Circuit training, if done properly, is one of the best ways to get in great shape. But first before you jump into it, you need to know a little about the two training methods your circuit program will consist of. These two different types of training are Aerobic and Anaerobic conditioning.
Aerobic exercise is defined as activities performed at a low intensity, for a extended periods of time. A good duration for an effective aerobic workout should last anywhere between 20 to 45 minutes. Preferred methods of aerobic training are running and cycling for long distances. These are usually considered the most popular methods to burn calories and lose fat, but that doesn’t mean that they are the necessarily the best ones.
Anaerobic training is defined as activities performed where oxygen is used up more quickly than the body is able to replenish inside the working muscle. Anaerobic conditioning consists of muscles contracting at high intensities for short periods of time. Plyometrics, weight lifting, and sprinting are good examples of anaerobic workouts. Sports that execute high levels of anaerobic conditioning for example are football and boxing.
A widely popular misconception about Aerobic exercise is that it’s the best way to lose fat and burn off calories. Replacing fat with muscle is the most effective and fastest way to develop a ripped physique. Muscle naturally causes your metabolism to work at a higher rate throughout the day, causing you to burn fat and calories more rapidly. Aerobic conditioning can be an effective means to getting in shape, but it can restrict muscle growth. Doing just aerobic training is the long way to lose fat. Combining both anaerobic and aerobic training together into one workout regimen, is the best way to get in shape and build a ripped physique. This is done with Circuit Training.
Circuit training is where you perform a series of exercises in a row with no more then 30 seconds rest between each movement. Each exercise will mainly be core movements, which are better for building strength and muscle faster. Also, core exercises help you burn substantially more calories overall than isolated movements. A great benefit to circuit training is that, opposed to traditional weight training routines, that take any where from one to two hours to finish. Circuit training takes 20 to 45 minutes to finish, causing you to burn more calories in less amount of time. The high intensity of circuit training will juice up your metabolism even after you have completed your workout. What this means is that your body will continue to burn calories hours after you have finished your workout. This effect does not occur in low intensity aerobic exercises and weight lifting.
There are two different types of circuit training you can perform, either with calisthenics (body weight exercises), combined with plyometrics, or with weight lifting by working two opposing muscle groups at once.
Weight training incorporated with circuit training is one the most effective and fastest ways to build muscle and strength. Most people dont achieve their muscle building goals because their approach to weight training is wrong.Traditional lifting programs have you doing 3 to 5 sets with 5 to 12 reps for every exercise. Each set takes about 20-30 seconds to complete, after which you rest for about 2-5 minutes before doing the exercise again. This is ineffective when it comes to burning calories and losing fat, which should be one of your goals if you want muscle definition.
By working with weights you can focus a lot more on individul muscle groups, which can help you improve on any specific weak spots. One great benefit to circuit training with weights is that you will only be doing it three times a week. As opposed to more traditional weight training programs where you focus on one muscle group a day and only work it once or twice a week (ex. Chest-Monday, legs-Tuesday, back-Wednesday, etc). Instead, in this program you will working two opposing muscle groups on the same day.
For example, one day you would do chest and back and another day legs and shoulders. Your workouts will consist of six movements, three for chest, and three for back. If you haven’t lifted weights for awhile, your first three weeks you will be getting your muscles acclimated to the weights and the movements you will be performing. You should be performing 3 sets of each movement for 10 to 12 reps, not particulary heavy, but enough in which you ought to be struggling on the last rep. After 3 weeks you should start using additional weight and do and less reps to build even more muscle mass.
For those looking to gain muscle mass and increase strength, will perform the circuit training workout by increasing the resistance by adding pounds. You will perform five sets of 5 to 8 rep, and you should struggle with final few reps. You will combine each of the six movements. For example, you should do a set of bench press, after you wll do a set of pull-ups, weighted pull-ups preferably.
You will have about one minute rest between the two, which should be enough time to prepare you for the next movement. When you lift heavy you should take about 2 1/2 to 5 minute break in between sets, for the purpose having an adequate amount of time for your muscles to recover to execute the following reps. Your going for strength, not muscle failure, so you want to be as strong as possible for each rep. You will need a sufficient amount of rest for the muscle groups you are working in order to complete the desired amount of reps.
The problem with doing this is that you are not burning up a lot of calories. By taking extended breaks your heart rate slows down, therefore your goal to shred off fat and burn up calories becomes to difficult. You will probably not see any muscle definition from all your weight training that you’ve done. Thats why when you see those huge guys that bench 500 pounds, many don’t have much muscle tone, some even look obese. Your objective is to kill to birds with one stone.
