You know why circuit training is so popular today? It’s because people are just busy. And circuit training allows you to get a heck of a lot done, in a short, focused amount of time.
Circuit Training has become increasingly popular as – like me, people wanna get a varied intense quick workout. Although I’m a big fan of targetied muscle group training i.e your “typical bodybuilder meathead workouts like Monday chest day, Tuesday back etc, Circuit Training gives me more variety from time to time. This makes my workouts less regimented and more interesting.
Later in this article I will lay out to you 6 advantages of Circuit Training, and before you know it you and your friends will be hooked!
With this being said… it’s now time to first explain what Circuit Training involves
Circuit Training involves pairing together between 6 to 10 different exercises back to back with little or no rest in between each exercise. These exercises can be of your choice. Most of the time the exercises chosen are combined to work the whole body. Bodyweight or exercises involving equipment such as barbells, steps, jump ropes, kettlebells, and dumbbells can be used. The beauty of Circuit Training is that you can pick and choose workouts that are suitable for you. You can go from a standing shoulder press to 30 seconds of star jumps. Workouts generally last from 30 to 45 minutes.
This brings me on to the first advantage
1. Suitable to your level of fitness
People often get put off by fitness because a lot of the time the workouts or even classes are tailored to a level which is impossible for that person to perform effectively. For example, if you make someone with bad knees do burpees or jumping lunges they are just going to injure themselves and most likely feel intimidated and incompetent. Circuit Training allows you to tailor your workout to your level of fitness by creating exercises which are challenging but capable of doing. So, if you have sore knees you don’t have to do squat jumps or burpees, you can create an array of low impact exercises instead. I’ve seen and spoken to soo many people who are so demotivated by the gym because they 1 – either wonder around like a lost chicken, do a couple of machines, get bored and then go home or 2 – have no structure to their workouts and feel like everything they do is wrong or even impossible for them. Circuit Training provides structure with exact exercises set in place at exact times.
2. Calorie burner and heart pumper
Circuit training is likely to get your heart racing and burn a sh**tload of calories due to the high number of exercises performed consecutively and short rest time. You can burn up to 500 calories in 45 minutes if you create a circuit with hard enough exercises and short rest periods. It is because you only have 30 or 45 seconds per exercise that you are most likely to push as many reps out of that time as possibly, therefore expending high levels of energy. It is recommended that a Myzone Belt or any other heart rate monitor is worn during this training to monitor your heart rate and push yourself that bit harder. You are likely to hit ranges of between 70, 80 and 90% of your Max HR.
The beauty of circuit training is that it allows you to change up your workouts whenever you choose. One day you can do an upper body focused circuit consisting of shoulder and arms exercises as well as cardio based jumping ones, and another day you can focus on legs and core based exercises. The choice is yours, you never have to do the same workouts. It allows you to change workouts to hit the whole body. Whats important to understand is that you are working soo many more muscles than just running on a treadmill or riding on a bike. Through creating intense full body exercises and performing them back to back you are putting your body through metabolic stress resulting in EPOC (Excess post-exercises oxygen consumption) still burning calories long after your workout. What’s more, I don’t know about you but I find it mind-numbingly boring running on a treadmill or hopping on a cross trainer most of the time. For me, it is hugely repetitive.
4. Circuit Training – Anywhere, anytime, little or no equipment
It doesn’t matter where in the world you are. You could be in a garden, forest or beach. Or even a businessman or woman being put up in a hotel for the day with limited time and no gym, all you need is a small room or space with which to work with. No equipment is needed and all it takes is 20 minutes.
Here’s How It’s Done:
Six bodyweight exercises (Jumping jacks, air squats, lunges, press-ups, bicycle crunches, plank).
Round 1 –
30 seconds each exercise with no rest in between. Take a 2 minute break at the end of the round.
Round 2 –
40 seconds per exercise with no rest in between. Take a 2 minute break at the end of the round.
Round 3 –
1 minute per exercise with 30 seconds rest in between each.
Rest assured by the end of this workout you would have most definitely be breaking a sweat, not to mention your muscles having had a proper workout.
5. Targets all parts of the body
Unlike the treadmill, cross trainer or bike, you can target your whole body via setting up various stations working different muscles at each one.
Smash your biceps and triceps with barbell curls and triceps dips using a bench or step.
Set your delts on fire with barbell military presses, overhead presses, dumbbell lateral raises or even resistance band lateral and front raises.
Press-ups are always a great one to fatigue the chest and get the blood blowing, alternatively bench presses and dumbbell flys are good options too.
Lower back extensions or supermans will build lower back strength, as well as, barbell or dumbbell rows working on upper back, lat and core strength.
Of course the choice of these exercises are endless, so you could start from basic squats and lunges to more advanced variations. Not to mention glute bridges, deadlifts and step-ups.
Planks, Side-Planks, Russian twists, V-sit holds, V-ups, bird dogs, will all help strengthen your core.
Now this is where you can throw in exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers, high knees, jumping jacks and speed skaters to really get the heart pumping and burn those extra calories you so badly seek.
6. Health benefits
Circuit training is great for weight loss, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The moderate to high intensity compound exercises involved in circuit training help burn fat fast. Furthermore, the feeling you get from working your arse off in a short space of time is simply incredible. That satisfaction you get is amazing. And, I dunno about you but my energy levels for the rest of the day are crazy!
Now that I have laid out 6 advantages of circuit training for you, I hope you are ready to kick ass with this wherever you are in the world. You should now be ready and excited to mix up your workouts, putting your own twist on things.