Interval training that incorporates both cardiovascular and weight training exercises is typically referred to as circuit training. The cardio exercises in a circuit keeps your heart rate up and burns calories, while the weight training exercises build strength and develop muscle definition. Circuit training enables you to work both your aerobic and anaerobic systems.
Combining cardio and strength training yields a number of benefits. The cardio intervals and quick succession of exercises improves your aerobic capacity. Over time, you will be able to perform more intense intervals and routines for longer durations. The strength training stations ensure that your muscular development does not go by the wayside. Finally, circuit training is a good way to fight boredom at the gym and combine two workouts when time is short. The various exercises keep your workout interesting and fun.
The purpose of interval or circuit training is to effectively perform strength training and aerobic exercises in quick succession. Rest time between exercises, if any at all, should be very short -- 30 seconds maximum. If you rest any longer than this, you risk of sacrificing any aerobic advantage you have gained by allowing your heart rate to drop. In order to not overexert yourself during your workout, you should keep the amount of weight you use for strength training exercises low and repetitions high. Typically, only one or two sets are performed before moving on to the next exercise.
Types of Exercises
One aspect of circuit training that is appealing to many is that a workout can be organized and customized to your own fitness needs. You can practically incorporate any type of exercise into your routine, as long as both cardio and strength training exercises are involved. The strength training can focus on just the upper or lower body, or both. The important thing is to keep cardio exercises prevalent throughout the circuit. Start out with an exercises that will raise your heart rate, such as pushups or pullups. Every fourth exercise or so should be cardiovascular activity.
Begin with the bench press, using light weights and maximum repetitions, or pushups for one minute. Then perform squats for one minute. Next, do pullups or pulldowns for one minute, before pedaling on a stationary bike or running on treadmill for three minutes. Perform the military press for one minute, then lunges for one minute and bicep curls for one minute. Bike or jog again for three minutes. Now, move on triceps and leg extensions, doing each for one minute, and leg curls for one minute. Finish with two minutes of sit-ups and two minutes of crunches. Then stretch and cool down. If one circuit is not enough, repeat the circuit. Two circuits require about 40 minutes to complete.