Circuit training

Circuit training. Photo: K. Ananthan  

Circuit training is used to develop strength and aerobic fitness, making it a popular training method in gyms. However, before you get confused, let me tell you circuit training is not a form of exercise per se, but relates to how an exercise session is structured.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a form of training where you perform exercises in various stations, with relatively brief intervals between each exercise station. The number of stations may range from 4 to 12. Once you complete all stations, you have completed one workout circuit.

Circuit training can be either aerobic training or resistance training, or a combination of both. When one circuit is complete, you can begin another circuit. A total of 1-3 circuits are recommended with 2 to 3 minutes of rest between each circuit. (Some trainers allow as little as 45 seconds between circuits.) Progression can come through either increasing the station time or decreasing the rest intervals.

Do not imagine that you have to be a highly trained athlete to enjoy the benefit of circuit training. Even beginners can benefit, because this is a great way to target fat loss, develop all-round fitness and improve stamina.


* You burn more calories. Circuit training can increase calorie or energy expenditure by more than 10% per session.

* You improve your stamina. As your stamina improves, you'll be able to exercise longer, or with greater intensity.

* You won't get bored. It adds variety to your exercise routine.

* You don't need special equipment. Simply modify your current routine to include interval training.

Q. What are boot camp circuits?

A. Boot camp circuits are a combination of high intensity strength and cardio exercises, designed to challenge your fitness levels. The workout moves quickly, taking you from one exercise to the next with little or no rest. Here, you are challenged as you try to keep your heart rate up. Many of these moves are advanced, so you need to stay safe and avoid injury.

* Can be structured to provide a whole body workout

* Expensive gym equipment not required

* Can be customised for your goals and fitness requirements

Q: Is circuit training a good choice for the athlete?

A: If you are an athlete, circuit training is a good choice – make sure goals at met with while planning exercise stations. Ask your coach to design a programme for your specific needs. For example, circuit training for a sport such as soccer will differ significantly compared to circuit training for a runner.

An example of a circuit training routine:

Station 1. Marching

March on the spot for 5 minutes.

Station 2. Push-up

Get into a push-up position. Arms should be placed slightly wider than shoulder-width, with back, hips and legs aligned. Bend elbows and lower the chest toward the floor and push back up. Do 16 counts

Station 3.

Skipping: Skip for 50 to 100 counts.

Station 4. Squats

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees to about a 90-degree angle, lowering yourself into a squat position. Keep your back in a neutral position, and make sure your knees do not go over your toes when you squat. Return to starting position. Do 16 counts.

Station 5. Spot jogging: Jog in place for 2 minutes.

Station 6. Ab crunch

Lie on your back with your knees bent, and your hands behind your head. Lift your shoulders off the floor and curl your legs towards your ribcage; simultaneously. Slowly, return to starting position. Do 16 counts.

Circuit Dos

* Repeat the circuit 2 to 3 times

* Rest 30 to 45 seconds between each station

The writer is a certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2021 4:34:20 AM |

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