Circuit Training to Kick-Start Your Fitness Routine
Does a busy schedule strictly limit the amount of time you can spend at Catalyst? Are you finding yourself getting bored performing the same fitness routines week after week? Have your performance increases “hit a wall?” Would you like a way to boost overall endurance other than cardio machines or outdoor activities? Circuit training could be the answer for adding workout excitement, boosting performance, and rewarding both body and mind with welcome variety.
What Exactly is Circuit Training?
In a nutshell, circuit training is a series of strategically selected exercises performed one-after-another to provide cardiovascular and muscular-fitness benefits. Typically, a “circuit” consists of about 8 to 10 exercises or activity “stations,” each designed to challenge a different muscle group. When an exercise station is finished (determined by either time spent or repetitions completed), participants quickly advance to the next station and immediately begin a new exercise. The goal is to perform resistance exercises in short bursts, using resistance heavy enough to provide a challenge, but light enough to allow high repetitions. The resistance selected should allow for continual repetitions throughout the time spent at a station.
Variations of Circuit Training
While there are many approaches to circuit training, they generally fall into two distinct classifications: vertical training and horizontal or station training.
For vertical circuit training, participants complete one set of exercises at a circuit station. They then proceed to the next station, and then the next, and so on, until the circuit is completed. Participants may then begin the circuit sequence again according to the session plan.
In horizontal or station circuit training, all sets of a single exercise are performed in succession with a very short and defined rest in between before moving to the next station.
Main Advantages of Circuit Training
Because each circuit station addresses different muscle groups, muscle fatigue does not halt progress, and an elevated heart rate is achieved and maintained—a benefit traditional resistance training typically does not provide.
The continuous challenge of circuit training puts a steady demand on your cardiovascular system and participating muscle groups, resulting in improved long-term performance capability for both of these body systems. For anyone wanting or needing a break from monotonous or shock-inducing activity like running, circuit training provides multi-benefit alternative.
Increased Muscle Mass
While most circuit training is focused on aerobic conditioning, the building of new and balanced muscle groups is another realized benefit. Because aging naturally brings with it a steady decline in muscle mass, this added benefit makes circuit training a great idea for those middle-aged and beyond. Especially when you consider that maintaining muscle mass helps keep up the metabolism while reducing the risk of health detriments that include osteoporosis and weight gain.
Increased Calorie Burn
For and “average build” person weighing 150-pounds, a 60-minute session of moderate intensity circuit training will burn over 300 calories, while a challenging intensity session will burn close to 600!
With circuit training, the increased calorie burn lasts for hours after the session is completed. This is due in part to the building of new muscle tissue that naturally burns more calories at rest, helping to keep metabolism level elevated.
Save Time and See Results
Circuit training provides efficient results in a relatively short time. This is partially because circuit training can incorporate a number of different routines, allowing daily workouts without the injury risk associated with overtraining.
Enjoy Fitness More
Circuit training makes exercising challenging, interesting, and seemingly go by faster. This is especially true if you try circuit training through organized classes or in coordinated groups. Changing the starting point progression sequence in a circuit can also help keep workouts fresh and invigorating.
Circuit Training and Catalyst
Because circuit training requires moving from exercise to exercise swiftly and without delay, trying to incorporate a consistent circuit training routine yourself during peak or crowded hours may prove problematic. That’s why Catalyst offers a variety circuit-training-styled classes that deliver varying degrees of intensity. Body Sculpt, Blast-N-Tone, and PiYo are just 3 of our most popular!
You may also want to consider scheduling a circuit training consultation with one of our Personal Trainers. We can assist in putting together and coaching you through a customized routine that considers your current abilities, goals, and time constraints.
Circuit Training improvement Tips
Already incorporating a circuit training regiment? Consider these modifications to help get even more out of your routine:
Increase intensity: Increase weight or resistance level, or choose a different exercise that works the same muscle group. For cardio-focused routines, accelerate tempo or add an additional exercise.
Reduce time spent at each station, especially cardio stations. Try increasing cardio intensity and reduce time at that station by 25%. Doing this will let you complete more stations within your workout.
Mix up your station order, or perform the circuit backward. Changing up your station order eliminates monotony while challenging the muscles and body in different ways.