Posts Tagged ‘challenge the body’

Challenge The Body: Circuit Training

Remember all that good food making substantial fuel for my workout this morning? Well, I wasn’t joking. Apparently, my love for circuit training comes with good reason. The full body style workouts broken into three mini circuits always leave my body challenged and me with an endorphin rush. Today’s workout looked like this:

Mini Circuit 1 Mini Circuit 2 Mini Circuit 3
push-ups step-ups leg extension
decline bench crunches lat pulldown flat dumbbell bench press
rear delt dumbbell raises pop/jump lunges kettlebell woodchops
hammer bicep curls kickbacks

I also followed that up with 30 minutes on the elliptical completing one of my favorite cardio intervals.

Minutes Resistance Speed / Intensity
3 minutes 7 light
2 minutes 11 quick / moderate
1 minute 15 quick / hard

Repeat the 3-2-1 combo for six total intervals and embrace the sweat. But let’s get back to the circuits shall we?

3 Reasons To Love Circuit Training

  • Circuit workouts challenge both strength and cardiovascular endurance. Going through a circuit, completing each strength training move one right after the other, gets the heart pumping while still focusing on building strength. The two combined can certainly push the body in new ways.
  • Circuit workouts provide an efficient and effective workout. I can complete a full body workout  in half the time because the circuit allows me to go continuously without stopping for breaks between each exercise.
  • Circuit workouts have endless variety. Simply switching up the order of moves can stimulate the workout and make it feel new. I can toss in so many different moves to never have a stagnant routine!

Don’t Allow These 3 Things To Keep Your From Trying Circuit Training

  • Problem: Taking up too much equipment or space. Solution: Pick exercises that all use dumbbells or free weights. Plan out a routine that incorporates more bodyweight exercises. Consider equipment grouped together in the gym and focus on moves easily done in one concentrated area. Visit the gym at a down time to have extra space/equipment available. If all else fails, you can share!
  • Problem: Don’t want to look silly going from move to move. Solution: Go in with a plan and possibly even an idea of some back-up exercises. Also, remember most gym goers are more concerned with themselves than someone else’s workout. And I tend to think people moving through circuits look like they know what they’re doing and are in there to work.
  • Problem: Circuits will be too difficult. Solution: Choose simpler moves. Complete a shorter circuit. Focus on basics. Go through a circuit only one time through and gradually build to going through two, then three, then four times per circuit.


I believe circuits are well worth the effort. They may take a little adjusting and have a bit of a learning curve when first incorporating them into a workout plan, but I find nothing like a great circuit when it comes to strength training. I simply plan out a good basic outline and plug in different moves – which no matter what combination I choose, always provides a quality workout. I like to do circuits that follow a pattern like below:

  • lower body move
  • chest or back move
  • plyometric or other compound body move (like burpees or kettlebell swings)
  • lower body move
  • chest or back move (whichever I didn’t do earlier)
  • shoulders, biceps, or triceps move
  • shoulders, biceps, or triceps move

I may also add in some core work or split the above into mini-circuits like I’ve done recently. I simply like to alternate between upper body and lower body work, focus on the larger muscle groups, and add in some extra plyometrics or other short bursts of cardio to really keep my heart rate up. I like to call it methodical madness. It may seem crazy hopping from one exercise to another, but I always keep my movements controlled with good form. I don’t rush through the workout. Methodical madness sounds about right…and it works for me.

Ever tried circuit training? If yes – do you like it? If no – what holds you back?

Posted by on July 5th, 2011 54 Comments


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Posted: November 16, 2011 at 7:54 am

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