What is Circuit Training? And How to Add it to Your Training.

IMG_2839What is a circuit?

A rotations of exercises targeting different muscle groups, so you need little to no rest between exercises.

Why use circuits?

Circuits are effective and efficient because they build muscular strength and endurance and increase your EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).

An increase in EPOC will result in an increased energy expenditure; therefore, burning more calories in a shorter amount of time (Haltom RW.).

They require little to no equipment and can be performed anywhere.

Circuits take less time than a traditional weight training workout.

Can be used as a complete workout or a supplement to your weight training that will help increase energy expenditure and decrease fat mass.

How to incorporate circuits into your exercise program?

If you are new to exercise….

If you are new to exercise and looking for a good workout routine to improve overall health, increase muscle mass, and decrease fat mass I would recommend a circuit based program.

Here is an example of a 6 week full body dumbbell circuit that should be completed 3-4 times per week.

DB Complex
Complete 5 rounds
First round it warm up, very light weight
Increase weight each round
Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds
Move as fast as possible during exercise

Alternating Lunges x12
RDL x12
Bent Row x12
Squat to High Pull x12
Hammer Curls x6
Press x6
Push Ups x12
Squat to Press x12
Jump Squats x15

 

If you exercise regularly….

If you are a regular exerciser and have experience with compound barbell lifts try this 6 week barbell circuit based program.

BB Complex
Complete 5 rounds
First round it warm up, very light weight
Increase weight for rounds 2-5
Do not drop or put BB down during circuit
Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds
Move as fast as possible during exercises
If you complete all 5 rounds without dropping add 5-10lbs for the next workout

Deadlift x10
RDL x10
Bent Row x10
High Pull x10
Press x10
Squat x10
Good Morning x10

 

If you want to add circuits to your current program….

If you want to add circuits to the end of your program to improve your conditioning and help decrease fat mass add them 2-4 days per week for 6-8 weeks.

Here is an example of a short dumbbell circuit to incorporate into your upper body weight training days.

DB Complex
Complete 3-4 rounds
Choose a moderate weight
Do not drop or put DB down during circuit
Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds
Move as fast as possible during exercises
If you complete all 5 rounds without dropping add 5-10lbs for the next workout

DB Burpee to Press x12
Bent Row x12
Push Up x10
Curls x6

 

Here is an example of a short lower body barbell circuit to incorporate at the end of your lower body weight training days.

BB Complex
Complete 3-4 rounds
Choose a moderate weight
Do not drop or put BB down during circuit
Rest 60-90 seconds between rounds
Move as fast as possible during exercises
If you complete all 5 rounds without dropping add 5-10lbs for the next workout

Thruster x12
Squat x12
Good Morning x12
Squat Jacks x12

 

Haltom RW. Medicine and science in sports and exercise: Circuit weight training and its effects on excess postexercise oxygen consumption. 11/1999;31(11):1613