What is circuit training? Exercise tips

Circuit Training is a fantastic workout that’s great for everyone, regardless of fitness level. It incorporates a variety of exercises at separate stations and you take part in small groups, taking on each exercise at your own pace. It’s is a great way to help you get in shape, while the friendly nature of the classes means you’re more likely to keep coming back.

What is Circuit Training? Definition, Examples & Benefits

Circuit training has been around for ages in various styles, forms and names, but essentially, circuits training describes any class that includes you participating in a number of different exercises at different stations among small groups of you. Circuit training is a brilliant way to get in shape and the social element of it means you’re much more likely to stay motivated and keep attending than with other group exercise classes or lone exercise sessions like going to the gym or swimming lengths.

Typically, you’ll be participating in a circuits class exercise for anywhere between 20 seconds and 90 seconds per rep, per exercise, with a short rest between each rep.

What Happens in a Circuit Training Class?

Typically, a circuit training class will consist of a number of different exercise stations being set up around a room and the participants will be split up into groups of two or three people, each starting at one specific station and doing the exercise at that station for a set amount of time. Once the time’s passed, you get a short rest and then you move on to the next exercise with the rest of your group. This cycle continues until the class is over and everyone’s completed all the exercises.

Common Circuit Training Exercises

A typical circuit training class will incorporate a number of different exercises and workouts; including cardiovascular, resistance and weight training. This is to ensure it gives you a balanced session and helps you reach your targets as quickly as possible – whatever they may be.

You’re likely to begin with gentle cardio warm-up circuit to ensure your muscles and your heart are all ready and raring to go. Once you’re warmed up, you’re likely to do a selection of total body training exercises, such as burpees, squats and jumping jacks, while you’ll also do upper body strength exercises including push ups, dumbbell exercises and bench dips.

You’ll also do some lower body workouts too, including lunges and squats, while circuit classes will include core exercises such as sit ups, crunches and bicycle kicks. Once you’ve completed your circuit a number of times, you’ll do a gentle warm down and then you’re done!

What’s the Difference Between Circuit Training and Interval Training?

While both circuit training and interval training work in similar ways, there are in fact some fairly fundamental differences between the two that will help you decide which is right for you. For instance, circuit training involves participating in a number of different exercises, whereas interval training is completing the same exercise multiple times and is almost exclusively aerobic exercise, whereas circuits training can involve aerobic activities as well as strength training exercises.

What do I Need to Take Part in Circuit Training?

You don’t need any specialist equipment to take part in a circuit training class. Just bring yourself, a bottle of water and a towel with you. All the equipment will be provided by the centre. Just be sure to wear a pair of trainers and loose, comfortable exercise clothing.

Benefits of Circuit Training

Circuit training has loads of benefits, ranging all the way from its flexibility, the variety of exercises you get to do, as well as the fact that the social nature of the class makes you more likely to keep coming back.

  • You can work at your own pace: Whatever your fitness level, you can go through the circuit at your own pace, meaning you won’t be left behind
  • Variety of exercises: There’s a huge range of exercises you can enjoy, meaning whatever your targets, you can work towards them
  • Friendly environment: You work in groups every session and so the social nature of the class means you’re more likely to keep coming back, thanks to the motivation you give one another
  • Great for burning calories and fat: Most circuit exercises are fairly high-intensity, so they are absolutely brilliant for burning excess body fat
  • Makes you fitter: As well as helping you lose weight, the intense cardiovascular workout is great for improving your fitness
  • Building muscle: The body weight exercises included in circuit training are also great for helping to build lean muscle mass

Can Anyone Take Part in Circuit Training?

Circuit training is specifically designed to ensure anyone can join in and take advantage of all the benefits. You can take each exercise at your own pace, building up the intensity as you get fitter, while you can vary your commitment to each station, depending on how confident you are with each exercise. If you have any injuries or medical conditions, it’s worthwhile letting your instructor know, just so they can keep an eye on you.

If you’d like to give circuit training a go, book a class now, or find your nearest centre here.