Circuit training [also called High Intensity Interval Training/HIIT] consists of a series of strength training exercises in succession with little [or no] rest. When training a client, friend and even my own body I use circuits to achieve the same [or better] results as traditional cardiorespiratory and strength training workouts in a shorter period of time. You will be performing 2-3 sets of each exercise with high reps [15-20+]. If you have a busy schedule and would like to see result fast, I highly recommend adding circuit training to your regimen. The best part of circuit training is the high post exercise metabolic rate when compared to traditional strength training. The higher the intensity and your heart rate, the more calories you will be scorching.
Aside from being effective, circuits are great when you are looking for a fun and dynamic workout regimen. When a program is enjoyable, you will be morel likely to stick with it. My circuits combine multiple exercise styles and techniques. One workout may incorporate yoga, plyometric training, kick boxing, strength training, kettlebell, balance training, body weight training, tabata and SAQ training. I highlighted some techniques that may not be familiar below:
Plyometric Training (PLYO): Uses quick and explosive movements such as bounding, hopping and jumping to develop muscular power. Plyo is not for everyone. It requires proper levels of total body and core strength as well as adequate balance. I love adding plyo to workouts. It is a great way to keep your heart rate high to burn more calories and improve your athleticism.
- Exercises like Shaun T’s Insanity are great for improve PLYO
Balance Training: Improving your balance will prevent exercise injuries and improve your overall fitness. Adding balance exercise to your circuit will also help you burn more calories. When you are simultaneously stabilizing you are forced to recruit more muscles. We create “controlled instability” by performing exercises on one leg, using a Swiss ball, or a BOSU ball. This will increase core strength and your overall athleticism.
Speed, Quickness and Agility (SAQ): These high intensity, short duration programs can match or surpass results for muscular power and fat/weight loss. These exercises consist of ladder drills and suicide type drills which consist of sprinting and changing direction quickly. I incorporate SAQ exercises into my HIIT circuit workouts to improve overall fitness and burn more fat.
Kettlebell (KB): A KB is a flat bottom cast iron ball with a handle. KB training enhances your athleticism, coordination and balance. It results in increased total body conditioning when compared to isolation training. This is because it recruits stabilizing muscles and prime movers simultaneous. This makes KB moves total body, meaning you are burning more fat in less time and hours after you complete your workout. In addition almost any move you complete with a KB will also be working your core. I love KB workouts because they make me feels strong!
Tabata: I am fairly new to the practice of Tabata, but I am already in love with the technique! It’s just a specific form of HIIT where you alternate between high intensity burst of exercise and rest. It is typically 20 seconds on and 10 seconds off. The traditional Tabata lasts about 4 minutes. You can incorporate this into an existing workout or if you are brave enough, create a full length workout. I will specifically address Tabata with through posts. For now, know that there are many free Tabatas available on YouTube if you want to give it a try!