Circuit training -- moving quickly from one exercise to the next with little or no rest in between sets -- is one of the most effective forms of fitness training techniques used today. The exercises can be all strength training or they can mix in some cardio moves as well. The advantages of circuit training are its effectiveness in fat burning, strength gain and aerobic conditioning, as well as its convenience.
By far the biggest advantage of circuit training is its effectiveness in building strength, burning fat and overall conditioning. By moving quickly from one exercise to the next, you keep your heart rate elevated throughout the workout. This provides aerobic conditioning in addition to muscle building. Keeping the heart rate elevated also increases fat burning. Reps in circuit-training workouts are usually high while weights are lighter, which also adds to the aerobic and fat-burning factors. According to Fitness Magazine, "an all-strength circuit burns 30 percent more calories (about nine per minute!) than a typical weight workout and offers more cardio benefits." Additional advantages, such as reduced stress on joints and increased skeletal muscle, make circuit training a highly effective workout for every fitness goal.
One of the biggest challenges for many people is trying to find the time to fit exercise into their busy schedules. Because circuit training offers both strength and aerobic benefits it is not necessary to spend hours at the gym to get results. A full-body strength-training circuit that is done properly without rest between moves provides both cardio and muscle-toning benefits. Depending on the routine, you can complete an effective circuit-training workout in as little as 20 to 30 minutes.
Convenience is another huge benefit in circuit training's corner. You don't need a gym membership or even much equipment to do this type of workout. Sure, you can use the circuit-station machines at the gym, but you can also use dumbbells, kettle bells, a body bar or the jungle gym at the local playground. You can even do it in your own home with just your body weight as resistance and exercises like squats, lunges and push-ups. The beauty of circuit training is that it can be done anywhere with anything you have around. Use gallon water bottles or cans for weights. Or do triceps dips off a chair. You can be as creative as you like. All you need are a few different exercises, performing eight to 25 reps of each one before moving on to the next without stopping. When you finish the last exercise, repeat the circuit as many more times as you like.
Boredom is one of the biggest reasons why people fall off the exercise wagon. Cardio machines can make you feel like a rat on a wheel, and endless sets of the same weight-training exercises are the epitome of monotony. With circuit training there is no opportunity to be bored or to let your mind wander. Moving quickly from one exercise to the next keeps things fresh and your workouts quick, making it much easier to find the motivation to work out on a regular basis.
- Photo Credit working out 5 image by Paul Moore from Fotolia.com