Sometimes we’re all for taking it easy. Going for a long, slow jog or breathing deeply through a restorative yoga class can be just what our bodies need. But other times, nothing feels better than crushing through an intense workout (at least, once it’s over). For that feeling, we turn to trainers like Kira Stokes, creator of the Stoked Series.BFX Studio high-intensity training
So what’s Stokes’ special sauce? “Maintaining a flow of movement is key,” she says. “Each circuit is put together in a way that makes sense for the body and challenges both strength and cardiovascular fitness in a smart, thoughtful manner.”
You’ll start with a compound movement, followed by a complimentary plyometric move, a core-cardio move that serves as active recovery, and lastly an upper-body bodyweight exercise. “You’re not just moving from one random exercise to another, but you’re working the muscles in a dynamic way that creates lean muscle mass.” Translation: It’s super effective, super sweaty, and you’ll definitely feel it the next day (or three).
How it works: Do each move in the first circuit for the prescribed number of reps or amount of time. Repeat each circuit 3 times through, without rest, before moving on to the next. In between circuits, Stokes suggests jumping rope, jumping jacks, or jogging in place for 90 seconds to 2 minutes to keep your muscles revved.
You can do this workout anywhere—all you need is a set of dumbbells. (Start with 5-pound weights, working up to 10-pounders, Stokes suggests.) See descriptions of the moves below, and check out the full routine in a printable (and pinnable) graphic below.
1A. Squat to Shoulder Press
12 to 15 reps
Stand with feet hip-width apart, toes facing forward. Hold weights above shoulders. Keeping weight on the heels, stick your rear out and squat, bringing quads parallel to the floor. As you push up out of squat, perform a shoulder press. Complete 12 to 15 reps.
1B. Squat Jump
Sit back into perfect squat form. Driving from the heels, explode up to catch air, then return to squat position when landing. Continue jumping for 30 seconds.
1C. Plank Up-Down
Start in extended-arm plank, wrists directly below shoulders. Pull navel to spine, engage glutes, and press through the heels. Maintaining a solid plank position, lower right elbow to the floor, then left elbow, then lift back up to right hand, then left. Alternate elbow placed on the floor for 30 seconds.
1D. Knee-to-Opposite-Elbow Push-Up
12 reps (6 per side)
Start in basic push-up position. Perform push-up, then bring right knee across the body to left elbow. Perform another push-up and bring left knee across the body to right elbow. Continue alternating for 12 reps total (6 per side).
2A. Reverse Lunge With Biceps Curl
12 to 15 reps
Balance on your right leg, keeping weight on the right heel. Step left leg back, bringing left knee one inch above the ground, forming 90-degree angles with both legs. Pushing from the right heel, pull left knee into chest and perform a biceps curl. Complete 12 to 15 reps, then move on to exercise 2B before switching legs and repeating.
2B. Lunge Jump
20 to 30 seconds
After last rep of reverse lunge with biceps curl, step left leg back into lunge with right leg forward, keeping weight on right heel. Place weights on floor and immediately start jumping up and landing in lunge position. Repeat for 20 to 30 seconds. Once you have completed moves 2A and 2B on the right side, repeat on the left side.
2C. Mountain Climbers
Start in an extended-arm plank, wrists directly below shoulders. Pull right knee into chest and across the body toward the left elbow, engaging the core. Extend the leg back to the start position and do a quick “hop switch” to repeat with the left knee, bringing the left knee across the body toward the right elbow. Repeat for 30 seconds.
2D. Triceps Push-Up and Bodyweight Triceps Extension
Start in extended-arm plank. Rotate the crease of the elbows forward and shift shoulders over wrists, keeping core tight. Lower shoulders to elbow height, elbows skimming the sides of the body. Do not allow shoulders to come lower than elbow height to protect the rotator cuff. (And remember, there’s no shame dropping to the knees for this one!) After completing the triceps push-up, press back to a downward dog. Keeping hips in downward dog position, rotate elbows in and tap them to the floor for a bodyweight triceps extension. Alternate the two movements for 30 seconds.
3A. Lateral Lunge to Lateral Raise
12 to 15 reps (per leg)
Step out to right side, bending right leg and keeping left leg straight. Sit back into right hip, sticking rear out. Keeping toes and knees facing forward, chest lifted, and core tight, push from right heel to standing position. Perform lateral raise by extending the weights from the hips to a parallel position with the floor, elbows bent slightly, tipping the pinkies toward the ceiling like you are pouring a pitcher of water. Complete 12 to 15 reps per leg.
3B. Plyometric Lateral Lunge
Start in lateral lunge position as above. Catching air, kick leg towards the other, landing in lateral lunge position on opposite side. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.
3C. Floating Lunges
20 to 30 seconds
Start in extended-arm plank, core tight. Place right foot outside of right wrist, heel down. Drive hips up and hop left foot to the outside of left wrist, bringing right leg back to starting position. Continue alternating for 20 to 30 seconds. (To modify, alternate without the hop.)
3D. Knee-to-Outside-Elbow Push-Up
12 reps (6 per knee)
Start in basic push-up position, hands wider than shoulder width. Perform a push-up, then bring right knee to the outside of your right elbow. Perform a second push-up, this time bringing left knee to the outside of your left elbow. Continue alternating for 12 reps (6 per knee).
4A. Single-Leg Deadlift to Biceps Curl
12 to 15 reps
Stand on your right leg and lift left knee to chest, holding weights by your sides. Extending left leg behind the body, hinge forward with a flat back, lifting the left leg at the same rate that you lower the upper body. Keep back flat in tabletop position. (Right knee should stay soft the entire time.) As you pull back to a standing balance, squeeze the right butt cheek. Once standing tall, perform biceps curl. Complete 12 to 15 reps on right leg and then move on to exercise 4B before repeating on the left.
4B. Plyometric Single-Leg Deadlift
20 to 30 seconds
After last rep of the compound move (4A), hinge into deadlift one last time to put the weight on the ground, then turn the movement into a plyo by catching air under the foot when your come up to standing. Keep core tight, squeezing glute of working side. Once you have completed moves 4A and 4B on the right side, do the same on the left side.
4C. Mountain Climbers
Start in an extended-arm plank, wrists directly below shoulders. Pull right knee into chest and across the body toward left elbow, engaging the core. Extend the leg back to the start position adding a quick “hop switch” to repeat with the left knee, bringing the left knee across the body toward right elbow. Continue alternating for 30 seconds.
4D. Crouching Tiger Push-up
30 seconds (or 8 to 10 reps)
Start in basic push-up position, hands wider than shoulder width, feet hip-width apart. Lower body into the contraction of the push-up. Once holding the contraction, bend both knees and slide the body back toward the hips (pressing through the shoulders and lats) until knees are two inches off the ground and directly below the hips. Then, lift hips to the ceiling as they would be in downward dog. Lastly, perform a rolling wave, articulating the spine (drawing the navel toward the spine) to return to the start position. (This is a circular motion.) Repeat for 30 seconds or 8 to 10 reps.