Erin Lanahan Method

Signature method to get fit from the inside out!

Workout Wednesday- “E.L.M. Circuit Training” July 1, 2009

Here is a cool video displaying an example of a full body circuit…WOOP WOOP!!!


OK so today I want to talk specifically about the workout I personally do, and one I highly recommend. I have had a lot of readers ask me to elaborate so here it is folks:) I will do my best to be as specific and detailed as possible. Anything you don’t understand, please bring to my attention!

In my opinion, this way of  full body circuit training, is fun, it changes things up, it gets quick and long term results, and has maximum efficiency. I also find it’s a great way to rehab an injured body back to healthy strength, as well as being an effective workout to prevent injury, as it supports lots of rest and recovery. These days, I only use weights 2-3 times a week, with an occasional week of 4 days (which is rare). After college, I learned very quickly that I needed a way to get as much out of my time as possible. That’s when I began searching for a way to combine all the things I feel are important to the foundation of  achieving the best body one can have.

This workout plan works great for me because it increased my lean muscle mass and decreased my body fat quickly, without requiring a whole lot of time. Whereas I use to workout split body parts, which required no less than 5 days/week of weights, and I get better results now than I did then. Now I circuit train 2-3 days a week, and do lunges and stadium sprints once a week. On Monday I will circuit train and probably run 20-30 minutes, Tuesday typically I’ll run about 40 mins, Wednesday Circuit Training or off, Thursday UCLA lunges and sprints and I’ll do a short core and abs/balance and stability/and upper body workout. Fridays, depending on Wednesday, will be off or circuit Training. Usually I take completely off both Saturday and Sunday. If I feel like it I may hike or do a beach run, or possibly throw in another circuit day.  I seem to maintain more lean muscle working out this way because my muscles get so much recovery time and are never over-trained like they use to be. I am much more pain free, in fact I am completely pain free and therefore when I do train, I train hard!!! I love it because I don’t get sick of it!!! Working out should never feel like a chore, and if it does? Talk to me:)

I tend to do sets of 10-15 reps, as heavy as I can. Guys or girls trying to build muscle, can do sets of 6-10 reps, as heavy as you can. Also, diet plays a big part in how much size you loose or gain. So if you are wanting to gain weight, you gotta eat a lot!!! Also be sure to eat right. For further information about what that means, eat right, let me know your questions and comments here on the blog! If you are wanting to loose weight, we just keep your weight at a good amount to max out on 15 reps on everything, and you eat a very clean, low glycemic, well balanced diet (I am not a nutritionist, but for more information and tips for help, please leave your questions/comments here for me:).

So I am going to take you through an example of how you can put together your full body circuit workout. There is not just one correct way to do it, so it’s more important I teach you the formula behind it, a.k.a. E.L.M, so you can put your own workouts together, cool??? The point here, is to create a workout that stimulates every muscle group fom top to bottom, inside and out, and that connects the body through movement and the opening up of locked range of motion, thereby manifesting results of a tighter, leaner, stronger body. Down the road, in future posts, I will talk more about multi-jointed movements and functional training. As a result, I will be teaching more about the concept of using more than one muscle group at a time, simultaneaously, in one exercise 😉 OK…

First of all, I start every workout with myofascial release, where you can learn more about on the post I just published call Spotlight Insight- “Roll With Us.” I do this at least 3-4 times a week. I release my piriformus, psoas, quads, hamstrings, lats, inner thighs, IT bands, calves, lats, lower back, chest, bi’s, tri’s, shoulders, and abs!!!

Warm up: (This is very important to the workout, so I am going to be discussing this, as well as active stretching, and posting it next Wednesday, so stay tuned!!!)

I am going to list 3 exercises under each exercise category. This way you have three choices to use for each circuit. You will pick one from each category, moving down the list from first to last group, until you complete the full body, biggest muscle groups before smaller ones. Then you will repeat the circuit. Either you can do the same exercises each time for each muscle group, or you can pick a completely different one and basically do a completely different circuit on the 2nd set around. This makes it easier for those who tend to get bored. I sometimes do 3 sets of all the same or I switch it up, and I base that decission on the mood I am in:) I just go in to the gym to play and have fun and do my thing. It’s for me time:)

Please see below for the workout choices:

Lat Pull Down:

1) Pull-ups (assisted, with a spot, or using entire body weight) 

2) Pully straight bar seated lat pull downs (Can use wide grip, shoulder width grip, or narrow, under-hand grip)

3) Single side pully seated lat pull downs (using a handle attachment)

Chest: (I am giving a few more than 3 choices here)

1) Body Weight push-ups or decline push-ups

2) Flat bench dumbell (or straight bar) chest press

3) Resistance band chest press or seated Horizontal flys

ACTIVE CHEST PRESS (Stay tuned next week. I will be discussing the warm-up and active stretches)


1) Alternating Reverse lunges

2) Split squats (you will learn what these are next week, on Workout Wednesday). Depending on your level of strength, hold a plate anywhere from 5-45 lbs in front of you, chest up, shoulders back, belly button squeezing in towards spine, pulling plate into your body. Keep back glute tight the entire way up AND down. Bend both knees simutaneously, lunging straight down, into the middle of each leg, and explode off both feet, fire those glutes, and press/squeeze back up to beginning position.

3) Leg press or Single side leg press

Core: (This category, as well as all the others, can be advanced by using things such as the TRX, bands, etc. But for now I will give choices without using too much extra equipment, and down the road we can talk more about how and when to use theTRX, bands, etc:)

1) Plank Hold–  for beginners. Elbows on floor, shoulder width apart, flat body, up on toes, long body,  feet are shoulder width apart, shoulders, hips, and ankles are aligned with each other. For more advanced– Plank using ball and bench. Ex) Place elbows on the bench, grabbing side to hold yourself. Place the lower shins on a big stability ball. Hold plank and press hips straight up to ceiling and back down to plank for 10 reps total. 

2) side plank hold – 30-60 seconds

3) Torso twist (with cable pullys, or resistance bands)

Back Rows:

1) Seated Rows

2) Horizontal Pull-ups

3) Single side Dumbell row

ACTIVE LAT STRETCH: 15 seconds/side (stay tuned for next Workout Wednesday to find out about what this is)


1) Seated dumbell shoulder press, both sides at a time

2) Single side standing dumbell shoulder press

3) Alternating standing or seated dumbell shoulder press


1) Lay down, horizontal hamstring curl machine

2) Bent leg Deadlifts

3) Single Side Hamstring curl machine or Stability ball hamstring curls

ACTIVE HIP STRETCH (Tune in to next Wednesdays workout post for more info on what this is!)


1) Standing dumbell curls, both sides simultaneously

2) Alternating dumbell curls seated or standing

3) Dumbell curls alternating or simultaneously, but standing on the BOSU Ball.


1) Straight pull down tri-cep extension with rope

2) Tri-cep press extensions over the  head with rope

3) Bent over tri-cep kickbacks, single side, with dumbbell


Repeat circuit for 2 more sets around, using the same exercise from each category per set or a different one. Stay tuned for future posts to find out more information about the TRX, resistance bands, active stretching, and myofascial release!

If you have any questions/comments on the workout I do and love, please post them here on the blog:) Here’s To Your Health!!!


Just another cool video I thought would help show you how to start thinking outside the box!


2 Responses to “Workout Wednesday- “E.L.M. Circuit Training””

  1. Mitch Harris Says:

    Thank you so much for the detailed information. This is really going to help me!

    Mitch Harris

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