The Benefits of Circuit Training

Circuit training is a workout routine that combines cardiovascular fitness and resistance training. It was first proposed in the late 1950s as a method to develop general fitness. The initial routines were arranged in a circle, alternating between different muscle groups (hence the name circuit training). By allowing only a short rest interval of 30-90 seconds between stations, cardiovascular fitness is gained along with the benefits of resistance training.

When developing a circuit training routine, a wide variety of exercises and equipment can be utilized. Much of the equipment is relatively inexpensive and includes surgical tubing, jump rope, your own body weight, dumbbells, medicine balls, physioballs and weight training machines. A circuit can consist of as few as six stations to as many as 15 stations based on the goals and pre-training levels of the participants.

Circuit training stations are generally sequenced in a way to alternate between muscle groups, which allows for adequate recovery. The rest interval between stations should be between 30-90 seconds and 1-3 minutes between circuits. A typical gym has several strength training machines and workstations, which enables the creation of several circuits. This benefit of variability challenges the skills of the participant and keeps them interested from session to session.

Circuit training plays an integral role in the offseason workouts of many professional athletes. It serves as a way to maintain general fitness while avoiding the high physical demands of in-season sport. Circuit training also serves as a segue to higher level strengthening programs in these athletes.

The following circuits are examples that can be used by the participant with several years of weight training experience. The cornerstones of these circuits are exercises that stress multitude and core musculature. A participant should always consult with a physician before beginning a fitness program.

Check out two circuits for both the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels at the 30-Minute Workouts page.

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Member Comments

I enjoy circuit trainings! Report
Thanks! Report
Planet Fitness has circuit area Report
I miss Curves. This is the only place that I know that had curcuit training. Report
BONDMANUS2002
Interesting Report
HOTPINKCAMARO49
Great info. Thank you. Report
ROSSYFLOSSY
Good to know. Report
Awesome Report
Love Circuit Training!
BLC39- Go Navy Ninjaz~ Report
Excellent Report
Thanks for the article. I am not so much interested in building muscle mass as I am in strengthening and toning. This article helped me, see the differences. 👍 Report
My Training Partner and I do a great mix of free weights and circuit training. A power 2 x weekly covers all muscle groups! 😉 Report
I did circuit training when I attended Curves. I miss it so much! Report
I actually enjoy circuit training. It's a big sweat Report

About The Author

Lonnie Soloff
Lonnie Soloff
Lonnie has a master's degree in physical therapy and is the head physical therapist for the Cleveland Indians.