Circuit training is basically a range of exercises for different body parts, with little or no rest in between each set. An example would be the completion of movements for the legs, then onto the chest, followed by the back, then the shoulders and so on. This form of training allows you to complete more work in less time. Something that seems to be so important to many people today, in this fast paced society.
This type of training also keeps the body guessing, something that body responds to very well. First you train the legs by doing 15 squats. The heart pumps blood to the working muscles of the legs, feeding them with oxygen and energy. Then you switch to doing a chest press. The heart then has to redirect the blood from the legs to the chest. Then you switch again to the back and once again the heart has to redirect the blood. This constant changing of blood flow works the heart much harder than doing the normal 3 sets of 8 reps on a bench press with a two-minute rest in between.
So now you are achieving a cardiovascular and fat burning workout along with strength training. The result is a unique training experience.
If you decide to do a circuit training routine do not pick exercises at random. To get and effective workout and achieve efficient results a proper exercise selection and repetition range should be designed.
There are two types of movement that takes place when weight training and these are single-joint and multi-joint movements. Single joint, as the name implies, is just that, were only one joint is involved such as the elbow in an arm curl, or the knee joint in leg extensions and leg curls.
The other is multi joint and this should be what most of the exercises in a circuit training routine should consist of. An example of a multi joint exercise would be a chest press, were the shoulder joint and the elbow joint are used to push the weight up. Squatting is another multi joint exercise. Here the knees and the hips combine to complete the exercise.
The reason multi joint exercises are more effective is that more than one muscle group is involved and therefore the heart has to work harder, increasing the cardiovascular effect. Multi joint training is also more in tune with normal muscle and joint movements that take place during every day activities and sport. Therefore the results from circuit training, translates very well from the gym to the court or the field or just playing with the kids.
You are less likely for you to suffer from joint or muscle injury doing circuit training. Because you are getting little to no rest between the exercises, the weight you would normally use in a standard training session has to be reduced and in doing so you lessen the stress on the muscles and joints.
A circuit can have as few as 5 exercises, or as many as ten or even more. The number of repetitions should be no less than eight and no more than 25. Circuit training has an unlimited amount of variations. You can use machines or free weights or both. Throw in a medicine ball, Kettlebells or a Swiss ball into the mix. All this adds fun and excitement and keeps the workout fresh and reduces boredom.
For the advanced athlete you can take the training one step further with High Intensity Interval Training. Performing every exercise to near muscular failure and then incorporating cardiovascular aspects such as sprints characterize this training. Basically the trainee is pushed beyond perceived limits.
Circuit training will not turn you into a bodybuilder but it can be performed by exercises of all fitness levels from the beginner to the advanced athlete. It will also make you fit and healthy, the main reason we exercise in the first place.
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