Perhaps one of the greatest challenges with incorporating a new fitness routine is finding the time in one’s schedule to truly commit to it. Amidst the onslaught of daily tasks, some people find that circuit training workouts get them in and out of the gym with more time to spare, as well as potentially spending less money on equipment when performing them from the comfort of their own home. With minimal periods of rest, this is a great option for those wanting the most out of a full-body workout in the least amount of time possible and with endless modifications.
What is Circuit Training?
As its name alludes, circuit training consists of a cycle (or circuit) of 4-10 exercises that are meant to be repeated 2-3 times, often performed back-to-back with another 1-2 circuits to maximize the amount of muscles incorporated in one session. It is a form of body-conditioning that may combine high-intensity aerobics, weight-lifting, and resistance training. Like HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), circuit training utilizes repetition at a fast pace.
Though the two workout types share some similarities, circuit training is uniquely performed with little to no rest periods in between reps or circuits. Though traditionally, circuit training is focused predominantly on strength training and endurance, there have been several types that have emerged depending on the desired outcome of the participant. This includes strictly weight-bearing strength training, cardio, sport-specific, or a combination of strength and cardio exercises to complete a circuit. Each circuit should incorporate moves for the upper-body, lower-body, core and trunk, and total-body.
Benefits of Circuit Training
Like many workouts, circuit training boasts of benefits such as weight-loss, improved cardiovascular health, muscle and endurance development, and an increased mood. For most people, the circuits of different exercises and the possible variations within each circuit can also combat that boredom-induced gym fatigue. As mentioned above, the greatest pull toward circuit training seems to be the factor of saving time.
Example of a simple circuit for cardio and strength training without equipment:
- Squats (60 seconds)
- Plank (30 seconds)
- Jumping jacks (30 seconds)
- Seated dips (60 seconds)
- High knees running in place (60 seconds)
- Push-ups (30 seconds)
*Repeat 2-3 times without rest, possibly followed by 1 or 2 other circuits.