Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in the gym or you’re a newcomer looking to get into a fitness routine, you’re going to need to mix it up to keep your body guessing. That’s where the benefits of circuit training come in.
A circuit is a series of exercises performed in sequence. For instance, you could do 10 pushups, followed by 10 sit ups, followed by 10 bodyweight squats, and then 10 kettlebell swings. That would equal one round of the circuit. Time under tension refers to the time spent working. The more time under tension, the greater the muscular and fat burning response. Circuits, by design, increase your time under tension.
Consistency is key for progress in the gym. However, it is still possible to get bored doing the same old thing from the same old template. One of the greatest benefits of circuit training is that it’s way harder to get bored while performing a circuit. You’re always doing something new.
If you’re like most people, you want results but don’t have endless hours to spend in the gym. Circuits give you a ton of bang for your buck when it comes to maximum results in minimal time. If you work harder, you earn the privilege of leaving the gym earlier, and circuit training is definitely hard work.
When most people think of “doing cardio,” they’re thinking about logging endless minutes on a treadmill or an elliptical. However, cardio is simply about getting your heart going. Because one of the benefits of circuit training is an elevated heart rate, performing a few hard rounds of a challenging circuit is a superior alternative to the hamster wheels on cardio row. A 2009 study in Research Quarterly for Exercise & Sport found that ten adolescent judokas (judo practitioners) experienced greater aerobic metabolism with the inclusion of circuit training.
Muscle imbalances can derail a lifter’s progress, alter their aesthetics, and set them up for injuries. The most common culprit when it comes to these asymmetries is a disproportionate amount of reps devoted to one muscle group, while ignoring others. Whole body circuits challenge your entire body, and ensure that no body parts of muscle groups get left behind.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) involves a period of maximum intensity on an exercise, followed by a brief rest period. For instance, jumping rope for 20 seconds and then resting for 10, and then repeating. Another of the benefits of circuit training is that they can act as intervals. A fast circuit followed by a brief rest has the same fat burning effect.
If you’ve ever gone to the gym on squat day, only to find that the squat rack is being used, you know the frustration of getting stymied because of a lack of equipment. Convenience is one of the greatest benefits of circuit training. There will always be enough dumbbells to put together a circuit. You’ll never have to alter your plans, or cut a workout short, because you didn’t have time to wait for something you needed.
Circuit training offers the best of both worlds: strength and cardio. A hard circuit allows you to keep your heart rate in the fat-burning zone, and the resistance of weights or bodyweight exercises allows you to work your muscles during the circuit. As long as you’re tracking your progress, you can always be shooting for more weight or more reps during a circuit, which will always equal more strength.
All programs work for a while, but no program works forever. Something always stalls. Learning to write your own effective exercise programs is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your training. Creating a circuit takes some thinking, and that thinking should force you to zero in on your goals. Perhaps the greatest benefit of circuit training is that is forces you to think for yourself, about yourself and your results.
When you can build a great circuit that gets you the results you want, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get back into the gym, time after time. Fitness is a lifestyle and a privilege. Your chances at training longevity increase when you can look forward to your workouts. Circuit training of your own design is a great way to make sure you’re always anticipating the next session with eagerness, not dread.