Whether you are trying to improve your overall fitness, have only a short amount of time to spend at the gym, or are training with a specific goal in mind, there are circuit training routines that can help you achieve your goals.
Circuit training is not a form of exercise, but rather an approach to exercise. Through circuit training you can simultaneously work on cardio and strength training or target a specific grouping of muscles.
The key to circuit training is to take only short breaks of 60 seconds between exercises, keeping your heart rate elevated at all times. You can move from strength training equipment that works your arms, to a series of moves that sculpt your core before moving on to work your legs. Circuit training can be done on stationary exercise equipment, on a mat using your own body weight as resistance, on Nautilus machines or on a combination of all three. The best part about circuit training is that you get to tailor the workouts to your fitness level, fitness goals and the amount of time you have to spend working out.
Circuit Training Routines
Give some of these routines a try to mix up your workout and try circuit training for yourself.
Short Amount of Time
If you only have 25 minutes for exercise, try this routine at home or at the gym to get a fast, total body workout. Complete each exercise in order, spending 30 seconds on the exercise with 60 seconds of rest in between. When you have completed the circuit, rest for three minutes and then complete it again.
- Squat Jumps - Stand with your feet hip width apart, bend your knees into a squat position and push upward until your feet leave the floor. Land with your knees slightly bent and repeat.
- Push ups
- Reverse Crunches
- Squat Thrusts
- Burpees - Execute a squat thrust, but before coming back up, lower yourself into a push up and up again.
- Superman - Lay face down on the floor with your arms out in front of you. Flex your back muscles, pulling your arms, chest and legs off the floor while balancing on your stomach.
Nautilus and Mat
If you're looking for a resistance training workout that is quick to execute and can grow with you, give this one a try. Start the first week with the same amount of time as the previous circuit routine, and the following week, go up to 45 seconds per exercise. After a few weeks, increase again to 60 seconds at a time with the same amount of rest in between.
- Leg press
- Push ups
- Reverse Crunch
- Seated row
- Bicep curls
- Lateral Pull Down
If you are focusing on building muscle and increasing strength, give this circuit training routine a try. Rest for 60 seconds between each set, using a moderate amount of weight, not the highest amount you can carry.
- Sqauts - 30 Reps
- Bicep Curls - 30 Reps
- Leg Curls - 30 Reps
- Bench Press - 30 Reps
- Reverse Crunch - 15 Reps
- Dead Lifts - 15 Reps
Increasing the Routine
As you get stronger and your endurance grows, you can increase the amount of time spent at each exercise. Keep the rest periods the same and don't shorten them as you grow stronger. Your muscles will still need the time to recover between sets regardless of how strong they are getting. Perform each circuit two to three times a week for maximum results, or try fitting in a 25-minute circuit training workout the next time you only have a short amount of time to spend at the gym.
Circuit training routines can help you increase muscle tone and strength while elevating your heart rate. If you don't have time to do a full cardio workout on top of a full strength training routine, this could be the answer. Give circuit training a try and increase your stamina, fitness and strength in minutes a week.