What is Circuit Training?

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There are so many different kinds of workouts out there, so it’s very easy to become confused by all the different types that you may hear being spoken about.

At the end of the day, it’s all about calories in and calories out, but what type of exercise will help you burn the most calories and optimize your activities for the goals you are trying to meet?

To determine the right answer to that question, you first need to explore the different types of training that exist and then go from there.

Of all the types out there, circuit training is definitely near the top of the list for both popularity and effectiveness.

But what exactly is it? Let’s explore.

To put it simply, circuit training is any type of exercise where you actually alternate between multiple activities.

Most circuit trainers alternative between 5 and 10 activities, but you could do more or less depending on the time you are training, your current fitness levels, your goals, and so on.

The main goal is that your circuit training schedule should target multiple muscle groups through the different activities.

When you put all of your selected activities together, you should ideally be able to target your entire body!

That’s why professionals choose so many different activities in order to achieve their goals.

An example of circuit training would be a round of exercise that includes a lower-body exercise, upper-body exercise, and a core exercise.

This would be a single circuit (one move for each body area) and you would repeat it however many times until your entire workout is complete.

The idea is to work as many muscle groups as possible, going in turns so as not to completely wear them out before your workout is over, and then taking a minimum amount of rest so that you can hydrate and catch your breath between circuits.

Rests in-between circuits should be cut short or avoided as much as possible, though, since you’ll be resting your legs as you work on your arms, and resting your arms as you work on your core, and so on.

That’s why circuit training helps you to get a lot done in a little amount of time because you are moving from one body part to the next and then back again, giving each muscle group time to rest without your entire body taking a rest, as most other types of training require you to do.

An Example of a Circuit Training Workout

Looking to get into circuit training?

It’s widely acclaimed thanks to its high efficiency and its ability to keep you moving without a break for upwards of 20-30 minutes at a time.

Since you’re supposed to cycle between muscle groups, you’ll give one muscle group a rest while you work on another, which helps to keep your heart rate high and, therefore, leads to the best effectiveness for your routine.

However, many people don’t know how to structure their circuit training workout.

If you don’t have a personal trainer, it can definitely be a challenge to decide how to set things up and lay things out in order to enjoy the most benefits from your circuit training routine.

Here’s an example that can help lead you down the right track.

1) Lower Body

In this example routine, we’ll start with your lower body. This might mean a series of squats.

The amount will depend on your fitness level and the amount of intensity you’re looking to achieve during your workout.

This lower-body move could be swapped out for a variety of others, like calf raises, cycling, and so on.

2) Upper Body

After your lower-body move, you may then move to your upper-body by doing bicep curls, pull-ups, punches, or a similar upper-body move that’s going to work your upper-body muscles.

While you’re doing this, your lower body will be getting a break, which is helping your muscles re-fuel for next time you repeat the circuit.

3) Core Moves

You might end your circuit with one or more core moves, such as crunches, twists, and so on.

Any moves that work your back, sides, and trunk are considered core moves and can be put into this part of your circuit.

You can do one moves or do multiple core moves, it depends on the length of your circuit and, again, your fitness levels.

Building The Right Routine

When you go to build your own circuit training routine, realize that you can choose any number of moves.

Most people will choose about 5 moves for each muscle group.

The number of repetitions you complete each go-round will depend on how active you are and how intense you want your workout to be.

Here’s one all put together:

  • Lower Body: five calf raises, five squats, five butt-kicks
  • Upper Body: five bicep curls, five tricep curls, five front raises
  • Core Moves: five crunches, five Russian twists, five plank jacks
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