Add a circuit training workout to your strength-training routine to help you reach your fitness goals. Circuit training is a workout style that combines resistance and cardiovascular exercises into one workout session for a complete, total-body routine. Instead of performing your aerobic exercises such as walking, rowing and cycling separate from your strengthening exercises such as the bench press, leg press and crunches, you alternate the two modes of training for one, time-saving session. It can be altered, by time or amount of weight, to fit your fitness level and the workout is progressive as your strength and aerobic endurance improve.
How To Save Time With Circuit Training
Circuit training intervals are based on set amounts of time. For example, after a three-to-five minute warm-up, you perform a resistance exercise such as the seated calf raise or bench press for 15 to 45 seconds. Then, you immediately move to the next exercise in your routine, such as the leg press and perform the exercise for the same amount of time- 15 to 45 seconds. One circuit consists of nine to 12 exercises and you can complete the circuit one to three times depending on your fitness level.
Adding an aerobic component to the circuit, does wonders for your progress. You increase the number of calories burned, enhance your cardiovascular health, improve your strength and reduce your body fat. At the gym, you can easily perform up to three minutes of aerobic movements between your strength-training exercises. You can use exercise equipment such as treadmills, bicycles and stair climbers, or march in place, do jumping jacks, jump rope or alternate lifting your knees. Any aerobic movement that increases your heart rate and uses your large muscle groups will do, but choose multiple exercises for workout variety.
The design of your circuit is as individual as your workout wear. Choose what feels comfortable and what brings results. You can arrange your circuit to include two strength-training exercises followed by an aerobic interval that lasts between 30 seconds and three minutes. Or, you can alternate a strength-training exercise with a cardiovascular exercise and perform an aerobic movement after each machine, or free-weight station you select. Include strengthening exercises for your back, shoulders, chest, arms, legs and core when you design your routine. Choices include exercises such as the lat pull-down, chest press, shoulder press, leg extension, leg curl, calf raise, back extension and abdominal crunch. Alternate these with marches, jumping jacks, front kicks, squat jumps, jumping rope, walking, stair climbing and dancing for your cardiovascular interval. You can also arrange the circuit so that the time spent in resistance-training and aerobic-training is equal. For instance, perform 30 seconds of arm curls followed by 30 seconds of jumping jacks.
Select a weight that causes muscular fatigue during the last five seconds of your interval. As your strength improves, increase the resistance, or the duration of the interval, to continue to see results. Aim to perform a circuit workout three days a week with a day of rest in between sessions. Cool down at the end of your workout with a three to five minute walk and then stretch your major muscle groups.