What is circuit training?
Circuit training is a combination of strength training and endurance training. In a circuit-training workout you complete a group, or circuit, of exercises with little or no rest in-between. Usually, one circuit consists of 6 to 10 exercises. Each exercise is performed for a set number of repetitions or period of time before moving to the next exercise. For example, you might do squats for 15 seconds, rest 15 seconds, and then do bench presses for another 15 seconds followed by a series of additional exercises. Depending on your fitness level, you might complete one circuit or several circuits during each workout.
What are the benefits of circuit training?
- You can exercise different muscle groups to get a total-body workout.
- You can build strength and aerobic endurance.
- You can burn calories and lose weight.
- It is good for people who have little time to exercise. Workouts can be completed in as little as 10 minutes.
- You can do circuit training at home or at a gym.
- You are less likely to become bored with your workout routine since you are doing a variety of exercises.
- You can make your workouts as hard or as easy as you like by modifying the amount of resistance and the length of the rest interval.
Tips and precautions?
- See your health care provider before getting started.
- Begin each workout with a 5 minute warm-up of light callisthenics such as jogging in place or jumping jacks.
- After your workout, cool down with 5 to 10 minutes of stretching.
- Listen to your body and stop if you develop any joint or muscle pain that does not go away after finishing an exercise.
- Give your body a rest. Because circuit training can be intense, avoid working out 2 days in a row.
- Start slowly. Initially you might need a 30 second rest between each exercise. After you begin to get in better shape you can reduce the length of your rest periods.
- For a more difficult workout, you can replace your rest interval with aerobic exercise, such as jogging in place.
- Every several weeks modify the exercises in your circuit, or complete different circuits in one workout.
What are some examples of circuit training workouts?
Here are two examples of circuit training workouts, the first workout can be performed at home, and the other can be performed at the gym:
Circuit-training workout #1 (Home based)
Warm-up (fast walking) - 5 minutes
- Jumping jacks - 2 minutes
- Push ups - 1 minute
- Jogging - 5 minutes
- Abdominal crunches- 2 minutes
- Squats - 1 minute
- Pull-ups - 1 minute
- Lunges - 30 seconds each leg
Circuit-training workout #2 (Gym based)
Warm-up (treadmill walking) 5 minutes
- Leg press machine - 15 reps
- Lat pull down machine - 15 reps
- Jogging on treadmill - 5 minutes
- Squats with dumbbells - 15 reps
- Military press - 15 reps
- Bicep curls - 15 reps
- Hamstring curls - 15 reps
- Abdominal crunches - 30 reps
- Cycling on stationary bike - 5 minutes
If you would like know more about circuit training, or any other types of muscle building or fitness training, head over to our muscle building forum. You can get advice from the author of this article (Doug Lawrenson) or any Muscle&Strength members.