Circuit training is a form of training combining resistance training and high-intensity aerobics. It is designed to be easy to follow and group friendly. It targets strength building as well as endurance. An exercise “circuit” is one completion of all the exercises contained in the program. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for another circuit. For maximum benefit, the time between exercises in circuit training is short, often non-existent save for moving to or setting up the next exercise. It’s an amazing addition to any fitness regime.
The most common type of exercises in circuit training include quick-moving heart-pounders, designed to really tax your body and make your muscles burn. You’ll most often combine these with a body-weight strength move that targets the powerhouse muscles of your core.
When you begin circuit training it’s best to seek out a class or a personal trainer so you build a series of movements right for you. Always ensure that the activities remains safe and effective by observing technique, posture, and form (this is what an instructor or personal trainer will show you).
Circuit training begins with the first circuit, moving from one exercise to the next without stopping. Rest for 30 seconds to a minute, then repeat the circuit to exhaustion (for maximum benefit).
Circuit training may be performed with exercise machines, hydraulic equipment, hand-held weights, elastic resistance or any combination of exercises. An effective means of improving strength endurance (or muscular endurance).
Let’s break down the pros and cons to circuit training:
Advantages of circuit training
Can provide a whole body workout.
Does not require expensive gym equipment as a necessity.
Group friendly, allowing beginners to be guided and motivated by more experienced individuals.
Can be adapted for any size workout area.
Can be customized for your sport or goals (for example a flat stomach).
Potential to burn more calories than conventional aerobic exercise or strength training, both during and post-workout (increase in post workout metabolism) – exceptional for those attempting to lose body fat
Disadvantages of circuit training
Circuit training is less suitable for building muscle bulk and strength (not necessarily a problem when seeking a flat stomach.
It can be difficult to start a regime unaided and alone (though it’s never advisable to start exercising without consulting a doctor or professional to discuss your goals).
Circuit training is highly recommended with very few drawbacks – if you combine a regular circuit training night with an existing regime and a healthy diet you will notice sizeable gains in performance and excellent losses in fat!