Circuit training is an exercise that combines strength training and aerobic conditioning in one full-body workout. Circuit training improves your muscle strength, as well as cardiovascular endurance, while burning hundreds of calories. According to "Fitness" magazine, circuit training burns 30 percent more calories than typical weight training workouts. Many fitness clubs and gyms offer circuit training classes, but you can easily do circuit training workouts at home or at the gym on your own. Such workouts last 30 to 45 minutes each and use either dumbbells, resistance bands or just your own body weight as a resistance.
Circuit Training Basics
Circuit training involves doing a series of exercises one after another in a "circuit" without taking any breaks in between the exercises. You will do both weight training exercises such as pushups, situps and squats, and aerobic exercises such as jumping jacks, jumping rope and burpees. Each exercise is done for a set amount of time, e.g. 30 seconds, or a set amount of repetitions. After you have performed the full circuit, take a short break to recover and drink water, then do the circuit again. Circuit training is an excellent way for women to strengthen their muscles and burn fat.
Always start your circuit training workout with a five- to 10-minute warm-up. This prepares your muscles for the workout and helps prevent injury. Great warm-up exercises to do at home include jumping rope, jumping jacks, running and bicycling. Circuit training can be a very vigorous exercise depending on the intensity at which you do the exercises. Consult your physician before starting a new exercise program. If you feel light-headed at any point, stop immediately and sit down. Drink plenty of water between circuits and listen to your body – do not overdo it.
Circuit Training Routine 1
This routine uses your own body weight as resistance and thus, it is easy to do at home. After a warm-up, repeat the following exercises for 45 seconds each: squat jumps, pushups, jumping rope, tricep dips, lunges, jumping jacks, abdominal crunches and burpees. Give yourself 15 seconds to move from one exercise to another, but do not take any additional breaks. Do the exercises as fast as you can, trying to keep up a high intensity throughout the circuit. After one full circuit, take a three- to five-minute break before repeating the circuit again two more times. The whole workout will take 40 to 50 minutes with the warm-up.
Circuit Training Routine 2
This workout includes exercises you do with dumbbells and a fitness ball. Repeat each exercise for 45 seconds or do 20 to 30 repetitions. Pick the weights for each exercise accordingly; you do not want weights that are too heavy or too light. Some exercises involve two moves at the same time, such as lunges and bicep curls. Do the following exercises: lunges and biceps curls, seated shoulder presses on the fitness ball, squat jumps, bench presses, abdominal crunches on the fitness ball, deadlifts, bent-over rows, tricep curls and burpees. Again, allow yourself 15 seconds to move from one exercise to another. Repeat the circuit three times and take a three- to five-minute break between the circuits.