How to simultaneously improve mobility, strength and stamina
Brad Walker explains the content, format and benefits of circuit training.
Circuit training routines are one of my favourite training sessions, whether for myself personally or for clients. I use circuit training as part of injury rehabilitation programs, for conditioning elite level athletes, or to help my clients lose weight.
I was introduced to circuit training routines by an exceptional sports coach by the name of Col Stewart. Col is one of those rare coaches who can take just about any sport and devise a specific training program that always produces outstanding improvements for his athletes.
Col's circuit training routines are responsible for the success of many of his world champion athletes. Including his son, Miles Stewart (World Champion Triathlete), Mick Doohan (World 500cc Motorcycle Champion), and countless others from sports as diverse as roller-skating, squash, and cycling.
Many other coaches are also impressed by circuit training and use it regularly.
So what is?
Circuit training consists of a consecutive series of timed exercises performed one after the other with varying amounts of rest between each exercise. For example, a simple circuit training routine might consist of push-ups, sit-ups, squats, chin-ups and lunges. The routine might be structured as follows and could be continually repeated as many times as is necessary.
What makes it so good?
The demands of circuit training tend to prepare the body in a very even, all-around manner. I have found circuit training to be an exceptional form of exercise to aid in the prevention of injury. Circuit training is one of the best ways I have found to condition your entire body and mind.
There are many other reasons why circuit training is a fantastic form of exercise, and what most of these reasons come down to is flexibility. In other words, circuit training is customisable to your specific requirements.
The main types of
As mentioned before, can be customised, which means there is an unlimited number of different ways you can structure your routine. However, here are a few examples to give you some idea of the different types available.
This type of circuit involves working to a set time for both rest and exercise intervals. For example, a typical timed circuit might involve 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise.
This is similar to a timed circuit, but you push yourself to see how many repetitions you can do in the set time. For example, you may be able to complete 12 push-ups in 30 seconds. The idea is to keep the time the same, but try to increase the number of repetitions you can do in the set time.
This type of circuit is excellent if you are working with large groups of people who have different levels of fitness and ability. The idea is that the fittest group might do, say 20 repetitions of each exercise, the intermediate group might only do 15 repetitions. In comparison, the beginners might only do ten repetitions of each exercise.
Sports Specific or Running Circuit
This type of circuit is best done outside or in a large, open area. Choose exercises that are specific to your particular sport or emphasise an aspect of your sport you would like to improve.
Then instead of resting between exercises, run easy for 200 or 400 metres. You can even use sprints, or fast 400 metre runs as part of your choice of exercises.
Some Important Precautions
Circuit training is an excellent form of exercise. However, the most common problem I find is that people tend to get over-excited because of the timed nature of the exercises and push themselves harder than they usually would. This tends to result in sore muscles and joints and an increased likelihood of injury - two precautions you need to take into consideration.
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About the Author
Brad Walker is a prominent Australian sports trainer with more than 15 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is a Health Science graduate of the University of New England and has postgraduate accreditations in athletics, swimming and triathlon coaching. He also works with elite level and world champion athletes and lectures for Sports Medicine Australia on injury prevention.
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