Once a dying notion in regards to training, circuit training is now making a comeback… with a vengeance! Fitness and circuit training has evolved. Gone are the days of star jumps; thrusters, kettlebell swings and for the more initiated, muscle ups are here. Circuit training and/or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is slowly starting to take over it’s split sessions (working on one muscle group per day) format counterpart. So, why is circuit training all the craze right now? In this article, we break down the benefits of circuit training and what it can do for you.
‘Spare’ time is a rarity these days and slowly becoming more like a unicorn. Circuit training is perfect for the time poor as it utilises the whole body in one workout. With the right formatting a circuit class can easily run through 3 to 4 sets per muscle group for a total workout time of 30 – 40 minutes. With the right compound movements and exercise order, you could even cut down the workout time to as little as 10 mins and still cover the whole body! The advantage of this is, that even if you get to the gym once in the week, you would have at least stimulated every muscle group for that week. Get to the gym once with a ‘split’ program and you would only work the one muscle group.
Variety of Cardio and Strength
Keep your workouts interesting by involving both cardiovascular exercises along with strength exercises. The added cardio stations will send your heart rate soaring whilst the varied strength exercises maintains the higher heart rate for a prolonged period of time. This also leads to a greater amount of calories burned.
Full Body Workout
Circuit training allows for the use of a variety of exercises to target specific muscle groups. The variety of exercises keeps the workout interesting through the fast paced nature changing exercises. The advantage to using the whole body in the same workout optimises caloric expenditure (calorie output or calories burned) . The total body stimulation also boosts metabolism for hours after the workout via EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption).
Send your metabolic furnace into overdrive by sustaining a higher heart rate throughout your workout and inspire new muscular growth post training. The micro tears created throughout circuit training stimulate the need to repair the damaged tissue, leading to an increase in muscle mass and therefore a boost to basal metabolic rate (BMR – resting metabolic state).
Keep It Interesting
The beauty of circuit training is it’s versatility. Mix up your circuits with varying exercises for specific muscle groups week to week and sacrifice the boredom from your workouts. For example, one week you could do squats for your leg station and then the next week switch them to lunges. The week after progress to jump squats. You are truly only limited by your creativity.
Circuit training has applications and when done correctly can really boost your progression towards your health and fitness goals. It’s best used for people who:
- Don’t have much time to exercise
- Are trying to burn fat
- Are starting to get bored with their current training regiment
- Are training for a particular sport
Try a circuit class at your local gym or better yet, invent your own circuit. Here’s a basic outline on how to create a circuit. Simply fill in the category with an exercise to target the specific muscle group:
Perform each exercise from 30 – 60 seconds for 3-5 rounds. Rest 1-2 minutes between rounds, dependant on fitness levels.