What is Circuit Training?

What is circuit training and exercises for circuit training? Circuit training is combining exercises together into a series to quickly perform one after another. The types and combinations are endless and only limited by imagination and available equipment. Circuit training is one of the great activities for exercise.

Back in the day, circuit training was looked down upon by fitness professionals. Circuits were regarded as inferior workouts compared to focused workouts. Meaning, if your circuit combined strength and cardio components, the feeling was that the strength portion wouldn’t be as good as a focused strength workout and the cardio not as good as a focused cardio workout. While that still may true, a lot has changed in regards to our perceptions of circuit training.

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Benefits of Circuit Training

A lot more calories can be burned in a circuit training session than the standard cardio or strength training session. Here’s why: When performing any one strength exercise, the muscle will fatigue after 30-60 seconds. At that point, the exerciser will have to rest before doing more repetitions. In a typical session, more resting takes place than actual exercising. In a typical cardio session, the intensity must be kept low enough to conserve energy for the 30 minute session. Going at a high intensity would result in fatigue in only a few minutes.

In circuit training, the exerciser can switch from one exercise to another, maintaining high intensity at each, while the fatigued muscles recovery. This results in a much higher net calorie burn and even better, a more elevated metabolic rate where fat can be burned for hours after the workout rather than just the time that the workout took place.

How to Create a Circuit

There is not one way to create a circuit routine. My personal favorite to prescribe is to do sets of four exercises:

  • One lower body exercise
  • one upper body exercise
  • one core exercise
  • one high intensity cardio exercise.

You could either rotate between these four items until you are finished, or you could go through them once or twice and then substitute for four different exercises. In a ┬álater article I’ll list some examples.


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