Have you heard about circuit training but don’t know what it is or how it can help you? You’re not alone.
If you’ve have been part of a group workout, it likely you’ve done a circuit training without even knowing what it’s called.
In this article, we’ll explain what circuit training is and discuss some of the amazing benefits.
What is circuit training?
Circuit training workout is a type of workout where you perform different sets of exercises, back-to-back for a specified time.
The strictest circuit training workouts have little or no rest at its core. You don’t take any rest between the exercises until you complete the string of exercises.
The set of exercises you perform in a circuit training often target different parts of your body.
You also use both body weight and other weights. The main results are having a full-body workout by the time the exercise is complete.
A sample circuit training workout is performing the following exercises in 7 minutes:
- 10 Burpees
- 10 Dumbbell Front Squats
- 10 Pushups
- 5 Pullups
- 2 minutes plank exercise
- 2 minutes of machine rowing
- 10 Kettlebell Swings
Once you finish the whole set of exercises, you start from the top again, until the allotted seven minutes is over.
You can rotate through different stations at the gym.
So if you’re like most people, you’re wondering, “this look intense, is it worth it?” Well, the answer is absolute.
Let’s tale a look at some of the benefits of circuit training workouts
What are the benefits of circuit training?
Because of the combination of exercises, circuit workout has several benefits.
For the most part, it challenges your body to work harder and produce more results in a short period.
Let’s look at some of the benefits in more detail:
1. Boosts cardiovascular and aerobic fitness
Cardiovascular health is important for supporting our nervous system. Guidelines for aerobic training recommends about 150 minutes of moderated-intensity exercises each week.
This could be between 30 and 60 minutes per session. And this session focuses on 46 to 63 percent of maximal oxygen uptake.
Maximal oxygen uptake is the ability of the cardiovascular system to provide oxygen to working muscles.
Also, you can do 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise (64 to 90 percent maximal oxygen uptake) for 20 to 60 minutes per session.
But here’s the problem:
Due to the nature of our modern work schedules, it’s nearly impossible for the average person to find the time to do this sort of aerobic training.
This is where circuit training comes into the picture.
Circuit training can help you hit your aerobic and fitness goals within those time constraints. How?
This is because you can increase your maximal oxygen intake in the short period of your workout.
2. Improves your metabolism
Metabolism is the process by which our bodies convert what we eat and drink to energy.
Our bodies constantly depend on this process to keep functioning, even when we’re resting.
Think about it, even at rest, your body still needs to breathe, circulate blood, grow and repair cells.
The amount of calories you need for these life-dependent activities is called the basal metabolic rate.
This rate varies based on your age, sex and body type.
Now here comes the good news:
Circuit training recruits several muscles in your body in a short period.
This induces your body into full metabolism mode afterward, trying to replace lost nutrients because of its intensity.
This means that you can burn more body fat. Your body’s insulin level is super sensitive at this time and doesn’t store glycogen as fats.
3. Helps build muscles
As we get older, muscle loss becomes a big threat to a healthy lifestyle. Muscle loss means less mobility.
And that also means a low level of physical activeness which is closely related to a sedentary lifestyle.
Mobility or activeness is one of the ways our bodies use up the energies stored in fats.
In a circuit training workout, you engage several large muscle groups (and even minor ones if you use resistant bands).
This puts them under tension in both eccentric and concentric movements.
You’re also using a varying exercise of both body weights and/or machines at the gym.
And this constant load exercise means you’re compelling your body to build new muscle.
4. Improves heart rate
Heart rate refers to the number of times your heart beats each minute.
While a heart rate could vary based on gender, age, and body type, a good heart rate is typically between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
A healthy heart is the core of our body and as you dive into circuit training, the intensity gets your heart rate up.
This, in turn, leads to improved blood flow throughout the whole body.
If you sustain circuit training for a prolonged period (weeks), it’s likely to see an improvement in heart rate.
You can reduce the beat per minute to between 40 and 60.
5. Enables social connection when in a group workout
Doing circuit training is a group is a great way to connect with other fitness enthusiasts.
Group momentum helps you to complete the circuit training. It also helps you to learn from others about techniques and ideas that can help your workout.
If you want to have an effective circuit training routine, there are few things to consider.
It’s important to keep in mind that you will need to include exercises that will engage all your major muscle groups.
Here are a few ones to consider:
- Full-body workouts (e.g. Thrusts, Burpees)
- Upper body workout (e.g. shoulder press, pushups)
- Lower body workout (e.g. Dumbbell squats, box step-ups )
- Core workouts (e.g. planks)
- Cardio workouts (e.g. machine row, air bikes, ropes)
As always, it’s better to take baby steps with your fitness goals. Start small, with workouts that you’re most comfortable with.
This will help you avoid injuries that lead to shoulder pain, knee pain, and other kinds of pain.
As you develop and become better begin to become more confident, you can add on more challenging variations to your workout.