Circuit Training: The What, How and Why

Sunday, May 19, 2019
Posted by: Robin Fortenberry, Director of Fitness Services, ACE CPT

Circuit TrainingThe term Circuit Training is used often in the fitness industry. Fitness magazines and websites are filled with articles that include a variety of circuit style workouts.

Circuit Training can play a role in your fitness routine regardless of whether your goals are gaining strength, adding lean muscle or losing weight. There are many additional benefits in utilizing this type of workout. Let's start by defining what Circuit Training is.

A circuit, in terms of exercise, is a group of exercises performed consecutively with little to no rest in between. Each exercise generally focuses on a different body part and movement. Squats, pushups, pullups or pulldowns, bicep curls, overhead press and triceps kickbacks performed one after another is an example of a circuit that provides a total body workout.

One of the benefits of Circuit Training is its versatility. The combination of exercises that can be used in a circuit are endless. You can create circuits that focus only on upper body exercises or that focus only on lower body exercises.

Circuits can be created to include cardio elements mixed with strength exercises. You can even create a circuit that only consists of cardio exercises. It is truly the most versatile type of workout.

Another benefit, and probably one of the biggest reasons that Circuit Training is so popular, is time. Circuits can use reps as a counter or time intervals. You can create a circuit that encompasses the entire body and provides a cardio element that can be completed in 10 minutes. By training in this manner, you can burn a large amount of calories in a short period of time.

Here's an example:

Row MachinePerform each exercise for 30 seconds. Try to maintain an intensity level of at least 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being very easy and 10 being extremely hard. Rest 30 seconds between exercises. Complete one round for a 10 minute workout. Repeat 3 times for 30 minute workout. You can perform the squats and lunges with or without weights.

  1. Squats
  2. Row Machine
  3. Inverted Row
  4. Jump Rope
  5. Pushups
  6. Jumping Jacks
  7. Step Back Lunges (Alternate legs each rep)
  8. Rope Pull
  9. Med Ball Core Twist
  10. Mountain Climbers

Another important benefit of Circuit Training is the ability to add variety to your exercise routine. Once you develop a pattern with a circuit, you can exchange like exercises, change the order of exercises or create a brand new routine. This ability to quickly change your routine helps to reduce boredom and provides motivation in the gym.

Regardless of your fitness goals, Circuit Training can be used as the primary workout option or as an alternative to your regular routine. As with any new exercise program or change, it is always recommended to have a complete health screen before starting.

If you're interested in learning more about Circuit Training, email me at or call me at 713.595.8180 and I'll be happy to help you myself or have one of our certified trainers guide you through your own personal circuit. If you are already incorporating Circuit Training into your fitness routine, add some variety by picking up one of our workouts from the Fitness Center desk.