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Circuit Training: The Fastest Way To Fitness!

Apr 9, 2008
If you're committed to getting in shape and improving your overall health and fitness, the efficiency of circuit training offers a complete solution! Circuits improve overall body strength, including the strength and resiliency of tendons and ligaments, and the integrity of your joints.

A well designed circuit training program will build strength, increase stamina, tone muscles, improve body awareness, burn fat, and improve your aerobic and muscular endurance all at the same time!

Circuit training is my absolute favorite method of fitness training! Circuits can be successfully developed for those desiring to lose weight, conditioning for better athletic performance, and for injury rehabilitation. The fast pace and constantly changing workouts provide a different type of stimulus to the body and keep my clients from getting bored with their workouts.

A professionally designed circuit training routine can be totally personalized to give you exactly what you want. Whether you are a beginner to fitness, recovering from an injury and returning to the gym, or an elite athlete seeking improvement in your particular sport, circuits can be designed to emphasize strength, endurance, speed, weight loss, agility, balance, or any other aspect of your fitness that is important to you.

Traditionally, the circuit training format utilizes a group of 6-10 exercise "stations," where you complete one exercise right after the other at heart thumping intensity! Each exercise is performed for a specific number of repetitions or for a prescribed time period before moving on to the next exercise.

The exercises within each circuit are separated by a brief rest interval (10-30 seconds), with each circuit followed by a timed rest period of 60 seconds or more. The total number of circuits performed per exercise session will vary depending upon your fitness objectives and training level (beginner, intermediate or advanced).

My Suggested Guidelines When Circuit Training

* A warm up should be at low to moderate intensity for 8-10 minutes. Follow with stretching of all major muscle groups

* Perform circuit workouts 2-3x per week, leaving at least 48 hours between each session.

* Select 6-8 sessions for each workout.

* Arrange your exercises (or stations) so that they alternate between muscle groups (i.e., triceps dips followed by squats), and work each muscle group during the sessions.

* Perform 10-12 repetitions of each exercise, using a weight that is challenging yet allows you to perform each repetition with perfect form.

* Leave time for an adequate cool down of 8-10 minutes at the end of your workout.

* Honestly consider your level of fitness! If you've never done any sort of circuit work before (even if you think you are fit and in shape), be conservative. Sore muscles, aching joints and the increased likelihood of injury will be the result if you push yourself harder than your body is ready for.

Cardio Circuit Fat Burning Routine

This is a great circuit training routine that has fat-burning cardio intervals between exercises. You need minimum equipment: a pair of medium-weight dumb bells, a medicine ball, a jump rope and one of those 65 cm Physio balls. You may need to adjust the number of repetitions in accordance with your current fitness level. Watch your heart rate! Rest as you need to with the goal of completing the circuit with little to no rest between exercises.

Cycle through twice, advancing to 3 circuits as tolerated. Do this routine 3x per week for 3-4 weeks, then change to a different routine.

And as usual, please consult your physician before undertaking this or any other exercise program.

Here we go!

* Rope jumps - 50 reps
* Medicine Ball Wood chops - 20 each direction
* Dumbbell shoulder carry squat and press - 20 reps
* Hamstring Bridge / Rolls with physioball - 20 reps
* Physioball pushups - as many reps as possible
* Rope jumps - 50 reps
* Dumb bell alternating bent over rows - 20 reps each side
* Medicine ball stationary lunges - 15 reps each leg
* Medicine ball double crunch - 20 reps
* Medicine ball mountain climbers - 20 reps
* Medicine ball prone jumping jacks - 20 reps
* Bench triceps dips - as many reps as possible

Try adding circuit training to your current workout routine, or in place of 1-2 days of plain old cardio.

You'll love what you see in the mirror!
About the Author
Deborrah Cooper is an ISSA certified trainer and ACE Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant specializing in women's fitness in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit her website at http://www.femalefatloss.com
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