To add variety to your fitness training program, you have to vary your workout routine from time to time. Variation, periodization and cross training can help you reduce risk of injury, keep you from being bored, blast through your plateau so that you can keep making progress.
Strength and cardio circuit training is an excellent program to achieve this purpose. Perform these exercises back to back without rest (or with very little rest) until you complete the circuit. Have some water, rest for a few minutes and repeat the same circuit.
How to Do It?
Several sample circuit training routines are listed in the following. You can start with your own bodyweight. Bodyweight circuit training workout routine is useful when you don't have weights at home. You can do it in your hotel room when you're traveling and don't have access to the gym. Do it in the park or in small groups.
Change the number of repetitions and pace yourself to suit your fitness level. Substitute the exercise with a similar variation. If you work out in the gym, you have more options in equipment to work with. For example, try incline or decline bench press to replace flat bench press.
For strength machine, barbbell and dumbbell exercises, choose proper weights so that you complete the circuit. That means you have to reduce the weight that you can normally do for your 6-rep set. Start at 50% normal weight if you're not sure. Add or reduce weight as needed so that you can complete the circuit feeling somewhat sored and breathless.
You can alternate between workout A and workout B for barbell and dumbbell circuits. Always warm up for at least 5 to 10 minutes before exercise. Cool down and stretch after exercise.
The Good Things about Circuit Training
Strength and cardio circuit training provides you the benefits of both weight training and cardiovascular exercise in a single workout session. Your heart rate is elevated as you keep moving weights with different muscle groups in different angles and positions. Your metabolism is fired up to keep burning fat even for a few hours after you leave the gym.
The circuit training is pushing your body aerobically while still challenging your strength. It allows you to work your aerobic system while simultaneously working on your strength and muscular endurance. You'll improve your overall strength endurance and cardiovascular capacity.
What Is Circuit Training Not For?
However, strength and cardio circuit training is not meant to be a complete balanced total body workout. It does not replace your regular strength, muscle-building or cardiovascular training programs. Even though you move from exericse to exercise very quickly, it does not mean that you're allowed to bounce or jerk the weights up and down. You still have to maintain good forms when lifting weights.
How to Design a Super Great Circuit Training Routine
As you can see, I design the workout routines adhering to my principles in balanced total-body training & prioritiy training:
- Train both upper & lower body and core area
- Train both front & back sides of the muscle groups for balance
- Train both left & right sides of the muscle groups for balance
- Train large muscle groups first & small/assisting muscle groups later
- Train with compound exercises first & isolation exercises later
- Priority-train weak and imbalanced muscle groups
- Priority-train hard-to-see-by-yourself muscle groups
Add or replace with one of these workouts in your training program once a week. It helps you tone up muscles, melt body fat and reveal your six pack abs. Who don't want to have at least firm and flat abs?
To keep stimulating your body and making progress, try different versions of each exercise; e.g., one-hand pushup or clap pushup, jump squat or Bulgarian split squat, stiff-leg deadlift or Romanian deadlift. You'll finish your workout more efficiently and never be bored with workout again. You get maximum results in minimum time.
Sample Bodyweight Circuit Workout Routine
Squat x 30 reps
Standard Pushup x 30 reps
Mountain Climber x 20 reps
Curlup x 20 reps
Superman Backraise x 10 reps
Lunge x 10 reps each leg
Wide-width Pushup x 10 reps
Narrow-width Pushup x 10 reps
Oblique Twist x 30 reps
Opposite Arm and Leg Lift x 10 reps
Down Plank, hold for one minute
Watch Demo Video 1 >>
Watch Demo Video 2 >>
Sample Strength Machine Circuit Workout Routine
Leg Press x 20 reps
Chest Press x 15 reps
Shoulder Press x 10 reps
Seated Row x 15 reps
Leg Extension x 10 reps
Leg Curl x 10 reps
Pec Flye x 10 reps
Triceps Pushdown x 10 reps
Abdominal Curl x 15 reps
Back Extension x 15 reps
(You may have tough time moving from machine to machine without a break in a commercial gym unless you have a reserved personal training session to line up these machines for you.)
Sample Barbbell Circuit Workout Routine A
Back Squat x 15 reps
Military Press x 10 reps
Snatch-grip Deadlift x 10 reps
Bent-over Row x 10 reps
Hang Clean x 6 reps
Good Morning x 10 reps
Sample Barbell Circuit Workout Routine B
Bench Press x 12 reps
Bench Press (close grip) x 8 reps
Upright Row x 8 reps
Triceps Press x 6 reps
Biceps Curl x 6 reps
Wrist Curl x 6 reps
Sample Dumbbell Circuit Workout A
Sumo Wide-stance Squat x 15 reps
Arnold Press x 10 reps
Deadlift x 10 reps
One-arm Row x 10 reps each side
Squat & Push Press x 6 reps
Shrug x 6 reps
Watch Demo Video >>
Sample Dumbbell Circuit Workout B
Bench Press x 12 reps
Incline Bench Press x 8 reps
Lat Pullover x 8 reps
Lateral Raise x 6 reps
Triceps Kickback x 6 reps
Biceps Hammer Curl x 6 reps
Watch Demo Video >>
Check out more fat-burning training and workout routines.
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