Updated: May 19
Do you remember those early fitness movies such as P90x or Insanity? They were actually effective! This is because they used the concept of circuit training. Circuit training is a type of workout that involves moving from one exercise to another with minimal rest in between. This type of exercise is optimal for people on a time crunch or someone that wants to get their workout in and out. It’s a high-intensity workout that can be done with a variety of equipment or just using bodyweight exercises. Circuit training has become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason – it offers a multitude of benefits for those who want to get in shape and improve their fitness. Let's examine some benefits of circuit training:
Circuit training is a time-efficient way to work out. Because you move from one exercise to another without much rest in between, you can get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. This means you can fit in a full-body workout even if you only have 30 minutes to spare. Pick at least 5 exercises that you can rotate amongst either involving the same body part, a body chain, or a full body workout.
2. Cardiovascular benefits
Circuit training is a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness. By keeping your heart rate up throughout the workout, you can increase your endurance and build a stronger circulatory system. This can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular issues. As you conquer specific rotations you will find that things get easier and you can go for longer, this means it is time to switch up the rotation or add to it. Find your target heart rate and track it as you progress through the workout. Circuit Training can help reduce high blood pressure and result in a decreased risk of Cardiovascular accidents (1). Intense circuits should only be done a few times a week however otherwise their benefits are reversed and it can lead to oxidative stress and can actually elevate blood pressure (1).
3. Builds strength and Muscle
Circuit training can also help you build strength. Because you’re moving from one exercise to another, you’re constantly challenging your muscles in new ways. You will find that circuit training can actually recruit type 1 and type 2 muscle fibers helping you feel the benefits of building endurance as well as power. The best circuit training programs incorporate exercises that recruit the most muscle groups. This can help you build strength and improve your overall fitness. One study concluded that progressive mechanical tension overload, as is used in circuit training, is the main contributor to building strength a muscle mass (2).
4. Burns calories and results in Weight Loss
Circuit training is a high-intensity workout that can help you burn a lot of calories. One study saw a significant increase in subjects' energy expenditure and oxygen uptake during circuit-style training (3). Because you’re constantly moving, you’re working multiple muscle groups at once, which can help you burn more calories than traditional weightlifting or cardio workouts in a shorter amount of time. A lot of the benefits of circuit training can extend into the recovery period as can be seen in HIIT, a type of circuit training. This is because this style of exercise sees a prolonged increase in metabolic rate post-workout so that you continue to expend more calories after ending your workout. Evidence suggests that circuit training can be an effective method of exercise for overweight and obese individuals while showing slower effects for those within a normal weight range (4).
Circuit training is a versatile workout that can be done with a variety of equipment or just using bodyweight exercises. This means you can do it at home, at the gym, or even outside. You can also customize your circuit to target specific muscle groups or focus on specific goals.
6. More Engaging
Circuit training is a fun and engaging way to work out. Because you’re constantly moving from one exercise to another, you don’t get bored as quickly as you might with traditional weightlifting or cardio workouts. This can help you stay motivated and stick to your fitness goals. On the days when you may feel as though you lack motivation there is nothing like circuit training to get you going, and before you know it your workout will be complete.
Circuit training is an efficient, effective, and versatile way to improve your fitness. Whether you’re looking to build strength, burn calories, or improve your cardiovascular health, circuit training can help you achieve your goals. So, give it a try and see how it can transform your fitness routine.
Before starting any fitness program or making dietary changes, including supplementation, please consult your physician for a thorough examination.
Tian D, Meng J. Exercise for Prevention and Relief of Cardiovascular Disease: Prognoses, Mechanisms, and Approaches. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Apr 9;2019:3756750. doi: 10.1155/2019/3756750. PMID: 31093312; PMCID: PMC6481017.
Krzysztofik, M., Wilk, M., Wojdała, G., & Gołaś, A. (2019). Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(24). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16244897
Benito PJ, Alvarez-Sánchez M, Díaz V, Morencos E, Peinado AB, Cupeiro R, Maffulli N; PRONAF Study Group. Cardiovascular Fitness and Energy Expenditure Response during a Combined Aerobic and Circuit Weight Training Protocol. PLoS One. 2016 Nov 10;11(11):e0164349. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0164349. PMID: 27832062; PMCID: PMC5104360.
Seo YG, Noh HM, Kim SY. Weight loss effects of circuit training interventions: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2019 Nov;20(11):1642-1650. doi: 10.1111/obr.12911. Epub 2019 Jul 19. PMID: 31322317.