Circuit Training Basics
Exercises are completed one after another with little to no rest in between. Once one circuit is finished, a short rest period is taken, and everything is repeated starting with the first exercise.
Typically, muscle groups are worked individually. It is also possible to create a circuit involving full body exercises. This type of training is popular because it burns more calories, increases the metabolism, and takes less time than other workouts that are not organized in a circuit style.
These three steps will get you started on your circuit training fitness journey.
Step One: Plan The Workout
Circuit workouts are performed best when everything is planned before the body begins motion. This eliminates any confusion over what to do next since everything is completed in quick succession. One way to organize a circuit workout is by starting with an upper body exercise, then a lower body, a core, and finally a full body movement. Here is an example of this program design:
Exercise One: Tricep Pushup
Exercise Two: Walking Lunge
Exercise Three: Plank
Exercise Four: Jumping Jack
Complete 15 of each with no rest before moving on to the next movement. After all four are done, rest for thirty seconds before repeating. Do this a total of five times. As your fitness level improves you can add more exercises, more sets of the circuit, or more repetitions per exercise. Use a good stopwatch to time your rest accurately. Below are more workout plans that follow this format. Try a different one each week.
Exercise One: Pull-Up
Exercise Two: Squat
Exercise Three: Sit Up
Exercise Four: Jump Rope
Exercise One: Bench Dip
Exercise Two: Box Step Up
Exercise Three: Abdominal Crunch
Exercise Four: Burpee
Exercise One: Curl
Exercise Two: Calf Raise
Exercise Three: Bicycle
Exercise Four: Sprint
Step Two: Mix Up The Format
Once you are familiar with putting together a list of four exercises, you can push yourself to add more variety. You can add more full body exercises to make each round more intense.
Try to mix some easier exercises in between the most challenging ones in order to complete the entire circuit. Remember, no rest until the end. Here are examples of longer and more comprehensive circuits.
Exercise One: Mountain Climber
Exercise Two: Overhead Press
Exercise Three: Floor Wipers
Exercise Four: Push Ups
Exercise Five: High Knees
Exercise Six: Jump Squat
Exercise Seven: Leg Lifts
Exercise One: Butt Kicks
Exercise Two: Clean and Press
Exercise Three: Deadlift
Exercise Four: Box Jumps
Exercise Six: Inch Worm
Exercise Seven: Wall Sit
Step Three: Make It More Challenging
Adding equipment can test your strength and balance. Alternatively, combining exercises can add a calorie burning boost.
Exercise One: Lunges with a Medicine Ball
Exercise Two: Squat to Press
Exercise Three: Plank to Push Up
Exercise Four: Stability Ball Crunch
Exercise Five: Stability Ball Leg Curl
Exercise Six: Side Plank (make sure to do both sides)
Some additional items you may want to add to your collection include the following:
-Medicine Balls of various weights
-Stainless Steel Water Bottle
-Pull Up Bar
-Weight Lifting Gloves
-Notebook and Pen (to track your progress)
Another way to mix up your circuit workouts is by taking them to new and challenging terrain. Train in water or a swimming pool, run up hills, do laps around a track, or use the sand at the beach as a natural resistance. Wearing weighted ankle and wrist bands will make it harder to complete any body weight circuit exercises. Using them would be another way to eliminate carrying around bulky equipment if you are working out in a small space or traveling.
Suspension trainers such as the TRX are lightweight tools that can change the way common exercises are performed. They can be tied to a tree or doorway to provide on the spot resistance. Suspension trainers also can work in circuit workouts by testing your balance and incorporating more muscle groups into a given movement. Use them for planks, lunges, squats, rows, curls, and a number of other exercises.
Circuit training is less about which exercises you do and more about keeping yourself moving. As long as you hit all areas of the body twice a week and make it hard enough to break a sweat, you will do just fine.
It would be a wise idea to plan some workouts without equipment using just your bodyweight. You will also want to incorporate new pieces of gear to encourage your body to grow. Circuit workouts are great because they can be done outside, at home, or in a gym. They can also be completed alone or with a group of friends.
Circuit training for me is fun but what is your experience? do you enjoy this kind of fitness or is it to much for beginners?
I would love to know your opinion on circuit training good or bad let me know in the comments box below.
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