All about Circuit Training
Circuit training was developed in the 1950’s and is similar to interval training in that the workload on the body varies during the circuit. A typical circuit combines both strength and cardiovascular exercises and so is a good way to improve both aspects of your fitness at the same time.
A typical circuit involves around 10 or so ‘stations’ where a person completes a certain exercise at each station for a set period of time, before moving on to the next station.
At each station there is a different exercise which is selected depending on what benefits you are looking to achieve from that particular circuit, but a typical circuit will have bodyweight exercises such as press ups, sit ups, squat thrusts etc… and resistance exercises such as barbell curls, shoulder presses and pull ups.
The idea is that each station is visited during the circuit so all 10 exercises are completed. A circuit can last as long as you want it to. It could end when the complete circuit has been completed once, twice or even three times, or when a set time has been reached.
Circuits can range from the very basic, such as a running around a sports hall with a person calling out different exercises which are done for 60 seconds before continuing to run, or the very complex, where a circuit is designed for a very specific sport where each station is focused on building strength and endurance for that particular sport.
Studies have shown that circuit training is the most effective way to build cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.
What are the advantages?
The obvious advantage is that there is an infinite way that a circuit can be designed, so circuit training can benefit everyone, no matter what their chosen sport.
You also do not need expensive gym equipment. A simple circuit needs just some space as all exercise stations can be bodyweight exercises.
You can also suit the circuit to the space you have, whether it be a small gymnasium or a football pitch.
Another big advantage of circuit training is that it is normally done in a group. Each person starts and finishes at a different station so a group session means that you can motivate each other.
What are the Disadvantages?
The main disadvantage of circuits is that they do not build bulk. Circuits are primarily aimed at improving cardiovascular and muscular endurance and are done at a high intensity with high repetitions with little resistance. To try and build bulk during circuit training, try reducing the number of repetitions at each station but use heavier weights or greater resistance.
Circuit Training is a great tool to get fit and most circuits don’t take too long either, so be sure to include them in your routine.