Are you bored of your gym routine? Are you looking to make some amazing changes to your body? Introducing circuit training to your current routine (not replacing it!) will motivate you, keep you focused, and leave you (happily) breathless.
I always stick to the phrase “if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” Too often we get “stuck” in a routine that we are comfortable with. As humans, we are creatures of habit. As a personal trainer, I see this all time. On any given day of the week I know exactly which machines at the gym will be crowded and what part of the body people will be focusing on:
Monday: Monday is practically National Chest and Tricep Day at the gym–there is usually at least a 30 minute wait at the bench press.
Tuesday: Back and Biceps
Thursday: Shoulders and Traps (the trapezius muscle)
Friday: 6 pack ABS, ABS, ABS
Why do we limit ourselves to following the same routines week after week? I’m not saying they’re bad habits. With the right diet and enough hours spent in the gym they do work. However, they are not the end-all-be-all and introducing circuit training into your workout is time efficient and fun. You can even use your own body weight for resistance – no more waiting in long lines at the machines!
So let me say it again: If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.
Implementing circuit training will not be easy, but it does offer great benefits. Pairing exercises that work opposing muscle groups allows for less rest time, which in turn keeps your heart rate elevated, which will lead to an increase of calorie expenditure. Burn more calories in less workout time? Sounds good to me!
Circuit training can be done in either sets and repetitions or for a set amount of time. Depending on what your goals are for your body and mindset these can easily be altered. If you are brand new to circuit training, here is an example of a total body circuit that is fun and energetic. It incorporates cardio, strength training, and core strength all in one. Complete each of the following exercises 10 times for a total of 3 rounds. Modify exercises to your own fitness level if necessary and always use proper form. Consult a qualified fitness professional such as a certified personal trainer if you have questions about what exercises are right for you and how to perform them correctly.
Example circuit workout:
- Straight leg sit-ups
- Inverted Rows (also known as horizontal pull-ups)
- Jumprope for 30 seconds
Challenge yourself by using different exercises. Remember: training should be fun. Grab a friend and try circuit training together and enjoy the way you feel after! Happy (circuit) Training!
Kara Federowicz is a certified personal trainer at the Tisch Performance Center at Hospital for Special Surgery. Kara has a degree from Penn State in kinesiology, the scientific study of human movement.