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How to Use a Circuit Machine

A circuit machine can refer to different types of workout equipment. There are machines that can be adjusted to work out every part of the body or you may find a group of machines designed for a circuit workout at a gym. This article will focus on principles to teach you how to use both set-ups.

Circuit Training Basics

Circuit training refers to an overall body workout that combines strength training and aerobic exercise. It's an excellent way to slim and tone while also working the heart. 

Pick 7 - 11 Weight Lifting Exercises

The best circuit workout takes 15-25 minutes to go through one cycle, including 2 minutes of aerobics in the middle. You can add more machines or start with less if you want to keep the total time under half an hour.

Get a Demonstration Regarding Proper Machine Use

Many workout machines come with drawings about how to use them, but it's really important to see a live person use them. Most gym memberships include a discounted session where someone will show you how to set up the machine and then use it properly to maximize the workout and avoid injury. If you purchase your own circuit machine, take the time to watch the instructional video, even if you have had years of experience at the gym.

Start With a Stretching Warm-up

Take at least 10 minutes to slowly stretch the body to prepare it for exercise. Basic leg stretches and arm stretches will ensure that the muscles are ready for action.

Get the Heart Rate Up

Now take 10 minutes to increase your heart rate to the low-end of whatever is recommended for aerobic benefit for your age and weight. You can march in place or do leg lifts or dancing. If at the gym, use a stationery bike or elliptical machine. Go at a moderate pace and avoid a sprinting or super high level pace.

Start Your Weight Routine

Now that your heart rate is at an aerobically beneficial level, you can start your weight lifting work. In a circuit routine, it's important to keep moving so that your heart rate stays up. If you're at home with one machine, quickly get to work on it with your first set of lifts. At the gym, go to the first machine that's available of the ones you have chosen prior to your workout. Set the resistance so that the 15th repetition is doable but very difficult.

Intersperse Aerobic Work

To keep your workout an aerobic one, mix in 2 minutes of aerobics throughout the workout. If you're at the gym, you may be able to keep your heart rate up through one whole cycle of weights just by moving quickly to the next machine and only doing the one set at a time.

Cool Down

Cool down for at least 5 minutes so that your heart rate returns to normal gradually. This can involve slower aerobic work or merely walking around the gym and going to the locker room. It's a really good idea to then stretch again for 5-10 minutes. It can be quite nice to do your post-workout stretching in a whirlpool at the gym.


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