Saturday, August 14, 2010

Circuit Training

Circuit Training: Increase intensity, decrease time, dramatic results

            Walk through your local health club or gym and observe the type of people you find, no doubt there will be a wide array of people coming from all walks of life, all with the same desire as you to improve their body and quality life. But if you look more closely you will probably realize that most everybody can be categorized into one of two categories: those who spend their time on the treadmills, elliptical, and stationary bikes sweating out mile after mile. And those who hang out in the weight room pumping the iron and watching themselves in the mirror. Both of these “clubs” have their strong points and weak points. Strength conditioning is a great way to lose body fat, have more energy, and increase sports performance, cardiovascular training on the other hand is great for strengthening the heart, increasing the efficiency of the lungs, and psychological well-being. The only problem is that you hardly have a person who is a member of both clubs, most people tend to be very biased to their preferred workout, what they don’t realize is that an effective workout plan incorporates both of these two types of training. Another reason why people have a one dimensional program is because of time constraints.
            For some people the answer lies in circuit training. Essentially, circuit training is a series of workouts done over a period time (not repetitions) with no rest in between workouts. Also circuit training is usually used to work the entire body, but it can be used for specific muscle groups if the right exercises are assigned. By doing these workouts with no rest in between you get your heart rate up and stress your lungs, just as you would with a treadmill or a Stairmaster.

            My personal experience with circuit training comes from a workout designed by Men’s Health (I usually do not endorse anything from Men’s Health, but this workout is pretty straight forward.) When I first started the workout, I was amazed at how intense these simple movements were when done for one minute and getting my heart rate up was certainly not a problem.
Here is what an example of a circuit program looks like:

Bent over row
Side Plank with reach
Push Press
Single arm DB Swing
Side Lunges
Split Jump
Lunge with Twist
Pushup Position Row

            Each exercise should last for one minute with no rest in between, after you completed all ten exercises rest two minutes that is one set. Do one or two more sets depending on your current physical condition. (Make sure you select weights that you can use for a minute at a time, you will more than likely have to use lighter weights than you initially thought.)

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