By working two different opposing muscle groups together, you get a sufficient amount of rest for the muscles that your targeting to keep lifting heavy. You also get a effective calorie burning workout because your breaks are quick and you’re continuously working. For instance, when you end one exercise, like bench press, then move on to pull-ups right after, the time it will take you to finish your pull-ups gives you a adequate amount of rest time for your chest muscles
Below are some sample circuit training routines. Feel free to experiment with different exercise movements, but try to stick to primarily compound movements, the Biceps and Triceps exercises being an exception. These are the workout routines that correspond the muscle groups being worked. The order they are listed I believe to be the most optimal, but you can change them up as you see fit. You may also combine up the groups differently. For example, rather than performing chest and back together, and shoulders and legs, you can do chest/legs and back/shoulders. Just make certain that youre not pairing up muscle groups that indirectly work supporting muscle groups, like chest and shoulders or back and biceps.
Workout 1: Chest/Back
* Bench Press/ Weighted Pull-Ups
* Incline Press/ Bent-Over Rows
* Weighted Parallel Bar Dips/ Single-Arm Bent Over Rows
Workout 2: Legs/Shoulders
* Squats/ Military Press
* Deadlift/ Lateral Raises
* Straight Legged Deadlift/ Arnold Press
Workout 3: Biceps/Triceps
* Bicep Curl/ Close Grip Bench Press
* Concentration Curl/ Skull Crushers
* Open-Arm Curl/ Weight Bench Dips
For those lifting for muscle tone, I advise you do 8 to 10 reps, but you can continue performing 10 to 12 reps as you did the first 3 weeks if you prefer. For those wanting to increase strength and muscle mass you will complete 5 to 8 reps per exercise. Its essential you increase the weight you use. If you proceed with the exact amount of pounds, you will not see any development and you could not see any gains Adjust the pounds according to how challenging the weight feels. You should struggle with the final one or two reps.
Instead of going through one exercise movement then moving on to the next, you will go through all movements one right after another. Once you completed all six movements, youve completed one set. You will perform three sets all together.
Once you complete a set you will take a 2 to 5 minute break. If your reps are in the 8 to 12 range, I recommend resting for no longer then 2 to 3 minutes. If you are going for strength and doing fewer reps the longer your rest period should be. Youre going for strength not muscle failure, so you want to be as strong as possible on your next set. Also when youre switching between exercises you should take about 30 to 60 seconds to switch between movements. If you are lifting heavy, 45 to 60 seconds is good, but no more then a minute. Lifting light, you should take no longer then 30 seconds. The only rest time you should have between exercises is the amount of time it takes you to get to one exercise to the next. For example, its your chest and back day, your six movements are bench press, pull-ups, incline press, bent over rows, butterflies, and lat pull downs, you will perform all six of them consecutively without a break in between them. The only break time you should have in between exercises is the amount of time it takes you to get to the following workout. It should take no then 30 to 45 secs to adjust your weight accordingly and begin the subsequent exercise.
It’s good to know how much weight you will be using before you begin each set. To pick up the intensity of your workout to burn even more calories, try running from workout to workout.
If done right this workout should take you no more then 30 minutes to finish this workout. This is a very intense workout and 30 minutes is a sufficient amount of time for a great anaerobic and aerobic workout. You should be breathing hard and sweating a lot by the time youre done. If not, you need to work harder. Either try adding more weight to the exercises or try to make the duration of time it takes you to get to one workout to the next shorter. You can also shorten your rest time during your breaks. It would be even more beneficial if you finished up with abs or jogged for 10 to 20 minutes.
Below are some circuit training routines. Experiment with different exercises but try to stick with mostly compound exercises, in exception to the Triceps and Biceps routine. Complete the exercises in the order that they are listed.
Workout 1: Chest/Back
* Bench Press
* Wide Grip Pull-Ups
* Incline Dumbbell Press
* Bent-Over Rows
* Dumbbell Flys
* Seated Rows
Workout 2: Legs/Shoulders
* Military Press
* Leg Press
* Front Raises
* Lateral Raises
Workout 3: Biceps/Triceps
* Close-Grip Bench Press
* Bicep Curls
* Skull Crushers
* One-Arm Concentration Curl
* Dumbbell Kick Backs
* Open-Arm Curls
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Also if checkout how to gain strength and tips for fat loss