you are sitting in a chair. Keep your dumbbells next to your legs.  Make sure to keep your chest up and your weight in your heels.  Your heels should not raise from the floor.  If they do, lessen your range of motion.
  3. Stand up and perform the hammer curl by bending your elbows and raising the dumbbells to be perpendicular to your shoulders (palms still facing in).
  4. From the hammer curl position – press the weights above your head maintaining the arm position (palms facing in).
  5. Return to starting position.

1b        Push-ups (10 reps)

Try at least 1 in push-up from your toes.  If you can only do 1, or a half of 1, then that’s where you are today.  Complete the set from your knees and try to beat your number next time.  We all start somewhere.

1c.       Step-up with Lateral Should Raise (10 reps on each legs with dumbbells)

  1. Face a bench, box or step. I was using a bench this morning.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Step on to bench with your right leg and bring your knee up towards your chest engage your glute at the top of the movement.
  4. Step off the bench.
  5. Facing the bench perform a single (1) lateral shoulder raises.
  6. Repeat on the left leg side.
  7. Perform another 10 lateral shoulder raise.

**That is 1 rep.  You will repeat 10x on each side.  That’s a total 20 lateral shoulder raises people!!

1d.       Triceps dips (10 reps)

  1. Turn around so the bench is now behind you and perpendicular to your body.
  2. Hold onto the edge of the bench with both and hands with arms extended behind you.
  3. As you dip (aka bend your elbows) think about your elbows staying parallel and pointing to the wall behind you.
  4. Keep your backside as close to the edge of the bench as possible. I see Triceps Dips performed wrong ALL THE TIME and all my little tendons and muscle fibers in my shoulders cringe with anticipated pain.

1e.       V-Ups (15 reps)

I have a love/hate with V-ups.  I remember having to do them all the time at cheer practice!  Best part about V-ups is they are work the entire core in one movement.  Worst part about V-Ups is the work the entire core in one movement!

  1. Start on your back, supine position, with your legs and hands stretched outward.
  2. Crunch by bringing your hand and feet over your body to meet in the middle in the shape of a “V”, hence the name. The objective is to touch your hands to feet while your legs are straight.
  3. Return to starting position and repeat.

Repeat Circuit 2 more times.  NO REST


Circuit 2:

2a.       SLD (Straight Leg Deadlift) w/ upright dumbbell row (10 reps x 15# dumbbells)

I hesitated to include a Straight Leg Deadlift in my work out because I knew I’d be writing this, and watching some people do SLD’s is scary.  It’s very common for people to want to round their back and therefore, pull from their back.  This exercise is intended to isolate the hamstrings.  You DO NOT EVER want to round and/or pull from your back.

  1. Start by holding the dumbbells with an overhand grip in front of your legs.
  2. Hinge at the waist leading with your butt. Leading with your butt will help you from rounding with your back.
  3. Trace your legs as you lower the dumbbells towards the floor. Keep as close to your legs as possible so not to pull with your shoulders or your back.
  4. If you feel your back start to round or your knees bend that is the end of your movement. For some, that might be above the knees, and that ok!  As long as you feel the stretch in your hamstrings you are still getting the benefit of the SLD.
  5. Engaging your hamstrings and glutes by pulling your waist forward and return to standing. Remember, this IS NOT a lower back exercise and therefore you should not be pulling from your back.
  6. Pull the dumbbells up tracing your torso. Pull with your elbows up and to the side allowing wrists to bend as you pull upward.
  7. Return to starting position.

2b.       Triceps Push-ups

  1. Start in a pushup position but bring your hands closer together directly under your shoulders.
  2. Bend your elbows lowering your body to the floor and push-up to starting position.
  3. You can lower your knees if you need assistance or modification.

2c.       Side Lunge with Bicep Curl

  1. Start standing with your feet shoulder width apart with dumbbells in each hand next to your side.
  2. Take a large step/lunge to the right bending your right leg. Make sure your toes are facing forward and your butt is over your ankle in proper squat position.
  3. Push off with your right foot to return to center.
  4. As you return to standing, curl the dumbbells.
  5. Lower dumbbells to staring position.
  6. Repeat on the left.

2d.       Bent over dumbbell rows

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly and hinge at the waist.
  2. Allow your hands to dangle directly out in front of you perpendicular with the floor.
  3. Keeping your elbows next to your torso, slowly lift the pull the dumbbells up towards your chest.
  4. Think about squeezing the middle of your back at the top of the movement.
  5. Lower and repeat.

2e.       Hip Raise with Crunch

  1. Start on your back with two dumbbells propped upright.
  2. Place the bottom of your feet on the top of the dumbbell as shown:

Hipraisse with crunch

4. Press your heels into the dumbbells as you lift your hips squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.

5. Lower to starting position and crunch up towards your knees

6. Repeat



I am not a certified personal training or medical professional.  These are my workouts and my suggestions to readers.  Perform at your own risk and consult a medical professional for modifications and advise. 






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