I am coming back from an injury so I need to go back to basics. Circuit training is a great way to do resistance training and aerobic training in one workout. This has been the key to my weight loss success. I lost 30 pounds using this method for many of my workouts. The main idea is to select a certain number of exercises, and go from one exercise to the next with little or no rest, until you’ve completed all of them.
A typical circuit training workout includes about 8-10 exercises. After completing one exercise, instead of resting, you move quickly to the next exercise. A great way to work the entire body is to include muscular strength and cardio endurance exercises. It’s also a good idea to alternates muscle groups, such as upper body, lower body and core.
Circuit Training typically alternates 1-2 sets of resistance exercise with brief bouts of cardiovascular exercise like jogging in place, jumping jacks, etc.). Intervals can last anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Depending on your fitness level and goals, you can complete 1 or more circuits in a 30-60 minute session.
Advantages of Circuit Training
Issues with boredom and time are frequent reasons for giving up on an exercise routine. Circuit training offers a practical solution for both. It is a great way to keep exercise interesting and saves time. You’ll also burn a decent amount of calories. In one hour, an average person can burn about 300 calories at moderate intensity and over 500 calories at a more vigorous intensity.
You can create an endless number of combinations and design every workout to match your mood or specific training goal. If you belong to a gym, see if they offer a group circuit-training class. It can be an excellent way to discover new exercises you might not have tried on your own.
The Home Circuit Training Workout
Set up strength and cardio stations indoors or outdoors. For strength exercises, do push-ups, planks and lunges, using your own body weight. You can also use dumbbells, or resistance bands. Cardio could include going up and down stairs, marching or jogging in place, running up and down the driveway, or jumping rope.
At the Gym
Check to see, if your gym offers circuit training classes. Another option is to work with a personal trainer. They can help build a custom circuit training workout using a variety of equipment.
At the Park
See if you can find a fitness trail, or parcourse at a parks near you. The parcourse typically consists of walking trails with exercise stations located along the way. But even if your local park doesn’t have a circuit set-up, you can create your own circuit by alternating brisk walking, bicycling or running on a trail with push-ups, dips, and squats, incorporating things found in nature, such as a tree or park bench.
Turn Up the Heat
If you’ve been doing circuit training for a while and are ready to push harder, try these ideas:
Boost your intensity. If your strength sets are feeling too easy, increase the resistance or choose a different exercise that works the same muscle group. Take your cardio intervals up a notch by accelerating or adding another cardio exercise.
Shorten your time intervals. If you’re currently doing 2-minute cardio intervals, shorten them by 30 seconds. This will keep you moving faster through the circuit, allowing you to complete more stations in the same amount of time.
Do a backward circuit. If you always complete your circuit in the same direction, start at the opposite end to challenge your body and your brain in a new way.
Circuit training provides a lot of flexibility to set up a program and even try different moves with each workout. Have fun and be creative. You can aim to cover your entire body or focus on different areas like lower body or core. When you do the exercises with little to no down time, your heart rate stays in an aerobic zone.
The other thing great about circuits is that they can really be used for all fitness levels. A beginner can try 6-8 moves for about 20 minutes, while an advanced exerciser might go through 10-15 moves, and perhaps 2-3 sets for a total of 60 minutes.