Weight training is loaded with benefits. Some being stronger bones and muscles, a faster metabolism, increased strength, and confidence. Unfortunately, some people think weight training is boring, and you might be one of those people. Circuit training is one training approach to ensure that you never get bored.
Circuit training is one of my favorites. The concept behind circuit training is to do a series of exercises, usually for different body parts, one right after the other with little or no break in between. This type of workout is fast, efficient, effective and never gets stale because you can change up the exercises to your liking.
An Example of Effective Circuit Training
You would first pick your exercises- -let’s say they are bicep curls, shoulder presses, squats, triceps kick backs, lunges and crunches on a stability ball. These exercises would make up one circuit. You would perform each exercise for your desired number of repetitions or until fatigue, one right after the other, with no break in between.
After all exercises are completed, you can give yourself a 30 second or one-minute break before starting your next round. The number of rounds you’re able to complete is dependent upon your fitness level. Generally, circuit training follows a full-body approach, but the exercises are up to you.
Keep Your Repetitions Within The Hypertrophy Range
Changing the number and pace of your repetitions is another way to keep things interesting and to keep your muscles responding. For circuit training in particular, I would recommend keeping all sets within the hypertrophy range of 8-12 reps. Exercises performed in circuit training are generally what we refer to as accessory lifts. Performing circuit exercises in a hypertrophy range is similar to “super-setting” your movements, except it is essentially a never ending super-set.
Another way to vary your routine is to change up the pace of your repetitions. This can be done many different ways. You can slow your repetitions down to a four count up and a four count down, or a six count up and a two count down, or three count up and one count down, you get the idea.
Let’s say that you are doing bicep curls for 20 repetitions. Do the first three at a normal up and down pace, then slow it down to three counts up and one count down and do that for three reps. Next, go back to a normal pace for three reps and then back to a slow pace for three and so on.
What you are doing here is toying with concentric and eccentric contractions of the bicep. Emphasizing both the concentric (the squeeze), and the eccentric (the elongation) will stimulate muscle growth.
Circuit Training Is a No Brainer! Here's How You Can Get Started
In order for your body to change the way you want it to, you must keep challenging it in new ways. So, if any of you out there have not yet tried circuit training, please give it a try. It adds variety to your workout routine, keeps you from getting bored and presents your body with a new challenge.
One of the best pieces of equipment out there for circuit training is the TRX suspension trainer. The TRX trainer is a single unit that allows you to do a plethora of exercises. You can read my complete review of the TRX trainer here which covers exercises, model comparisons, and a flexibility routine.