What is Circuit Training?

We’ve all heard about it – a new funky fitness phrase that loves to be thrown around. But what is circuit training exactly?

Circuit training is a great way to develop strength and cardiovascular fitness at the same time. A typical circuit will consist of a number of exercises performed one after the other with minimal periods of rest in between.

This form of exercise is very popular these days. A lot of gyms are incorporating circuit classes because people are attracted to the concept of maximal effort in minimal time.

That’s really what circuit training is all about. You are increasing your intensity and decreasing your resting periods. It allows you to be efficient and effective at the same.

So what are some benefits of circuit training?

First, it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Even one circuit will boost your heart rate and have you huffing and puffing. As you continue to minimize your resting periods you will continue to increase your intensity. An elevated heart rate will result in an oxygen deficit – a rise in your epoc levels – which subsequently will cause you to burn more calories even after your workout.

Second, circuit training is a great way to build muscular endurance. You won’t be putting on size with this kind of workout, but you will get lean.

Third, circuit-based workouts can finally help you get rid of the “I have no time” excuse. This form of exercise is extremely efficient. You can complete an entire workout within 30 minutes and feel great afterward! The shorter you keep your resting periods, the shorter your workout will be.

Lastly, there is so much variety when it comes to circuit training that simply beats any form of cardiovascular training you’re doing today. You can do bodyweight circuits, dumbell circuits, plyometric circuits, barbell circuits – the list goes on and on.

I’ve put together a short video to give you an example of a circuit I do with a barbell in my basement. Hopefully, it will give you an idea of what circuit training is and how to go about putting together your own circuits!

Watch the video here!

Hopefully this gave you a better understanding of what circuit training is. Please share your own experiences with circuit training in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “What is Circuit Training?”

  1. Unbelievable how tough circuits are! I think I’m fit until a do a round of circuits and huffing and puffing come pretty quickly… I always use them when I travel I don’t have t worry about finding a gym.
    Raymond

  2. Cool post,

    I love how this is like the antidote to a lot of the complex machines, equipment and routines we are told we need to get in shape. What could be simpler than one man, and a barbell? Simple, just not easy!

    Have to admit though, I haven’t attempted a circuit in the gym in a long while, at my gym its hard enough trying to superset two exercises without someone jumping in before I’m done. Do you think circuits are more suited to home workouts?

    Michael

  3. I include circuit style training and strength training in my clients and my own routine. I love it when I can show someone all you need is something as simple as a barbell, dumbbells, or your own body weight to do circuits and you will have a great workout.

    Louis

  4. @Raymond
    Circuit training is great for traveling. What kind of circuits do you do?

    @Michael
    That’s what I love about circuit training – the simplicity of it! You don’t need any equipment, barely any space and you can have an amazing space. I’ve heard people complain about doing circuits in gyms before…it’s hard to get the equipment you need when you do it. That’s why I stick with bodyweight exercises and kettlebells/dumbells for my circuits.

    @Louis
    I’m glad you’ve had success with circuit training!

    @Mike
    My clients love circuit training as well! Thanks for the comment.

  5. Hi Srdjan

    Also a big fan of circuits and at the moment I probably use a form of this type of training in all my workouts both at home or in the gym (if its not too busy). Apart from endurance I do find you can still work for strength and size using mini circuits of compound and isolation exercises while getting the benefits of conditioning and extra fat loss. As you say though it is the variety that makes them such a great way to stay in shape because you never get bored.

    like the vid

    cheers

    Howard

  6. @Howard
    Thanks for the comment. I’ve done a lot of mini circuits as you call them where I’ve combined compound and isolation exercises. I’ve gotten some great results using this technique. I typically do full body workouts like this.

  7. I love circuits. Like others have mentioned, I feel that when I need a good butt kicking I will throw in some circuit training to my routine. It usually puts me in my place, in terms of how fit I think I am! Great work man, love the video!

    Cheers,
    Jordan

  8. @Dave
    Thanks for the comment! I typically set aside an entire workout for circuit training. I’ll pick out my exercises and do the circuit 3 times. This really gets my heart rate up.

    @Jordan
    It seems as though people don’t “put themselves in their place” often enough. I do circuit training twice a week to ensure I’m always fit and ready to go. It’s important to push yourself outside of your comfort zone at least once a week. Thanks for the compliments!

  9. When I first started reading this post I thought “forget this” since I won’t be joining a club. But your video showed me that I can do this with minimal equipment – I have a barbell, I just don’t have a basement!

    1. Hey Jean, I’m glad you stuck around to see that you don’t need a gym membership to get fit. You just need a few tools and some space (it doesn’t have to be a basement 🙂 ). Let me know if you need any help! Cheers.

  10. I became interested with circuiy training after reading this post. I believe, it would work for me. I’m really glad to have browsed your page and learned so much about this work out.

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