Throughout my career as a Physical Training Instructor I must have taken 1000s of circuit lessons. Yet, I am still learning today and always look at ways of improving a circuit to get the best out of the training. But what are the benefits of circuit training and how do you formulate a circuit training session that works?
Benefits of Circuit Training
Circuit training can be a low cost, highly effective way of training restricted only by the ability of thought. Find a clear area and you can formulate a circuit. Circuit training is a great way of training alone, or training a number of athletes at the same time. It can be individualistic whilst incorporating a generic exercise approach, ie, everyone completes the same exercise, but individuals are pushed dependent on their fitness capabilities. It is a great way of incorporating both aerobic and resistance training, and with thoughtful manipulation, can provide quick fitness gains in a relatively short time period. By controlling exercise intensity and reducing recovery time, significant fitness improvements can be gained in a short exercise period. It can be used as a fitness marker, with improvements in fitness evident with increased number of exercises over a specific time frame. Circuit training is also a great way to lose weight.
Formulating Circuit Training
There are a number of variables that need to be considered in order to facilitate a productive, effective circuit training session. Whist not an exhaustive list, below are a number of variables that should be considered when formulating a circuit:
- Real Estate – There is no requirement to have a lavish training area. A location that is safe and provides the opportunity to train is sufficient. Areas such as the local park are ideal locations. They are free to use and have many features that can be incorporated into your training.
- Exercises – When selecting exercises to incorporate within a circuit, you must be mindful of what your training goal is. The type of exercises may effect your training goal. Be aware of how fatiguing the exercise is and also, be aware of your current fitness level. Almost every exercise can be progressed or regressed to suit your fitness level. When I choose exercises I make sure that I am fully aware of my client base. If I am training multiple clients, I always chose exercises that I can progress and regress. There is nothing worse than seeing somebody struggle with an exercise. This can deplete motivation, and more importantly may lead to injury.
- Exercise Order – When conducting circuit training there will be an accumulation of fatigue on the body that will affect performance. Care should be taken when prescribing exercise with primary exercises being completed at the start of the circuit. The order of exercise has the potential to affect the training effect desired.
- Training Time – This again is very dependent on a) your fitness level and b) what you want to achieve. There is ‘golden’ training time, so you need to be able to manipulate your training to gain the most of your workout and achieve the training response you desire.
To conclude, circuit training is a fantastic low cost, high effect principle that should be incorporated within all training programmes. It is a process that will elicit greater fitness responses in less time when compared to resistance training Whole body aerobic resistance training has been proven to elicit greater fitness response with less time commitment when compared to a traditional resistance programme combined with aerobic exercise.
So, add circuits to your training programme and achieve the unthinkable.