Circuit training is made up of about 10 exercises that are repeated in circuits, or cycles, with short breaks between circuits and often no breaks between individual exercises. This is the shortest way to characterise circuit training. A type of training with which you can build both strength and endurance as well as lose weight. What are the principles of circuit training? Who is it suitable for and what additional benefits does it offer? Check it out!
Circuit training - what is it and what does it involve?
Circuit training is a type of training in which several exercises are performed in circuits (cycles) with the shortest possible interval between exercises and circuits. Circuit training, which depends on the choice of exercises, the time they are performed and the length of the intervals between exercises and circuits, can be aimed at increasing endurance, burning fat, gaining strength or combining fitness and strength goals.Circuit training should be repeated 2-4 times per week.
Each circuit performs:
- 8-12 different exercises;
- each exercise for a set period of time, usually 30-50 seconds, or for a set number of repetitions, usually 10-20;
- with intervals between exercises from 0 to 60 seconds;
- with intervals between circuits of 1 to 3 minutes;
- exercises for individual muscle parts, starting with the most exhausting ones, avoiding two exercises for the same muscle part in a circuit, or at least performing such exercises right after another,
- mainly multi-joint exercises.
A circuit workout lasts between 20 and 40 minutes and consists of 2-3 circuits. Its length depends on the individual's level of progression (the more advanced the person, the more exercises in the circuit or circuits) and the training goal. Circuit training aimed at increasing strength takes longer than endurance and weight loss training, in which the intervals between exercises are reduced as much as possible.
Who is circuit training for?
Circuit training is suitable for everyone. Both beginners and advanced people can choose the number of exercises, their type, the number of repetitions and the time between exercises so that the training is perfectly suited to their abilities. The high number of repetitions and the pace of the work make it easy to overlook the correct technique, so it is good to base it on exercises that do not cause us much difficulty..
Circuit training can benefit those focused on weight loss as well as increasing endurance and strength. This type of exercise is great for people who:
- have little time - it is short,
- get bored quickly - it is very varied,
- want to see results in a relatively short time - it is very intense.
Types of circuit training
As we have already mentioned, a variety of goals can be achieved with circuit training. It is suitable for both building strength and increasing endurance. Very often it combines exercises to achieve both - better stamina and greater strength. People losing weight will benefit the most from strength and endurance circuit training, during which they will burn a lot of calories thanks to intense endurance exercises, stimulate their muscles to increase calorie consumption for a few more hours after training thanks to strength training, and protect muscle mass from being lost, which is an undesirable and relatively common occurrence during weight loss.
Strength circuit training
Circuit training for increasing strength consists of exercises with weights. These can be exercises based on your own body weight, with free weights (dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells) or with machines. Exercises used in circuit strength training include, for example, deadlifts, squats with a barbell, bench presses, hip thrusts, pull-ups on a bar, push-ups, dumbbell raises, arm bends with a barbell, weighted exercises on machines and many others. In strength circuit training, interval lengths are 60-90 seconds between exercises and 3 minutes or sometimes longer between circuits.
Circuit endurance exercises
Endurance circuit exercise is a cardio workout, often of high intensity. By varying the exercises, it is much more engaging and less boring than most cardio activities. Therefore, it is a great option for people who want to work on fitness or burn fat at the same time but get bored quickly, for example during a run. Exercises for cardio circuit training can include jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees, running in place and many others that increase the heart rate quickly. Intervals between exercises are short, up to 30 seconds, and in advanced individuals, breaks are avoided altogether, as long as the body can cope. Rest between circuits is 1-2 minutes.
Strength and endurance circuit training
When we want to work on strength and endurance at the same time during one workout, we choose a typical strength and a typical endurance exercise and arrange them alternately in a circuit. For example, after a deadlift, we jump on a skipping rope, then do push-ups, followed by a run in place. And so on until the target number of exercises is reached. Choose the length of the intervals according to your goal - the more the workout is meant to work on stamina and weight loss, the shorter the intervals between exercises and circuits.
Circuit training at the gym or at home?
Strength or strength and endurance circuit training are easier to do in a gym, with access to equipment. However, the specifics of circuit training make it very easy to adapt at home. All you need is a mat and dumbbells to increase the intensity of exercises, such as squats, and to perform those for which weight is essential, such as forearm bending. Endurance circuit training can be carried out without any difficulties at home. If the weather is fine, these exercises are also very pleasant to do outdoors, as they only require a mat, and sometimes even can be done without one.
Benefits of circuit training
Circuit training is best known for being short, yet intense. As a result, it is recommended for people who have little time to exercise but want to see results quickly. The high intensity of the workout ensures this. And what does the science say about circuit training?
Circuit training has many benefits. Both for health and for sporting results.
- Increases muscle endurance. The high number of repetitions performed during circuit training engages slowly contracting muscle fibres. As they develop, you can exercise longer and harder without feeling muscle fatigue.
- It helps build strength and muscle size. Because circuit training creates continuous muscle tension, it can stimulate neuromuscular adaptations that lead to the building of bigger and stronger muscles.
- Strengthens fitness and the heart. Because there is little rest between exercises, the heart rate remains raised throughout the circuit. This helps to strengthen the heart, allowing it to pump more blood volume with less effort. Circuit training also helps to increase lung capacity, allowing you to breathe more efficiently during exercise. As lung capacity increases, fatigue decreases during each circuit./li>
- Despite the short duration of the workout (sometimes only 20-30 minutes), circuit training is effective in building endurance and strength.
- Circuit training enables the effective loss of body fat and excess body weight.
- During strength and endurance exercise, the body releases endorphins. So circuit training, regardless of the type of exercise, improves mood..