Circuit Training: A great form of exercise and how to use it to your workout?

Introduction: Cardio or strength? That is the question that people have trouble answering. Whether you want to improve fitness or target fat, both methods are a great way to burn fat. But is it possible to do both in the same workout session? The answer is Yes, as long as you follow the guideline, caution, and recommendation, doing both cardio and strength can help you a lot.

What is Circuit Training: Circuit training defined as a combination of cardio and strength exercises to develop cardiorespiratory endurance and muscle strength fitness.  This method has become popular since its development in the 1950s. This can help to combine cardio and strength instead of sticking to one form of exercise. You can do this in the gym or at home depending on what kind of equipment you have. However, there are guidelines to follow if you want to stick to just circuit training.

Guideline:

I took the guidelines from the article “Step-By-Step Guide to Designing a Circuit Training Program” by Jacky Anderson from the website jenreviews.com. There are three specific goals to consider. General fitness goal is to improve fitness in cardio and strength region. Basic strength development goal is for those who want to train early in the pre-season to prepare the body for intense work. A strength endurance development goal is to help prevent muscles from fatigue quicker for athletic performances like soccer, track and field, or marathon running.

*These images credited from the link https://www.jenreviews.com/circuittraining/

Circuit training parameters

Circuit training parameters for strength endurance training

Circuit training parameters for strength endurance training

Benefits:

-Targets fat

This can help with fat loss like belly fat, upper body fat, and lower body fat.

-Burn calories

Depending on the effort, intensity, and time you decided to go at, calories burn can go from estimate 300-500 calories.

-Improve fitness

Circuit training can help to strengthen or improve muscle strength and VO2max for general fitness or better prepared for the competition season.

-Strengthen the entire body (major muscles)

Circuit training is mainly for full body workout. Choosing exercises like squat, bench press, lunges, plank, or any other exercises can help to strengthen some major muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, core muscles, pectoralis major, deltoid, and latissimus dorsi.

-It’s fun

Circuit training beats boredom; you get to have fun while exercising for positive results.

Caution: As much benefits circuit training can give you, there is some caution to follow. Make sure you are hydrated before, during, and after the workout to avoid cramp or dehydration. It is recommended to drink 16 ounces 1-2 hours before exercise and then drink 8 ounces 15-30 min before exercise. Eat a pre-workout snack to energize your body for a workout. Some snacks I’ve tried that had worked are Clif bars, oranges, fruit snacks, and banana. Make sure to eat them 1 hour or 30 min before working out. WARM UP and COOLDOWN. These two components are important to get an effective circuit training. Do at least 5-10 min of a dynamic warm-up and 5-10 min of static stretches. FOLLOW THE GUIDELINE.

Recommendation: I recommend to have a music playlist to help you get through the workout. Water or sports drinks are good to have during the workout. I recommend using www.intervaltimer.com to help keep track of the work and rest interval to avoid confusion.

Sample program:

Sets: 1-3

Rest per set: 30 sec

Rest per circuit: 2-3 min

Weight: Weights that can help you last between 30 sec-90 sec

Work: 60 sec

  1. Goblet squat
  2. DB Bench Press
  3. Lateral jump Alternating Shoulder Press
  4. Plank (Running or mountain climbers)
  5. Alternating Shoulder Press
  6. Bent Over Row
  7. Skull Crusher
  8. Bicep Curls
  9. Cross Jacks
  10. Sit-ups
women doing exercise raising left hands while holding dumbbells inside room
Photo credit to bruce mars at https://unsplash.com/photos/WGN6ZEFEZbs

Conclusion:

Circuit training is good to target fat. If you follow the guideline, then you can get fit, look good, and feel good. This method is good to fit in cardio and strength instead of just cardio or just strength. Make sure you start out slow if you’re new to this. After 2-4 weeks, progress your circuit training in order to see the results better. HAVE FUN.

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Reference:

Anderson, J. (2018, September 12). Step-By-Step Guide To Designing a Circuit Training Program. Retrieved from https://www.jenreviews.com/circuittraining/

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