Circuit training is a high intensity, strength and resistance training method that allows you to optimize your physical performance - whether that be at the gym or at home. This complete body workout involves completing anaerobic and aerobic exercise moves in timed intervals, one after the other and without a rest break between each move.
Popular not just in the UK but worldwide, this relatively new concept in interval training can replace whatever weight training or strength training fitness program that just isn’t working for you. It's an especially good move if you're expecting, as exercise during pregnancy has been proven to improve your life. Its advantages with regards to your total body fitness and strength are numerous, one of which includes giving you an endless variety of exercise combinations.
Superprof invites you to discover everything there is to know about circuit training, along with its advantages concerning your bodyweight and muscle groups as well as how it can be adopted to specific skill levels. Along with information on how frequently you should do a circuit workout, you’ll be able to start achieving your fitness goals today!
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Circuit Training: Its Advantages Compared to Other Methods
While many people try workout routine after workout routine to try to accomplish their body fat or muscle mass goals, many people find that circuit training is often one program they can stick to in the long term. Here are some of the ways circuit training offers benefits for weight loss and building muscle that other fitness programs just can’t.
A Fun Alternative
Circuit training can be compared most to CrossFit, cross-training and HIIT exercise programs. While a HIIT workout, or high-intensity interval training, is an exercise program that involves performing exercise moves with rest in between each, CrossFit involves defining a workout of the day in advance that involves lifting weights with some gym equipment. While there are many differences between these training exercises and circuit training, the main advantage of circuit training has over the majority of classic workouts is its malleability.
Whether your goal is to work on your lower body, upper body, or incorporate more aerobic moves - circuit training offers sessions that are both varied and easily adaptable to different skill levels.
While many people might recall more traditional training workouts for fat loss or toning when thinking of gaining muscular endurance, circuit training and traditional weight lifting can be combined into a powerful, full-body workout called the power circuit. Along with cardio workouts and bodyweight exercises found in circuit training, you can introduce gym equipment to moves like squats and lunges in order to build muscle. Some examples of equipment you can use are:
- Medicine ball
The Optimal Frequency to Practice Circuit Training
Whether you practice circuit training at home with a personal trainer or at the gym alone, knowing how regularly to exercise in order to burn fat or burn calories can be a hard thing to gauge even with the most skilled guides. The first step you should take, before even doing a push up or grabbing your jump rope is to define some fitness goals for yourself.
While you may have the motivation to start a fitness program, join a cardio workout class or do weight exercises at the moment, not having specific goals can often be detrimental to your motivation to workout. Some examples of specific goals you can set are improving your heart fitness through cardiovascular exercise or increasing your overall muscle gain through a total body workout. Whatever your goal is, make sure you have one before you start your fitness journey!
After you’ve defined your objectives, here are some general rules of thumb you can follow when deciding how frequently to perform your body weight exercises and to what level of intensity.
At the beginner level, you have led a majority sedentary life for a while. Meaning, while you may be just as motivated to complete your whole-body cardio exercise workout or ready to tone your major muscle groups, you’ll need to take extra care in making sure you don’t overexert yourself. Pay close attention to your body and give yourself enough rest in order to avoid injuries.
That being said, a circuit training session at this level will last around 20 minutes. This means you will be performing 4 or 5 circuits made up of 5 or 4 minutes of exercise moves and rest breaks. Ideally, you should take about 2 minutes of rest break between each circuit while completing each move for at least 20 seconds each.
At this level, whether you’re doing body workouts for weight loss or for fat burning and toning, your workout should last around 30 minutes. You can go ahead and perform each move for 30 seconds each with about 1 minute for a rest break between each round.
At the advanced level, while you may still care about fat loss and cardiovascular fitness, your goals are probably more geared towards muscle gain. At this stage, you can start to increase the time for each move to about 45 seconds, where you will take a 30 second to 1-minute rest break between each circuit for anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes total.
Circuit Training Geared Towards Women
Circuit training has many advantages already discussed, from improving your respiratory system to helping you get stronger and healthier. While discussions on what health means have started to expand to include being able to be independent in old age or not having to stop doing the physical activities you love, the unfortunate truth is that fitness programs still seem to pander to an image of health defined by physical appearance.
Luckily, by understanding the role of gender stereotypes on beauty standards, you can be a more informed consumer when it comes to picking a fitness service to start using. One of the best ways to take advantage of this is by looking at circuit training that is geared towards empowering women.
In general, women and men tend to have different fitness goals. While the majority of men want to work on areas of the body like the biceps and shoulders, women tend to focus more on working their triceps and glutes.
Another area women tend to focus on is weight loss. Just like circuit training can be especially adapted to those seeking to gain muscle, those looking to lose weight can also mould their circuits to accomplish this goal - no matter where you are on the gender spectrum.
Some of the moves that you can expect to see in a circuit training session meant for weight loss are:
- Jogging in place or mountain climbers
Whatever your reason for getting into circuit training, there are a few basic rules you should follow when it comes to any type of workout program. The first is to always make sure you hydrate during your workout as necessary and to always keep a bottle of water nearby.
Next, make sure you properly warm up and cool down before and after any workout as your body needs. This won’t only prevent injuries but can also make any workout more meaningful. Lastly, make sure you practice methods that help you relax and de-stress for a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. Feeling great mentally is often more important to how you perceive yourself than how you look physically.
Advantages of Practicing this Optimized Workout
Now that we’ve gone through how to take the most advantage of strength exercises through circuit training, such as toning your body or helping your heart get stronger, here are some of the other important advantages of circuit training you might want to consider before starting your fitness journey.
One of the great things about starting a circuit training program is that it can help increase your metabolism. This basically is the term that’s given to all the processes involved in keeping your cells and body in a living condition. Your metabolism is most known for being in charge of converting the calories in your food to energy - however, it is also in charge of providing this energy to important functions of your body such as breathing or repairing cells.
Whether you’re doing crunches, rowing, or burpees - practicing circuit training can help improve your metabolic rate so that you not only burn calories more efficiently but so that you can also start to feel better in your body.
Circuit training is also a great way to build your body’s endurance. Whether you’re interested in running marathons or simply want to help your body feel less exhausted at work, practicing circuit training can help improve the endurance you use on a daily basis.