The Do’s and Don’ts of circuit training!

You will probably heard people describe the different elements to your training as tools. We all know that the more tools you have, the better equipped you will be and the same can be said for fitness training. It isn’t always about finding one particular exercise and focusing solely on that, it is about taking elements from a number of exercises and mixing them up to generate a plan that works well for you. 

But we aren’t talking about a Pic ‘n’ Mix, you need to carefully select the right exercises that relate specifically to your goals. One training program that appears a lot is circuit training. As a method of training this has existed since the fifties and sixties but you are probably safe in saying that it is at its most popular stage now in 2015. 

Aerobic exercise is vital – I don’t need to bang on about it because we all know that already. But going downstairs to get a drink gets the heart beating that little bit faster and yet we wouldn’t call that high quality cardio, would we? Well obviously we wouldn’t, because there is no intensity to it. And that is the most important thing to consider with aerobics – intensity. Get the blood pumping and raise your heart rate.

The best forms of aerobic exercise will help to build muscle at the same time Humans love saving time and if you can tick two things off your fitness checklist at the same time then that is perfect. There are no proper shortcuts if you want actual success though, so don’t neglect either the aerobic or resistance training. 

Circuit training meets the requirements for your aerobic needs and helps with gaining real muscular endurance. Not everyone sees the benefits from circuit training, just like with any other exercise. The amount of times you hear someone saying that an exercise just didn’t work for them is quite incredible really and in some ways it is utter nonsense. Most of the time it is us who make the mistakes and the exercise works perfectly well. 

So to make circuits work for you make sure you don’t commit the traditional mistakes. Firstly, do not make the individual exercises too long. We are after short bursts of high intensity, not three minute exercises that barely even lift your heartbeat! Next, don’t sit around for too long between the exercises. The resting period is in some ways just as important as the exercise time and it shouldn’t be seen as a chance to chill out and have a chat for a couple of minutes. Keep the rests short and be ready to rapidly move into the next exercise. 

And now for the number one mistake. Let’s remember what is unique about the individual exercises in a circuit – you aren’t doing them for nearly as long as you traditionally would. So for a lot of people the tendency is to try and jump straight to heavier weights or exercises that are just too difficult. The problem with this is, as well as the possibility of injuring yourself, that you are bound to be making mistakes in the exercise and performing it relatively poorly. 

Nailing easier exercises with less weight will be far better for you than struggling with ridiculous ones. You will be doing more reps and actually exercising in the most efficient way. So what if you aren’t lifting as much as the guy who is next to you? Your job is to design the best circuit possible for you, not him! 

So get your diet on point and don’t forget the things mentioned above. Then it is a case of varying your exercises and picking the ones that work best for you. Add a whole lot of hard work into the equation and trust me, you will be happy with the results!

Ollie Lawrence
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