What is circuit training?
Circuit training is a great way to train the whole body in a short space of time. A circuit can be made up of at least 2 exercises that are performed one after the other. Some circuits can have 10-15 exercises all performed one after the other, whilst other circuits may only have 3 or 4.
You can also have mini circuits as part of a workout, so for example you’ve trained everything except your legs, but are running out of time. So you pick 4 exercises that focus on legs and perform them one after the other, 10 reps of dumbbell squats followed by 8 walking lunges, then 12 leg extensions, and 10 kettle bell goblet squats. Have a rest and then repeat.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Benefits of circuit training
The main benefits of circuit training is that you can get a lot of exercises done, at a high intensity, in a short period of time. You can work the whole body or concentrate on one or two muscle groups and perform a range of exercises. Another advantage is that you can train by yourself or with 10 people and nobody has to wait in line.
When designing your own circuit training workout there are a few things you should first consider
How much time do you have to spare, and how much time should each circuit take. What number of exercises do you want to do and should they be concentrating on one or two muscle groups, or on everything. What equipment do you have available, and how much space will you require. Will you be on your own or with others.
What weight should you use for certain exercises – for example, you can’t have too heavy a weight for a squat if you are going to be performing the exercise non-stop for 30 seconds!
You should also consider what type of circuit you are going to use. Will it be free-weights, bodyweight, resistance machines, kettlebells, or a combination. Here are a few examples of circuits you could try.
Example circuit 1. Full-Body circuit
45 seconds of continuous exercise and 30 seconds rest. This example uses multiple pieces of equipment and is an example of how creative you can get when making your own. You could add a few bodyweight exercises, maybe some skipping, or perhaps a cable machine. Make sure you choose lighter weights as exercising continuously for 45 seconds is hard work
– Press Ups
– Barbell Bent over row
– Dumbbell Shoulder Press
– Kettlebell deadlift
– Kettlebell front squat
– Alternating Barbell Lunges
Example circuit 2. Super set circuit
Super sets are mini circuits within a workout, basically you are picking two exercises and performing them one after the other with no rest between the two. You can either use the same muscles (e.g. 2 chest exercises) or use antagonistic muscle pairs – muscles that are opposite each other (Back and chest, bicep and tricep, quadricep and hamstring etc …). In this example I have paired different muscle groups together to ensure that this is a whole body workout.
– Bench Press 3 x 15-20
– Lat Pulldown 3 x 15-20
– T-Bar Row 3 x 10-15
– Barbell Front Raise 3 x 10
– Walking Lunges 3 x 20
– Stiff Legged Deadlifts 3 x 10-15
Example circuit 3. Giant set circuit
Similar to the super set circuit except giant sets use 3 or more exercises as a mini circuit. Again you can either use the same muscles or use antagonistic muscle pairs. In this example I have used 3 chest and 1 tricep exercise for the first Giant set, 3 back and 1 bicep exercise for the next Giant set, 3 shoulder exercises after that, and then 4 leg exercises to finish it off.
– Press Ups 3 x 10
– Incline Barbell Bench Press 3 x 10-15
– Cable Flyes 3 x 15-20
– Tricep Pressdown 3 x 15-20
– Pull Ups 3 x As many as possible
– Close Grip Lat Pulldown 3 x 10-15
– Seated Cable Row 3 x 10-15
– Barbell Bicep Curl 3 x 15-20
– Barbell Front Raise 3 x 10
– Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 x 10-15
– Rear-Delt Flyes 3 x 10-15
– Barbell Squats 3 x 10-15
– Hamstring curls 3 x 15-20
– Split Squats 3 x 10 (each leg)
– Calf Raises 3 x 20-25
So now you have some examples of circuits to try, why not create your own and see how much fun they can be! If you have one that you particularly enjoy why not post it in the comments section?