Circuit Training and Why You Should Try It

Ever feel like your workout is stale? Don’t look forward to it because you’ve done it numerous times before? You might’ve even reached a plateau and haven’t been able to achieve new progress lately. Don’t sweat it (lol, get it), it happens to all of us if we don’t change our workouts up. For example, we always switch up the muscle groups and add new exercises. But say you just do total-body workouts, which a lot of people do, and you’re just getting bored and losing interest. I have a solution! 

It’s called circuit training. No, you don’t need to be an athlete, a fitness extraordinaire  or even in shape! This will be the pathway to getting there and having some fun while doing so. Circuit training involves numerous stations with little rest time in between. This especially great for people who want to lose or maintain weight because you’re constantly keeping your heart rate up and your body moving. You give yourself a certain amount of time or reps at each station and then move to the next without resting. There are various ways to do this, and you can even do it at home. 

Let me give you an example. 8 Stations:

  1. Push ups 
  2. Supermans 
  3. Dumbbell swings 
  4. Mountain climbers 
  5. Plank 
  6. Curl, shoulder press, triceps extension (one sequenced movement) 
  7. High knees (in place) 
  8. Squat jumps 

You would go through say, 45 seconds of each station and move to the next. It depends on your fitness level. With some of my more beginner clients, I will give them 15 seconds rest between every two stations rather than until the end. I will give you variations at the end. Want to workout at home and don’t have any equipment? No problem.

  1. Squat jumps
  2. Push ups
  3. Reverse crunches 
  4. Russian twists 
  5. Jumping jacks
  6. Lunges
  7. Calf raises 
  8. Jog on the spot 

Don’t need any equipment for that one. And you can design the circuit training to fit your needs. Looking for only cardio? Swap the strength exercises (like push ups) for things like jumping jacks, jump rope, high knees, mountain climbers, jog in place, and so forth. Want to focus more on strength? Take out the cardio and add more strength in. Either way, you’re getting your cardio up by going from station to station without rest. Personally, I would suggest keeping both in the routine. Strength and cardio training is important for everyone, I don’t care who you are.

List of more exercises you can do (with and without equipment):

  • Crunches
  • Dips
  • Squat press
  • Plie squats
  • Wall sits
  • Triangle push ups
  • Step ups
  • Shadow boxing
  • Medicine ball throw
  • Chest press
  • Pec flies
  • Skull crushers
  • Jump lunges
  • Hip bridges
  • Burpees
  • Curls

And so on and so forth. There are tons of exercises you can do. You can make your own routine. Pull some of your favorite exercises from the list and go for it. Try to hit all parts of your body.

Beginner: 8 stations, 45 seconds at each station, 15 seconds of rest after each two stations, two minutes rest at the end, complete three circuits.

Intermediate10 stations, 1 minute at each station, 15 seconds of rest after 5 stations, two minute rest at the end, complete three circuits.

Advanced: 12 stations, 2 minutes at each station, no rest in between, two minute rest at the end, complete three to five circuits.

Please, try circuit training. At your gym, at your home, outside, wherever! Some advantages of circuit training? I already covered some but I’ll recap: saves on time, encourages fat loss, keeps your heart rate up, effective use of time and exercise, works on all muscles of your body, improves your cardio, and improves strength. Those are just a few. You choose the number of stations, length of time at each station, and how many circuits you have time to do. Challenge yourself every time.

Let me know what circuit you did and how it went! And if you have any questions, please leave a comment below.

11 Responses to "Circuit Training and Why You Should Try It"

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  1. gshipman

    November 29, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Love this. I just ditched the gym membership and have been working out at home for a month. I have a Skilz sandbag, a set of 8# hand weights, and a swiss ball. Can’t believe that’s all I need, but I really enjoy not going to the gym!

  2. lgriffiths82

    November 30, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Personally I think circuit training is the best form of CV, beats a long run any day of the week. I love to throw kettlebells in there for my circuit

  3. PAOtotheLO

    December 7, 2012 at 12:28 am

    I have been doing this recently and found my self to be getting stronger (fitter, soon, i hope!) :)

  4. Daniel

    December 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Just wanted to say that first graphic is awesome! All these years I’ve spent trying to explain circuits to clients when I could just show them a diagram! I think that picture is literally worth a thousand words. Nice routine, too.

  5. fitnessbloggers

    December 17, 2012 at 1:28 am

    Circuits for the basis of all my workouts. The best thing is you need no equipment whatsoever. You can change the degree of difficulty by simply adding timed circuits or interval training. The possibilities are endless.

    • hungryandfit

      December 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

      Definitely, love it

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  7. Alona Schlotthauer

    January 20, 2013 at 1:24 am

    mountain climbers are really full of enthusiam and courage, its really difficult to climb mountains at all…

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