Fitness Goals

Everything you need to know about Circuit Workouts

Hill, PT, CSCS

Looking to switch up your fitness routine? Transform your long workouts with Sworkit’s new, exciting workout collections that will blast multiple body parts at once. Get ready to burn loads of calories in a short period of time!

Get excited because circuit training with Sworkit is here for you! Let’s break down some common questions, myths, and circuit jargon you might hear so you can get the most out of your workout.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a form of body conditioning or resistance training using high-intensity exercises followed by short rest periods (generally 30 seconds or less). Circuits are primarily focused on improving muscular performance and definition while also improving cardiovascular fitness. It’s an extremely popular way of working out, especially if you’re looking for variety in your workouts! Circuit training is fast-paced and has you constantly changing exercises in order to keep your body and mind guessing. Circuit training is challenging and fun; get ready to burn fat and develop lean muscle mass. Let’s dive into the details of how you can start incorporating Circuit training into your regime!

Example of a Circuit Workout

How do Circuits work?

An exercise “circuit” is one completion of all the prescribed exercises within the program. Completion of an exercise within a circuit is classified by the parameters set prior to the workout. Circuits can be completed based on time, reps, weights used, or number circuits completed. When performing an exercise, the athlete must complete the specified parameters before moving onto the next exercise; generally a certain number of reps, or length of time performing the exercise. Once all the exercises within the circuit are completed, the athlete will begin the circuit from the first exercise. 

A basic circuit workout example based on exercise repetitions:

  • 15 burpees
  • 15 squats
  • 15 kettlebell swings
  • 30-sec rest

Repeat twice. Take as long as needed to do these exercises.

A circuit example based on timed exercises:

  • 30-sec push-ups 
  • 30-sec dumbbell bicep curls
  • 30-sec dumbbell lateral raise

Rest 30 seconds. Complete 6 rounds.

These are just two simple circuit workouts that utilize reps, time, and maximal effort training in order to improve your muscular performance and aerobic capacity.

Is it OK to repeat the same exercises over and over?

A common myth in fitness and exercise is that you have to change the exercise every set. Allow your body the chance to adapt to the stimulus you give it. Performing the same exercises over time will teach your nervous system to perform the exercise more effectively and efficiently. In fact, it’s beneficial for your body to repeat the same exercises within a workout in order to promote muscle growth and adaptation! You wouldn’t practice playing your music piece just once before your big piano recital, right? 

Circuit training requires the athlete to perform multiple sets of an exercise within the workout. Studies show that performing the same exercise multiple times within a workout improves muscle hypertrophy, performance, and endurance.

Is circuit training considered strength or cardiovascular training?

Circuit training is beneficial for both strength training and cardiovascular training. However, it really shines when attempting to improve cardiovascular fitness! Circuit workouts can be adapted based on your fitness goals to promote strength or cardiovascular/weight loss goals. When creating a circuit workout, select exercises that fit within your overall fitness goal. If you’re looking for strength, attempt to perform exercises that promote muscular strength. There are many strength-based exercises that can be performed within a circuit to help you build strength and muscle mass. When looking to improve cardiovascular health or burn more calories, find exercises that get your heart rate up and get your body moving. You will see incredible improvements to your cardiovascular endurance and fitness!

What are the benefits of circuits?

  • Circuit workouts are generally simple workouts that produce maximal results. With a small amount of time, you can perform an incredible workout that can hit multiple body parts and enhance your cardiovascular system. These workouts generally require minimal exercise equipment and can be performed just about anywhere you can get sweaty, including your home.
  • With circuit training, you will increase the number of calories burned within a small amount of time which means you’ll burn more fat with shorter workouts. Ditch the long slow cardio machines and burn more calories with high-intensity circuit training.
  • Compete against yourself, and others! Circuit training can be competitive if you want it to be. By setting the parameters you can challenge yourself and show consistent progression and improvement. Make it interesting! Make it a race! See if you beat your previous record! Track your progress and see how trained and fit you become.

Want to be guided through a circuit workout and have one-on-one access to certified personal trainers? Join Sworkit today!

Hill, PT, CSCS

Steve is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Physical Therapist, and one of Sworkit's Fitness Trainers. His favorite activities are working out, hiking, four-wheeling, and body surfing. Steve loves helping members with injury prevention, exercise modification, and strength training.
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