Want to Know How to Incorporate Circuit Training into your Workout Plan?

No one has to tell you that strength training and cardio exercise are important parts of a complete fitness program. But with daily commitments like work, school, family, and personal time, how do you find the time to get a full-body workout to help you get the results you want? The answer can be simple: circuit training! How to incorporate circuit training into your workout plan can take on many forms. By definition, circuit training is the execution of a selected number of exercises in a determined sequence and time. Specifically, select a group of 6 to 10 strength exercises that are completed one exercise after another.

The exercises within each circuit are separated by a brief, timed rest interval (0 to 60 seconds), and each circuit is separated by a longer rest period (3 to 5 minutes). The total number of circuits performed during a workout may vary from two to six, depending on your fitness level (beginning, intermediate, or advanced) and your goals. With a proper diet and the help of weight loss supplements, circuit training is great for increasing your energy levels and helping promote weight loss. It’s also great for anyone whose regular program has become stale and for people interested in building endurance. This is an excellent way to incorporate circuit training into your workout plan.

Circuit Training in the Gym

Another way to incorporate circuit training into your workout plan is by warming up for a few minutes with one of your favorite cardio exercises. Once warmed up, move directly to the first exercise in the circuit and commence your first circuit training set. Some experts recommend that your circuit be composed of a total-body exercise, an upper-body exercise, a lower-body exercise, and a trunk exercise. As you become more experienced with circuit training, you can begin to split the routine to exercise different body parts on different days. The most typical division involves two splits: upper body and lower body.

However, many people weight train with more than two splits to isolate different muscle groups for muscle tone. With that in mind, let’s look at how to easily combine some strength-training exercises to create a complete fat-burning and body-toning circuit training workout. Make sure to perform all six exercises one after another in a continuous manner to complete one full circuit set. Repeat once more for two circuits in all. Follow the two circuit sets with moderate cardio to cool down. This is a great way to incorporate circuit training into your workout plan.

Circuit Training Routine for Women

Dumbbell Squats 20 repetitions
Push-Ups 12 repetitions
Dumbbell Rows 12 repetitions (with each arm)
Machine Calf Raises 15 repetitions
Lunges 10 repetitions
Swiss Ball Crunches 25 repetitions
Repeat the above exercises once more (for two circuits in all). Cool down with a few minutes of moderate cardio.

Dumbbell Squats

Muscle Worked
Thighs (front) or quadriceps, butt or glutes, thighs (rear) or hamstrings
Position & Movement
Stand upright with your feet spaced out about hip-to shoulder-width apart and your hands supporting the dumbbells on each side of your body.Stick out your butt and move downward as if you were lowering yourself into a chair until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Remember to keep your back straight.Exhale and push smoothly until the weight is raised to full extension. Pause momentarily and repeat.
Tip
Use two dumbbells, each weighing approximately 10 percent of your body weight (e.g., if you weigh 150 pounds, each dumbbell should be 15 pounds). Individuals with less strength-training experience may start with dumbbells that weigh 5 percent of their body weight, while stronger athletes can use dumbbells of 20 percent of their body weight or more.

Push-Ups

Muscle Worked
Chest, shoulders, upper arms (rear)
Position & Movement
Start with your hands, knees, and toes on the floor and trunk, hips, arms, and legs extended.Bend your arms and lower your chest to the floor.Push your body upward as you straighten your arms, returning to the start position. Repeat this action rhythmically and continuously without stopping for the allotted amount of repetitions.
Tip
Generally, it should take two seconds to perform one full, controlled push-up.

Dumbbell One-Arm Rows

Muscle Worked
Back (outer) or latissimus dorsi, back (upper) or trapezius, upper arms (front) or biceps
Position & Movement
Lean over a bench and support your body with one arm and one knee placed on the bench, with your other leg supporting you from the floor. With your free arm, grab a dumbbell and let it hang down.Slowly raise the weight until it is close to the side of your body, and hold it for a moment at the top of the movement.Slowly return the weight to the starting position.
Tip
Keep your arm close to your body as you bring the weight up. Get a good stretch on the bottom by fully extending your arm.

Machine Calf Raises

Muscle Worked
Calves or gastrocnemius and soleus
Position & Movement
Sit on the seat of the machine and place the balls of your feet on the footpad. Unhook the weight-sled clasps (usually located at the sides of the machine) by pushing upward with your calves and turning the handles outward so the weight sled can move freely.From this position, simply stand on the balls of your feet and raise your heels upwards to flex your calves.Lower yourself back down past the point where your feet are parallel with the footpad in order to get a good stretch.
Tip
Many gyms have various machines that work in a similar fashion to exercise your calves. Make sure you learn how to use whichever machine you choose for optimal benefits when sculpting sleek, shapely calves.

Lunges

Muscle Worked
Thighs (back) or hamstrings, butt or gluteus maximus or minimus, thighs (front) or quadriceps
Position & Movement
Move downward towards the floor in a controlled manner until your back knee comes close to touching the floor. Push with your front leg while squeezing your butt to move back into the starting position. You can switch legs each rep, or do one full set then switch legs.
Tip
This is another great exercise that can be done at home with simple household objects, like soup cans, in place of weights.

Swiss Ball Crunches

Muscle Worked
Abs (upper and middle)
Position & Movement
Position the ball in an open area away from any objects that may pose a risk for injury. Carefully lie on your back on the ball so that you’re balanced comfortably. Keep your back and head straight. Place your hands loosely behind your head and proceed to execute a crunch by contracting your abdominal muscles.Return to the starting position while maintaining tightness in your abs. Be careful not to pull on your head with your hands.
Tip
For stability, position your feet a little wider than shoulder width. Focus on your abs doing all the work. 

Get your Circuit Training Plan on track. When followed properly, a circuit training plan can be a refreshing change from your usual workout plan and is sure to help you surpass any sticking points in your fitness goals. Now you know everything needed to successfully incorporate circuit training into your workout plan, see you at the gym!

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