If you are at all familiar with circuit training exercises you will know that there are countless combinations and routines to help you drop some pounds. Circuits can be done with your bodyweight, machines, weights, and even mixing a good combination of cardio and weights, etc. The possibilities are endless. You are in the driver seat because you can alter your circuit training to be focused more on cardio or more towards resistance based training. Instead of flooding you with routines I’ll give an outline of some popular circuits I have done in the past.
There Isn’t A Perfect Routine: Too Many Variables
If you are new to circuit training routines you are basically increasing your functional capacity of the cardiorespiratory system (aerobic capacity) while challenging your muscles with just enough resistance and vice versa. So how do I fit this into my goals? First and foremost I dedicate my time with lifting weights 3-5 times a week followed up with some HIIT workouts at the gym. I usually take a break from this style of training during the colder months of December-February and use bodyweight circuits for my cardio to boost fat loss over the holidays.
Bodyweight Circuit Training Exercises
8-10 reps 4-5 Sets (circuits) no rest between exercises
1) 45-60 seconds of cardio (fast jumping jacks, running in place, jump ups, etc)
2) Pull ups: Underhand grip, overhand grip, wide grip, etc
3) Pushups: There are so many different ways to perform pushups. Incline, decline, spidermans, close grip, wide grip, etc.
7) Planks: 30-45 seconds
Combining HIIT With Weights
Before starting Visual Impact I was able to use a great combination of intervals and weights. This type of circuit training routine works very well at home if you have have a barbell or a dumbbell…or both. This may be a little difficult to complete in a busy gym due to the various exercises needed to complete the circuit.
I first start off with about 45-60 seconds on a treadmill. It doesn’t matter what you use to start. It can be an exercise bike, running in place, jump rope, stepmill, etc. There is a couple of ways to go through the circuit. Perform each exercise for 6-8 reps and continue to the next without any rest. (Your first time might take a little longer than usual because you may have to adjust the amount of weight used to hit the proper rep range.) Once you finish all of the exercises that is the completion of one circuit…then rinse and repeat for 4-5 times. Your whole routine should last around 30-45 min.
Circuit Weight Training Summary:
6-8 reps, 4-5 sets (circuits), no rest between exercises
1) Cardio: 45-60 seconds (Make it even more intense by busting your butt in this portion)
2) Chest: Incline barbell bench press or Incline dumbbell bench press (this can be done on a flat bench as well)
3) Biceps: Standing barbell curl or standing dumbbell curls (Try not to throw up the weight and flex the muscle while curling.)
4) Back: Bent over row with a barbell or dumbbells (Make sure not to round out your back. You want to keep it arched)
5) Calves: Standing or Seated 10-5 reps (I like standing while holding dumbbells by my side. Just a personal preference.)
6) Shoulders: Standing barbell shoulder press or standing dumbbell shoulder press (Here is a post on how to make the most out of this lift)
7) Triceps: Lying tricep extension or dumbbell tricep kickbacks
Note: This may be difficult to complete in a gym because you will more than likely be waiting on someone. Keep in mind, most of the exercises that you will be doing will be indicative to your personal goals and equipment available.
The Concept Behind These Workouts
The structure of these circuit training exercises can indeed mimic the effects of HIIT. Since there is no rest you can finish an entire full body workout and burn an exceptional amount of calories while boosting HGH release. It also will help preserve muscle mass by having just enough resistance from the weights or bodyweight.