Last month, we discussed the many benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is a quick and convenient way to burn calories in a short amount of time with all-out bursts of exercise. As we mentioned in the blog, HIIT is not for everyone, and its aggressive nature with minimal rest may be too much for some individuals.
For those of you who fall into this category, you may want to consider circuit training as an alternative. Circuit training is another emerging fitness trend that is based principles similar to those of HIIT, but with less of a focus on the intensity of the workout and more focus on constantly changing up the type of exercise being performed.
Circuit training is essentially a turbo-charged workout routine that mixes a variety of cardio and strength training exercises—usually between 5-10—with the goal of getting your heart rate up while strengthening your muscles at the same time. In going through the circuit, each exercise is performed one after another with little to no rest in between, depending on the type of circuit. The circuit can then be completed again for as many repetitions as the person prefers, allowing flexibility in the duration chosen.
Similarly to HIIT, circuit training workouts can be done in as little as 10 minutes—but may last up to 45 minutes—and may include a wide range of weightlifting and non-weightlifting exercises. One of the defining elements that sets circuit training apart is its focus on working out many different muscle groups throughout the body in the circuit.
Other benefits of circuit training include the following:
- It can be completed either at the gym or at home, and with or without equipment
- Improves conditioning and muscular endurance
- Burns calories faster than most traditional workouts
- Provides maximum benefits in minimal time
- Customizable to your fitness level, workout preferences and goals
If you’re looking for a novel way to exercise and it sounds like circuit training may be right for you, we strongly encourage you to give it a try. But if it’s your first time getting into circuit training, keep these tips in mind to reduce your risk of overworking yourself:
- Before you begin a circuit training workout, consider your fitness level, and check with your doctor if you are concerned it may be too much for your body to handle
- Start slowly and allow adequate rest time (about 30-45 seconds) in between exercises
- Look for a circuit training workout that combines flexibility, aerobics and strength training exercises
- Start with light cardio exercises and then work your way into stretching exercises before moving on to more challenging exercises you may not be familiar with
- Always allow more recovery time if you’re using heavy weights
At ARS Hand & Physical Therapy, our physical and occupational therapists always recommend keeping active regularly as a core component of maintaining good health, and we believe that circuit training is a great way to help you accomplish this. For more information on circuit training, click here, or for any aches or pains you may be dealing with, contact us at 973-379-7006 to schedule an appointment today.