CIRCUITS ON THE GO
Resistance training offers many different benefits to the body than cardiovascular exercise. Traditional weight training do not burn many calories during the session as we spend a majority of the training session resting between sets. Cardiovascular exercise on the other hand does for hypertrophy (muscle growth). Most clients, I have trained look for the benefits of weight loss in addition to muscle gain in a short period of time as key goals in their exercise programs. The question arises as to the training modality that can optimize gains in both areas and the answer lies with circuit training, a modified type of resistance training offering the key benefits from both areas.
What is circuit training?
In general, Circuit training is a high volume, low resistance training session with short rest intervals and is geared primarily at improving muscle tone and strength while improving the cardiovascular fitness. This session involves exercising all major muscle groups in one continuous cycle, alternating between the different areas to allow for muscle recovery and to force your heart to work harder in pumping blood and oxygen to these constantly changing areas. Given the nature of your short rest periods, it is strongly recommended you use machines and exercises that do not require much time to manipulate and have everything you need in close proximity to each other.
General Circuit Training Template involves the following:
Goal: Muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, orientation to strength training
Duration (weeks): Varies, traditionally 1-12 weeks
Frequency (# times/week): 2-3 times/week
Intensity: 40-80% of your maximal effort
Number of Repetitions/exercise: Varies, anywhere from 10-25 reps, depending on time and intensity
Rest interval duration between stations: Typically, 15-30 seconds
Number of Muscles groups (stations) exercised/cycle: Anywhere from 6-15 stations
Number of Cycles/workout: Start with 1 cycle, progress to 2-3 depending on available time
Before attempting to design your own circuit find out what your objectives are and complete a needs assessment and give thought to:
• Your objectives, what are you training for?
• Are you interested in all over body improvement or specific areas?
• How much time do you have per week to commit to resistance training? Ideally the most benefit 2-3 times max, 15-40 minutes
• Does your facility or home gym offer everything you need to complete your designated circuit training?
Here is a Combat Circuit I use for all my athlete, clients and fighters. This circuit can be done at the gym or the comfort of your own home. Its especially good for people on the “go”. This circuit helps in upper and lower body development ,muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
As a combative instructor my aim in all my circuits is geared towards challenging the individual mentally, spiritually and physically. This will not only strengthen the body, but develops the individual’s will to win when the chips are down.
Combat Circuit Example:
30 reps at each station, 30-second rest intervals between each workstation and time limit is 10mins. Begin with one cycle and progress to 2-3 cycles or as you desire.
Station 1: Push Ups
Stations 2: Body weight squats on the balls of the feet
Station 3: Push ups on the edge of your hands
Station 4: Abdominals – Machine, mat or on a stability ball
Station 5: Shoulders – Any machine
Station 6: Leg Curls – Any machine
Station 7: Triceps – Any machine or cable
Station 8: Biceps – Any machine, cable or barbell
Station 9: Calves – Any machine
Station 10: Low Back – Low-back extension bench, mat or stability ball
A more advanced version of this circuit is 50 reps at each station, 30 seconds rest intervals between each workstation and time limit is 15mins.
Circuit Training Variations
Perhaps you may want to emphasize a specific body part while doing circuits. For example, if you would like to emphasize your shoulders, simply add in additional shoulder exercises at spaced intervals within the cycle (every 3-4 exercises).
Perhaps you may want to emphasize more cardio throughout the circuit. Either adopt shorter rest intervals or include some dynamic activity during the rest interval (e.g., jumping rope or bench stepping during the rest interval).
Circuits are a great way to experience total body training, burn calories and improve aerobic performance. Anyone can benefit from including circuits into their exercise regimen. With circuit training, you are simply limited by your own creativity and imagination. Now, armed with this information, get going with the program—circuit that is.
As you can see a circuit training program is going to be different for everyone. With this template you can design your own program according to your needs and lifestyle.
"Stay safe and Stay strong".- Edward Wong