Circuit training is a high volume (repetitions), low resistance (weight) workout with short rest intervals (Comana, 2015). This type of training improves muscle tone, definition, and strength, as well as, cardiovascular fitness. Circuit training can be used to lose weight, improve cardiovascular health, or improve athletic performance. The key is establishing the proper ratio between exercise and rest periods. Below is a table that provides the type of circuit, its work time, rest/active recovery time, work to rest ratio, and the exercise goal.
Since circuits can be used for both cardio and strength training, the exercises performed should focus on the type of training goal. For example, if you are trying to increase muscle strength, exercises such as squats and dips would be added to your routine.
Depending on your goal, the number of exercises in each circuit will vary. Also, the number of rounds will depend on how much time you have.
Below is an example circuit that uses both strength and cardiovascular training to keep the heart rate elevated while improving strength. Active rest consists of jogging in place for one minute. Use a 1:1 work to rest ratio (exercise for one minute and jog in place for one minute) performing the following exercises:
Be sure to allow time for warm-up and cool-down.
For additional information about various circuit routines:
I’ve been trying to find a way to increase muscle strength without having to utilize free weights or weight machines. I was getting bored with the same old routine. I typically do push-ups, dips, and other body weight exercises when traveling when I have no gym access. So why not develop a routine where I use my body weight for resistance?
Benefits of body weight training include the following:
- It’s free.
- It’s versatile.
- It can be done at home or on the road.
- It improves relative strength.
- It improves movement.
- It can improve reactive strength.
Below is an example of a body weight training routine.
- Incline push-ups. Work your way up to 2 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Australian pull-ups. Work you way up to 2 sets of 10 repetitions. This is an advanced move with the straps. Start with a bar.
- Bench dips. Work your way up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Squats. Work your way up to 2 sets of 20 repetitions.
- Lying knee tucks. Work your way up to 3 sets of 15 repetitions.
- Hip bridges. Work your way up to 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
- Lunge walk. Work your way up to 2 sets of 10 repetitions (each leg).
Complete this routine 2-3 times per week. You can add more exercises and variations as you increase your strength and proficiency. It’s important to take your time and perform each exercise with proper technique.
For more information: