Circuit training is a form of body conditioning that involves endurance training, resistance training, high-intensity aerobics, and exercises performed in a circuit, similar to high-intensity interval training. It targets strength building and muscular endurance. An exercise "circuit" is one completion of all set exercises in the program. When one circuit is completed, one begins the first exercise again for the next circuit. Traditionally, the time between exercises in circuit training is short and often with rapid movement to the next exercise.
Typical activities in a circuit training
A circuit should work each sections of the body individually. Typical activities include:
Core & trunk
- Squat thrusts
Effects of circuit training
Studies at Baylor University and The Cooper Institute show that circuit training is the most time-efficient way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. Studies show that circuit training helps women to achieve their goals and maintain them longer than other forms of exercise or diet.
A summary of one study noted the following:
Perhaps a most profound finding of this study, from a health perspective, is that this investigation clearly shows that performance of this circuit of exercises, this level of intensity elicited oxygen consumption values (39% to 51.5% of VO2max) that meet established guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) for the recommended intensity (40% to 85% of VO2maxR) of exercise for developing and maintaining cardio-respiratory fitness. Thus, this circuit not only provides a suitable muscular fitness stimulus but also helps to meet ACSM cardiovascular guidelines and the newly published Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 for physical activity.
One advantage is that reduced station times will encourage the participants to lift heavier weights, which means they can achieve overload with smaller number of repetitions: typically in the range of 25 to 50 depending on their training goals.
- Bodyweight exercise
- Threshold training
- General fitness training
- High-intensity interval training
- Interval training
- Isometric exercise
- Long slow distance
- Power training
- Resistance training
- Weight training
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- Heavin, Gary and Colman, Carol, C. Reprint edition (December 7, 2004). Curves: Permanent Results Without Permanent Dieting, ISBN 0-399-52956-X
- Klika, Brett; et al. "High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment". ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal. Retrieved 20 September 2013.
- Kravitz, L. (1996). "The fitness professional's complete guide to circuits and intervals". IDEA Today, 14(1), 32–43.
- "American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. The recommended quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, and flexibility in healthy adults". Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 30 (6): 975–991. 1998. doi:10.1097/00005768-199806000-00032. PMID 9624661.