Circuit training is a term that’s been going around health and fitness circles for a while and for good reason. Circuit training was first created in 1953 in the University of Leeds, England, by R.E. Morgan and G.T. Anderson, and it’s been very popular amongst athletes ever since. So what are circuit training workouts exactly?
There are very few other fitness regimens that help burn fat so consistently, and this can be done with just 15 to 20 minutes per day, and absolutely no equipment or accessories. Basically, circuit training doesn’t allow for any reasons to skip workouts, if you’re motivated to burn fat, you just do it!
What Is Circuit Training?
Circuit training is a form of exercise or body conditioning that involves a lot of different kinds of training in one workout.
These can include endurance training, aerobics, resistance training, and weight training. The intention of this form of exercise is total body conditioning and it is similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts.
The main goal for this sort of body conditioning is increasing strength and muscular endurance. A circuit is said to have been completed when all of the exercises in the program are done.
Then this program is repeated a few times, which is where the term ‘circuit’ is derived from. In order to make the exercises more taxing, lesser time is taken between each circuit and between each exercise.
Multiple studies have shown the effectiveness of this sort of training. Studies at Baylor University show that circuit training is the best, most time-efficient way to increase cardiovascular endurance and health.
A study also stated that regular repetitions of circuit training style workouts can increase oxygen consumption levels (VO2max) in people.
Another advantage of this sort of training is the fact that the relatively low number of reps will help the participants lift heavier weights which will increase muscle endurance and muscle density.
Target Areas of Circuit Training
One frequently asked question is, which areas of the body does circuit training target? And the answer to this question is that it is a full-body workout and hence targets all the major muscles of the body in a single workout.
That’s the beauty of this workout, and the reason behind its rise to fame, you don’t have to spend much time nor do you have to invest in expensive outfits or equipment, just a small space in your room for you to work out, along with a mat.
Benefits of Circuit Training
There are plenty of benefits to performing circuit training, as opposed to other forms of exercise. Here are a few of them,
- Time Saver – As mentioned above, circuit training is the most efficient form of body conditioning.
If you’re a busy person and can’t dedicate a big chunk of your day to working out, circuit training is likely the best fit for you.
A 30-min routine is enough to work all of the major muscles of your body and to burn 200-300 calories if done at a vigorous pace.
- Ease of Use – Going off of the first point, circuit training is a very convenient form of workout.
You do not require any equipment and you can do all your workouts within a small, confined space.
In fact, you can probably finish your workouts in your office space if you so wish, just don’t forget to shower after!
- Boredom – If moving your feet up and down on an elliptical machine for 30 mins doesn’t sound like the most exciting thing, that’s because it isn’t.
It also isn’t a very effective way to condition your muscles because you’re only working your lower body, and that too not vigorously.
This means that traditional cardio workouts are boring along with being not so useful. Circuit training, on the other hand, is fast-paced and varied, meaning you won’t be bored, and it also works all the muscles of your body, and it also gets your heart pumping, meaning you get the effects of cardio and weight training all in one workout.
- Health Benefits – Circuit training, unlike traditional weight training, is a mixture of aerobic and anaerobic exercises, and the fast pace at which the routine takes place makes sure that your heart is being worked as well.
Circuit training is particularly good for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lack of stamina, and obesity.
Beginner Circuit Training Routine
If you have only recently been acquainted with the concept of circuit training and would like to try it out, we recommend going through a relatively easy workout routine that can be practised by anyone, regardless of their fitness level. A sample workout is provided below,
10 reps per exercise, repeat circuit 3 times
- Bicep Curls
- Forward Lunges (10/side)
- Tricep Dips
- Lateral Lunges (10/side)
- Overhead Shoulder Press
- Reverse Lunges (10/side)
If some of these exercises are hard for you to finish, do easier versions of these exercises. For example, if you’re unable to finish 3 sets of 10 reps of regular push-ups, place your knees on the ground and do knee push-ups instead. Do this until you’re strong enough to do the regular version of these exercises.
Intermediate Circuit Training Routine
For those who have already been working out for a while and would like to try out a new form of exercise, an intermediate level circuit training routine is what will fit best.
This includes doing harder versions of regular exercises and repeating the circuit a few more times. A sample workout is provided below,
20 reps per exercise, repeat circuit 4 times,
- Decline Push-ups
- Squat Jumps
- Ab Twists (20/side)
- Lunge Jumps (20/side)
- Deadlifts with dumbbells
- Bicep Curls
- Curtsy Lunges (20/side)
- Squat with Overhead Press
- Tricep Dips
Advanced Circuit Training Routine
Lastly, for people who have already been practicing circuit training for a while and are looking for a more intense workout, the advanced version is the most recommended.
If this workout is still too easy, try to incorporate weights into the workout or repeat the circuit a few more times. A sample workout is provided below.
30 reps per exercise, repeat circuit 5 times,
- Squat Jumps
- Crunches on physioball
- Decline push-ups with toes on a physioball
- Lunge Jumps with weights (15/side)
- Speed Skaters (15/side)
- Plank Rows (15/side)
- Tricep Pull Over on physioball
- Kettlebell swings