What is circuit training?
I define circuit training as interval strength training. I also like the term “cardio-strength training”, that I first heard from Coach Robert Dos Remedios. A circuit is a sequence of exercises where the athlete (everyone is an athlete) moves from station to station in a predetermined sequence. At each station the athlete will do a certain amount of repetitions or do the exercise for a specific amount of time before moving to the next station. Between stations there can be rest periods or it can be a continuous circuit.
Why circuit training?
- Very effective at raising work capacity (conditioning).
- Great for changing body composition.
- Can be tailored to target specific areas of the body.
- Team or group training can be done safely with a large number of participants.
- Can be designed to address all aspects of fitness. It is a very versatile training method.
- A circuit can have built in regressions or progressions for each exercise allowing all levels of fitness work together.
- Great for people with minimal time to train. You can get alot of work done in a short time.
Circuit training do’s and don’ts
- The exercises must be strenuous. The work can’t be too easy. Now don’t read this as you need to be crushed from the training session. I’m saying you should feel like you worked your body hard.
- I prefer keeping the exercises simple. When you get fatigued form will break down.
- Understand the flow of the circuit. You need to know what you want out of the circuit when you design it.
Criteria for circuits
- You can set a clock and go through a series of exercises for a prescribed amount of reps, going from one exercise to the next. At BTF we call this a Density zone.
- Another format is doing each exercise for a prescribed amount of time.
- Rest between each exercise in a circuit.
- Rest between rounds of a circuit – A round is a completion of all exercises in a circuit.
An example would be as follows:
Four exercise circuit, doing each exercise for 30 seconds followed by a 15 second rest between exercises. After you complete all four exercises, take a 60 second rest. Repeat circuit.
Push ups x 30 seconds
Rest 15 seconds
Sit-ups x 30 seconds
Rest 15 seconds
Squats x 30 seconds
Rest 15 seconds
Mountain climbers x 30 seconds
Rest 60 seconds
The number of times you do each exercise. One time through a circuit counts as one round.
The amount of weights used or body weight.
For overall fitness, circuit training is great. Circuits can be constructed in so many ways that the design is endless. You can build muscle with circuits. You can build strength and muscular endurance with circuits. You can build your aerobic base with circuits. You can make a circuit biased to an individual body part – I’ll be demonstrating our super leg circuit on Facebook tomorrow during the Tuesday Talk video. Circuits can be do done with bodyweight or any implement you desire- barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells and medicine balls are all great options. You can create circuits using all of these tools! If you are bored with your training and looking for a fun, challenging way to train, circuit training is the answer.