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Circuit training is the most efficient, fun, and rapidly fat burning workout style you can do. I have written more about circuits over on Fit Women’s Weekly here. But essentially, you can do them anywhere, they are fast and keep you constantly engaged, plus they not only utilize interval training, they build lean muscle mass.
What Is A Circuit Workout?
Just to recap so you don’t have to read the other article if you don’t want…
A circuit workout is a series of exercises back to back with little to no rest in between. After the series of exercises is complete, you take a predetermined rest and then you usually do the circuit again so many times. Or you my have another circuit of different exercises which to do.
What Types of Exercises Make Up A Good Circuit Workout?
The best thing about a circuit workout is you can literally make anything into a circuit. So in the general scheme of things, any exercise you can think of… even running on a treadmill is game to be part of a circuit.
I use circuits for 99% of all my training. So let’s look at how I would train a beginner woman and then a more advanced woman.
The Beginner Circuit Workout:
The beginner is a woman that is just getting back into exercise. Most of the time, even if you have been working out, you should be a beginner. For example, if you can’t do at least 10 perfect pushups then you should start with beginner… you’ll get faster results.
So the exercises that I would use for beginners are all bodyweight moves.
Bodyweight exercises are extremely powerful when built into a specific circuit. They are great at building muscle and leaning your body out.
There are occasions where I would not use bodyweight only and introduce a band into the workout. Bands are one of my favorite types of resistance for beginners. They do two things which no other type of resistance can do:
As you stretch the band, the resistance increases causing your body to use more strength.
They really utilize your neuromuscular system to help sustain balance… you’ll feel this the minute you use them.
Here is a great circuit you can do with a band:
The More Advanced Circuit Workout:
When I am working with a client that is more advanced of that has built their strength up over time, I can introduce more weights.
This really opens up more variety of a circuit. As a general rule, I usually never get rid of bodyweight moves completely. They are always part of my circuits because they are so powerful.
When using weights, in a circuit, it’s important to realize that you can’t go too heavy. You’re usually not trying to lift heavy. So about 75% of your maximal strength will work perfect.
A really cool trick that I will use is combining weights with a bodyweight move. For example, you can do a dumbbell bench press and then move right into pushup jumps which are very dynamic. This will exhaust your pectoral muscles and induce some good results.
Sorry, I don’t have any of these types of circuits filmed. I hardly ever use them with clients as it does take a lot more skill and strength to move to this level.
They will probably be part of Fit Women’s Weekly soon, but there are no plans at this moment.
So What Exercises Can You Use?
Remember in any circuit, you can do anything. It’s how you piece it together and when you decide to end the circuit.
I can go off on a tangent on program design but this is when it’s best to work with a trainer to make sure your programs are bringing about the results you want.