Circuit training is a method of weight training that can be used to achieve weight loss. Circuit training involves performing various resistance training exercises, in a row, with little rest in between movements. It is a good way to incorporate the maximum amount of exercise volume into the shortest amount of time. In order to perform circuit training effectively, a few important tips should be followed.
Tip 1: Cross Train
Cross training means completing different types of exercises. To cross train, an exerciser should avoid repeating the same movements again and again. Because the body is very good at adapting to imposed demands, in order to force the body to change, the imposed demands need to continually change.
Cross training keeps the body guessing and responding. When circuit training, try to do a different routine every exercise day. It is okay to return to a specific type of exercise more than once, but this should not be done regularly or consecutively.
Tip 2: Interval Train
Interval training is essentially a method of cardiovascular training. When circuit training, by adding short bursts of intense cardio exercise such as jumping jacks, interval training can be achieved.
Exercisers need to understand heart rate stages in order to perform interval training appropriately. Maximum heart rate can be calculated by subtracting a person's age from 220.
- Once maximum heart rate is determined, multiply that number by .65 to find the estimated low heart rate stage. This is around where a person's heart rate should be during rest periods between sets and between movements.
- Multiply maximum heart rate by .75 to find a medium heart rate zone. This is the level that a person's heart rate should be around during the weight training portion of a routine.
- Multiply the maximum heart rate by .85 to find the level that a person's heart rate should be at during the intense cardio bursts of a routine.
A person should switch between high, medium and low heart rate exercises throughout a routine. This type of interval training maximizes the body's ability to burn fat even after exercise is completed. Heart rate monitors can be worn to track heart rate zones.
Tip 3: Limit Rest
Rest periods allow the heart rate to decelerate to a resting, or almost resting, rate. When the heart rate lowers to its resting stage, a person is no longer working at a productive level. In order to keep the heart rate up, and to potentially lose weight, resistance training exercises need to be performed back to back. Because muscles fatigue, this means that consecutive exercises need to target different body parts.
A good combination of resistance exercises could involve 1 to 3 sets of an exercise for one body part, followed by a short rest period, followed by 1 to 3 sets of an exercise for a different body part.
Samantha Kopf – National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer