Set up and perform circuit training correctly

Set up and perform circuit training correctly

Circuit training has been part of the fixed training program of many athletes for decades. And that was and is a good idea, because it is incredibly versatile. You can perform numerous exercises and vary them over and over again. In addition, you can improve your aerobic and anaerobic endurance and your strength, speed, and balance skills with circuit training.

Circuit training was invented 1952

The inventors of circuit training are the Englishmen Ronald Ernest Morgan and Graham Thomas Adamson from the University of Leeds. It originally consisted of 24 different exercises and was actually designed for bodybuilders. However, it quickly became apparent that athletes of all disciplines could benefit from it. In the meantime, circuit training has also become a fixed component in the fitness sector.

How do I set up circuit training?

With circuit training, you can improve your conditioning skills. But, of course, it depends on the execution. Depending on the exercise selection, load, and break times, it is possible to improve the cardiovascular system, the metabolism (EPOC), or the maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max). The following three methods are trendy in circuit training:

  • Cardiovascular training: working time 1 – 5 minutes, rest time 1 – 5 minutes. The work to rest ratio is 1:1.
  • Metabolic training: working time 15 – 45 seconds, rest time: 30 – 120 seconds. The work-break ratio is 1:2-3.
  • Tabata fitness: working time: 20 seconds, rest time: 10 seconds, the work-break ratio is 2:1.

Circuit training for beginners and advanced

Beginners should first do circuit training of the cardiovascular variety. The ideal work/break ratio is 1:1. For example, you can alternate 1 minute of intense exercise and 1 minute of moderate exercise. By average load is meant an active pause. For longer intervals, it is important to choose exercises that you can do for a more extended period without your heart rate getting too high. In the recovery phase, the pulse should go down again significantly. Active recovery can be:

  • Running on the spot or boxer shuffle
  • Walking back and forth or jogging slowly

Circuit training for well trained athletes

Two trendy variations for those who have been training regularly for a while are the 1:3 or 3:1 rhythm. With the 1:3 rhythm, you have a 15-second very intense load and a break time of 45 seconds. So, with this, you can boost your calorie consumption, also, for this type of training to the so-called EPOC effect. With the 3:1 rhythm, you have a load time of 45 seconds and a break of 15 seconds. This is ideal for training strength endurance.

With circuit training, the choice of exercises is almost limitless (ⓒdavidperreira)

Tabata circuit training for professionals

The method developed by the Japanese speed skating coach Izumi Tabata has been prevalent for several years. It is a tremendous challenge for the body, although sometimes it lasts only a few minutes. You train with this variant your muscles and your cardiovascular system.

The choice of exercise program

As mentioned above, you can train your strength and/or endurance with circuit training. The time intervals depend on your fitness level and goals. It is best to choose four to eight exercises. These can be exercises with your own bodyweight or with resistance. You can also work with ergometers. If your goal is to lose weight, you should go for full-body exercises; if you want to get a lot out of your workouts in a short amount of time, Tabata is suitable for you. Ideally, your circuit should include exercises for the chest, upper and lower back, glutes, abdominals, legs, and arms. Some full-body exercises cover several muscle groups at once. The more varied your program, the better. Some of the most popular exercises in a circuit workout include:

  • Squats without and with weights or resistance.
  • Push-ups in different degrees of severity.
  • Planks in different versions.
  • Crunches and lateral raises.
  • Dips and pull-ups

Choose the right number of sets

The composition of exercises also depends on how much time you want to invest in circuit training. Four to eight different exercises are ideal. Depending on your fitness level, you can do three to five rounds. Between the sets, you should give yourself a three to five-minute break. You must master all the exercises, even when you start to feel tired.

  • Before each circuit training, you should warm up intensively enough.
  • Active stretching exercises are also recommended.
  • After a very intense strength circuit, you should also do a cool-down. The best way to do this is to run out very slowly.
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