5 Reasons to Love Circuit Training
Circuits are absolutely my favorite way to train myself and my clients. Maybe I get bored easily, have some attention deficit, or possible restless leg syndrome and need to move every second I’m at the gym, who knows? What I do know is that this form of training has kept me consistently lean and gotten my clients the best results with the most condensed and efficient workouts.
What is Circuit Training?
Circuit training involves rotating between different exercises that target different muscle groups. It can incorporate endurance training, resistance training, high intensity aerobics, and these exercises are performed in a circuit with little to no rest in between exercises, like high intensity interval training (HIIT). It is ideal for those looking to achieve their fitness goals with quick, effective, full-body workouts.
Circuits can be timed; for example, work for 45 seconds with 15 seconds to transition to the next exercise. Or they can be repetition focused; meaning each exercise is performed for 20 reps before moving onto the next exercise.
A typical circuit is about 8-10 exercises, repeated 1-3 times through. Keep in mind, these numbers can vary depending on your fitness level, goals and how much time you have for that particular workout. My personal preference when training is to choose an area in the gym or my garage with the equipment I would need to perform 3 exercises back to back for 3 or 4 rounds. I call these “mini circuits” and they comprise most of my training time for myself and my clients. I typically continue to work in these mini circuits for 40 minutes to one hour.
Benefits of Circuit Training:
1. Improves Cardiovascular Health.
Because circuits are steady and quick-paced with minimal rest, your heart rate stays elevated similar to performing cardiovascular exercise all while simultaneously sculpting lean muscle. A stronger heart can push more blood throughout the body with less effort. This reason alone makes circuit training a crowd favorite since it incorporates the benefits of strength training at the same time as cardiovascular training.
2. Improves Muscular Endurance.
Do you fatigue quickly during your traditional workouts? Circuits are a great way to increase your endurance for other types of training as well. Since circuits generally use high repetitions, this will enable your slow twitch muscles to last longer. Over time, improved muscular endurance will help you to sustain other recreational activities you love.
3. Increases Muscular Hypertrophy.
Muscular hypertrophy is another term for muscular growth. Increasing “time under tension” for muscle groups is a well-known method for increasing muscle growth. In a circuit, muscles are continuously being loaded and challenged, and this in turn can improve neural adaptations to promote larger and stronger muscles.
4. Saves Time.
Short on time? Can’t make it to the gym? Since there are minimal breaks during a circuit, they can be effective even with only 20-30 minutes. Also, there are endless free circuit training workouts on Pinterest and YouTube that can be performed with little to no equipment in spaces as tight as a hotel room.
5. Great for ALL Levels.
Circuit training can be modified for all fitness levels, from beginner to the most advanced. You can adjust variables within the same circuit to accommodate for these differences. To increase difficulty, try shorter rest periods, more dynamic movements, heavier weights, etc. To decrease difficulty, utilize longer rest periods, low-impact aerobic options, use lighter weights or no weights at all.
Because circuit training is heart-healthy, hypertrophy-friendly, time-saving, convenient, and versatile for all fitness levels, it is the perfect workout to incorporate into your new or existing routine.
Do you incorporate circuit training already? What are some of your favorite circuits? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!