Looking for a fast-paced, effective workout system that you won’t get bored with after a few weeks? Consider circuit training! This method combines cardio and strength training for a full-body workout in a short time frame, usually half an hour. It’s a flexible fitness philosophy that can be tailored to any level and goal.
What is Circuit Training?
Circuit training is made up of 6-10 exercise stations that target different muscle groups.
Aim to include an upper body exercise, lower-body exercise, compound exercise, and high-intensity cardio. For example, start with push-ups (upper body), then forward lunges (lower body) and burpees (compound), and finally use the stationary bike for your cardio.
For each exercise, complete 10-25 reps over a short period of time, up to three minutes.
Top 5 Best Circuit Exercises
While any training regime will be highly personalized, you can garner some ideas from this roundup and maybe select a few. Each circuit is organized by goal so you can choose the best for you.
Athletic Conditioning Circuit
This intense plan trains the body to compete under many conditions while keeping your heart rate up.
3. Bench press or dip
4. Run 200-400m
5. Push press
Used alone, circuit training isn’t an efficient way to build strength. However, completing this circuit with weights will help build resistance and tone.
2. Bench Press
3. Weighted Sit-ups
4. Calf raises
5. Bent-over row
Combined with good nutrition, these circuit exercises can help you burn fat fast.
1. Jumping jacks
4. Stationary bike
5. Dumbbell lateral raise
6. Mountain climber
Circuit training is a good way to maintain your fitness, and these circuit exercises are great for a day when you’re low on time or your off day.
2. One arm rows
4. Seated curls
5. Bicep machine
No Equipment Circuit
Whether you’re on the road or working out at home, bodyweight exercises are a great way to get your heart rate up without equipment.
1. Jumping jacks
4. Bodyweight row
5. Mountain climbers
The beauty of this workout system is its flexibility. The circuits can include as many or as few exercises as you want– the standard is around 6. You can switch up the order to complete stations from day-to-day, or completely change-up the exercises.
Revamping your circuits is encouraged to help cut down on boredom.
Time can be a major constraint when it comes to fitness goals. Especially for a busy professional or student, it can be hard to squeeze in a trip to the gym. Circuit training, however, takes almost no time at all, with most people completing theirs in half an hour.
Circuit training works for almost all training levels and goals too. After choosing your exercises, the way you complete them will also vary based on individual needs. Push yourself as hard as you want by varying intensity and how fast you change stations.
In an age where many are skipping the gym in favor of a home gym, circuit training works perfectly. There are plenty of exercises you can complete with little to no equipment that will round out any circuit training regime.
You can even take it outside or to the trails, stepping off to do bodyweight exercises in between running or biking.
When you design circuits using bodyweight exercises, choose a range of exercises that target different muscle groups. Find a list of bodyweight exercises here.
While circuit training is a great way to get a complete, full-body workout, it’s not a great way to bulk up.
Instead, most people undertake circuit training to get lean and fit.
For this reason, most bodybuilders shy away from circuit training. However, it can be a good supplemental to a bodybuilding routine if completed once or twice a week.
In addition, circuit training could be a hassle if the gym is busy because in some cases you’ll need access to several machines or stations at once.
Finally, this workout method can be intense. Beginners and those suffering from heart conditions or high blood pressure need to be aware of their own fitness level and choose circuits that won’t exhaust them and cause damage.
Use these tips to get the best out of your circuit training regime.
Since this workout is focused solely on several different exercises done at a fast pace, good form is vital. It can be easy to get sloppy when you’re exercising fast, however, with some practice of each new exercise, and some focus, you should have no problem with form.
But it’s not just the new exercises that could suffer from poor form! For example, many don’t realize that they’re not doing pushups to the maximum impact. Learn how to make your pushups great again here.
Always be vigilant about your form, whether you get assistance from a trainer or find advice online.
In addition to keeping an eye on form, you want to make sure you’re nutritionally fit. You must fuel your body to see any progress and that means finding the best forms of fuel.
Everything in moderation is an old adage that still holds true, and you must make sure to listen to your appetite.
Only eat when you’re hungry, stop eating when you’re not hungry!
What you eat is going to vary based on your fitness goals. However, everyone should strive to eat more fruits and vegetables. The more color on your plate, the better!
Whether you want to add-on a few circuit sessions or make it the basis of your training, everyone can benefit from circuit training. It’s a fantastic way to achieve your goals, save time, and stay engaged with your fitness, anywhere you want.
*Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Author: Mike Jones is a passionate writer with a great interest in everything related to fitness and nutrition. “Stay ready so you won’t have to get ready!” is his favorite quote.