Complete Guide to Circuit Training: Basics and Benefits

Everything to know about circuit training. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Leon Ardho)
Everything to know about circuit training. (Image via Pexels/Photo by Leon Ardho)

You must consider including circuit training in your workout routines considering its effectiveness. However, before including it in your routine, you must know what it is and its benefits to be absolutely sure about it.


What is circuit training?

What is circuit training workout? (Image credits: Pexels/ Cesar Galeao)
What is circuit training workout? (Image credits: Pexels/ Cesar Galeao)

This is a workout that comprises of multiple exercises that are performed with minimal rest in between. It’s a form of resistance training and strength & conditioning workout, and helps in other ways as well.

The idea of circuit training is to perform all the exercises consecutively for either one set or a number of sets, depending on the time of the overall routine.

An example of a circuit training routine is the following:

  1. Body weight squats for 15 reps
  2. Push-ups for 10 reps
  3. Jumping jacks for 20 reps
  4. Walking lunges 10 reps each leg
  5. Plank for 30 to 45 seconds (whichever is achievable)

Do all the above one after the other on a circuit, and rest for a 60 seconds to 90 seconds before moving on to the next set.


Basics and benefits of circuit training

Basics and benefits. (Image credits: Pexels/ Cliff booth)
Basics and benefits. (Image credits: Pexels/ Cliff booth)

Now, before doing any type of workout, you should know the benefits of the same. Additionally, there are certain tips to keep in mind when focusing on such high-intensity training routines.

Works on muscle endurance

When you include high-intensity exercises (HIIT) in your workout routine, the slow-twitch muscle fibers engage themselves to help you sustain the extra pressure. This results in the muscles becoming stronger and healthier, improving their endurance.

A full body workout

The circuit training routine usually engages all the body parts and most of the bigger muscles. For example, push-ups, pull-ups, and squats work the chest, lats, and legs. Additionally, smaller muscles such as biceps and triceps get worked on as well with continuous movements.

Burns calories

Circuit training requires immense energy. It’s a combination of various movements and some of them consume more energy than others. It is known that the body will need to burn more calories to provide the body with excess energy for the entire routine.

Suitable for all fitness levels

Circuit training workout intensity levels can be moderated based on your fitness levels. All the movements in a circuit routine can be done by everyone, but the intensity of the same will differ. This depends on the physical fitness of the individual, and the intensity can increase as the fitness level improves.


Types of circuit training

Circuit training types. (Image credits: Pexels/ Jucana Girardi Maximiliano)
Circuit training types. (Image credits: Pexels/ Jucana Girardi Maximiliano)

Before you include circuit routines in your daily workouts, it is beneficial to know the types. This will help you understand which one suits your goals the best.

Timed

Timed training routines require you to do one exercise for a set time and rest for a set time. For example, you can do 30 seconds of push-ups followed by 30 seconds of rest. You can repeat this for five rounds and call it 1 set.

The time span for exercise and rest depends on each individual’s fitness levels.

Competition

In this training routine, you aim to push the number of reps within a time span. For example, if you can complete 12 push-ups in 30 seconds, you can attempt to complete 13 reps in the next 30 seconds. The idea is to keep improving within the same time span.

Repetition

In this, individuals complete a number of power reps based on their fitness levels. For example, one group can finish 15 reps, while another group does 10 reps, and another does 8 reps. This type of training routine is ideal for larger groups.


Tips to keep in mind

Circuit training can be interesting if done correctly. However, there are certain things to be aware of about the routine.

Warm-up every muscle: You need to stretch and open up the muscles before attempting the routine. Since your entire body is used, you need to ensure your stretches and warm-ups have focused on every muscle and joint. This will protect you from injuries.

Start slow: Circuit training is a form of resistance training that can significantly increase the heart rate. As a result, you will be tired and fatigued. On top of that, if your body is not used to it, the sudden increase in heart rate could deplete heart health. It’s advisable to start off slow and pick up pace as your endurance improves.

Cool down after a workout: High-intensity routines can increase your heart rate and protect your heart health, so you must cool-down. Cooling down will steadily bring your heart rate down to its normal level, instead of it suddenly dropping.


Circuit training program is good for the muscles, strength, heart, and mood. However, it is important to ease into this particular workout routine with time. Do not try to hit an advanced level with high intensity at the beginning. Give your body the time it takes to build muscular endurance for higher levels.

Edited by Diptanil