Looking for tips on total body circuit training? You’ve come to the right place. If you’re already interested in circuit training, you’re already on the right path to total body fitness and health—but let’s get you moving a little faster with five tips on improving the efficacy and efficiency of your workouts, so you can get better returns in less time.
Compound movements. For the most part, every aspect of your circuit should be a compound movement of some sort; you may want to work on your upper body and core only, or your legs only, but you don’t want to be doing exercises that only work for a single muscle group. Compound exercises offer more bang for your buck in terms of efficiency, caloric burn, and the development of muscles you might ‘overlook’ in your training. You don’t want underdeveloped stabilizers unless you want your strength to fail you in a bad way down the line.
Less downtime. You shouldn’t be resting much between movements during circuit training; much more than a minute between circuits, even, and you’re not doing ‘circuit training’ so much as ‘a regimen of separate exercises’. Studies show that this type of exercise works far better when you give yourself less time to rest, so ignore the pain and the tiredness and keep going; you can rest after your workout.
Top, bottom, cardio. A total body circuit training efforts break down into three segments: training the core and upper body for strength, training the lower body for strength, and doing total body cardio exercises. Separating the movements this way lets you keep working yourself hard with minimal rest, as different muscle groups pull their weight at different times. You won’t be able to keep yourself going as long or as intensely if you muddle through in a less organized manner.
Experiment. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different exercises for your circuit training. In fact, even if you think you have a ‘perfect’ circuit developed, it’s worth it to change things up regularly for maximum training efficiency. Your body will learn your circuits too well, otherwise, resulting in a loss of the normal benefits; you want to train your body for general fitness, not train it to go through a specific sequence of actions on certain days of the week, after all. For the same reason, it’s worth it to change when you exercise, the order of your sections, anything you can regularly change without losing benefits.
Work with someone. Motivation goes a long way, especially when you get to an advanced level and your circuits get more grueling. Having someone else working out alongside you helps keep you both going—especially if you’re doing movements on the same equipment, and thus must finish on a schedule to keep from holding things up. It seems like a minor thing, but it will go a long way towards making you reach your goals.