In my opinion circuit training is one of the best forms of exercise. To my mind, if you want to get fit then do circuits as they are ideal for both strength and endurance training. The best thing about them is that they can be done anywhere, inside or out and even better, you do not require any equipment. You can simply use your own body weight.
I have recently introduced circuits to one of my clients. Originally she wasn’t very keen and somewhat intimidated, as are many people, but she is now a complete convert and really enjoys them. Her fitness levels have rocketed so we have intensified the training session to reflect this. Consequently, her running speeds have greatly improved too.
A basic circuit can consist of a 10 minute warm up, followed by some stretches. Then comes the fun part, the actual circuit. The easiest way is to set yourself 8-10 stations and do 10 repetitions at each station for the first circuit, have a two minute rest and then do eight reps, a two minute rest and finally 6 reps. The sort of stations to do are sit ups, press ups, burpees, sprints, high knee lifts, squat thrusts, star jumps, the plank, squat jumps to name but a few. My client’s current favourite is standup liedowns. Yes, you simply stand up and then lie down and repeat . Its amazing how tiring it is.
As you gain in fitness then the station can be more intensive. For instance change a star jump station to burpees. Also change the repititions to time. So for instance, spend 30 secs or a minute at each station rather than doing a number of reps can really increase the intensity. Another idea is to either run to the next station, if training outside or run around the hall between each station.
A circuit can be set up to overload certain muscle groups, so a number of stations all working the same muscles can be put together, then the next set of stations can work another muscle group and so on. A class can work in pairs, so whilst one person is doing a cardio exercise the other person could be doing a strengh exercise. The station time can be dependant on how fast the person is doing the cardio. This really focusses the mind of individuals as the length of time is depdendant on effort.
I hope you are beginning to get the idea of the variety of circuits and the sort of fun and camaraderie circuits creates.
Summer is ideal to start circuit training as they can be done outside in relative comfort. However, don’t think that they cannot be done outside in the winter. Its just a bit more muddy!!