If you have little time to spend at the gym, then circuit weight training is for you! Circuit training is a session that involves a group of exercises that strengthens your major muscle groups, such as your quadriceps, hamstrings, biceps, triceps, abs and gluts, to give maximum results in a short amount of time.
The key to circuit training is to do one set of each exercise and then repeat those same exercises again, allowing your muscles to exert themselves longer by giving them more time to relax. Before you start circuit weight training, read these tips:
1. Know Your Machine Adjustments
If you are doing circuit training on machines, it is important to adjust the machine to fit your size correctly. If the machine is not set up for your body size, then you may not be performing the exercise properly. There are usually posters set up by each machine to show how adjustments may be made to a piece of equipment. If there isn't a poster, ask a fitness consultant at your gym for assistance.
2. Know Your Limits
It is important to know how much weight your legs, for example, can handle so you don't end up causing an injury. It is better to start off at a lighter weight and then increase the resistance as you get stronger. Try recording the weight you use for each exercise, so at your next session you aren't wasting time figuring out the right resistance. Also, make notes on how you felt. If a weight was easy during a rep, write it down so you know to add two to five pounds next time.
3. Constantly Change the Routine
Don't get in a habit of using the same machine for a muscle group; and don't forget about free weights. There are so many exercises to choose from that will work one muscle group, so try a different one each session for that week. This will help prevent a fitness plateau.
4. Add Cardio into the Mix
Even though circuit training is primarily to work on strengthening muscles, it doesn't hurt to ad five minutes of cardio in between circuits to help burn more fat. Try doing jumping jacks, jumping rope, running in place, or if possible, climbing stairs.
5. Allow Your Muscles to Fully Recover
Make sure to rest the full day following a session (this doesn't mean you can't do any type of cardio exercise). This is extremely important because it allows your muscles to rebuild and strengthen. So, if you circuit trained on Monday, you wouldn't weight train again until Wednesday, for example.
6. Limit Your Rest Period Between Exercises
Since you are only doing one rep at a time per muscle group, there is no need to physically rest between circuits. This will keep your heart rate up to a productive level, allowing you to lose more weight and improve endurance.
Try circuit training tomorrow, so you can have more time to enjoy with family, friends, or do any other activity that needs to be squeezed into your day. But remember, spending time on yourself is important!