Circuit Training

Circuit training is a method of resistance or weight training, based around performing a set number of exercises in a row, with little or no rest between each. The most important component of circuit training is to take little rest in between sets, whether of the same or different exercises, thereby maximising the volume of work done in a short period of time. You can set up as many or as few stations as you like, vary the exercises and body parts as you want, and can make the circuit time as long or short as you wish. As circuit training is a type of interval training it is a great way to increase the body’s ability to burn calories when it is at rest. Circuit training, and interval training overall, increases the amount of oxygen that a person consumes post exercise, and therefore, increases the number of calories that a person burns throughout the day, which can result in a decrease in body weight.

Benefits of Circuit Training

  • Time efficient – you can get an effective full body workout in a relatively short amount of time.
  • Cardio & strength – if you enjoy cardio but know you should do weight training (or visa versa) you can combine them so you don’t have to suffer through a session of the non-preferred.
  • Beat the boredom – because you are constantly moving constantly and doing different things each time you are less likely to get bored.
  • Burn fat – The combination of HIIT and weight lifting kicks your metabolism into high gear burning more calories both during the workout and for up to 48 hours after.
  • You don’t need a gym – you can choose exercises that use weights or equipment, or you can simply use body-weight exercises, meaning you can do it anywhere (park, backyard etc).

How to Build a Workout

  • Selected your time limit – eg. 6 stations/exercises, 1 minute for each exercise, repeat for 5 circuits equals 30 minutes.
  • Choose your exercises – you can choose a different exercise each round or repeat the same exercises each time.
    • Pick an upper body exercises – eg. push ups, dips, shoulder press
    • Pick a lower body exercise – eg. walking lunges, Swiss ball hamstring curls, sumo squat
    • Pick a compound move – an exercise that works multiple muscles or your whole body and get your heart rate up. eg. Mountain climbers, kettlebell swings, Thrusters (squat to shoulder press).
    • Pick a core/abdominal exercise – eg. crunches, Russian twist, leg raises.
    • Pick a cardio exercise – eg. Skipping, rowing, stair climbing.
  • Rest for 1 full minute at the end of the round and repeat 4 more times.

If you are starting out you choose alter the 1 minute exercise time to be 45 seconds work/15 seconds rest. Your heart rate will go up very high, return to a lower but still elevated state, and then goes up very high again. At no point during the round does your heart rate return to its resting rate, so this type of variation in time will still be just as effective.

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