Research shows that high-intensity circuit training provides many of the same fitness benefits of endurance training, but can be done in less time. Circuit training is made up of bursts of intense activity followed by brief periods of recovery, repeated as many times as you’d like. The exercises, according to the experts, should alternate between emphasizing the muscles of the upper body with those in the lower body. Perform the exercises for 30 seconds each, in rapid succession, then move on to the next. Circuit Training, if done correctly, can be just as effective as long hours of endurance training, and requires just a short amount of time each day.
Below are the 6 essential elements of a successful circuit workout, from Huffingtom Post. Follow these steps as many times as you’d like (or can) each day, and you’ll be in shape in no time at all.
1. Choose an Upper Body Exercise
Circuit training does not require any special tools or equipment to be a good workout. Simply use whatever you already have on hand. Filled water bottles or soup cans make great dumbbells! Some ideas for upper body exercise are shoulder presses, bent-over rows, standing dumbbell curls, tricep dips or pushups. You can do the same upper-body move each time you go through the circuit to work out different parts of your upper body, or you can try a new one each time around.
2. Pick a Lower Body Exercise
Next, choose exercises that work out different parts of your lower body. Try walking lunges, sumo squats, calf raises, hamstring curls on a swiss ball or deadlifts. Again, you can repeat the same one each circuit or try a different one each round.
3. Choose a Compound Exercise
The next move in your circuit should be a compound exercise, which involves total-body movements to get your heart-rate up. Some ideas of compound exercises are jumping lunges, mountain climbers, squats to shoulder presses, bench hop-overs, single-arm swings or jumping jacks.
4. Work in a Sprint
To make your workout really effective, include a short, fast sprint exercise. Research shows it’s the best way to burn fat. Any type of cardio will work if you give it your all for one intense minute. Try running, jumping rope, rowing or cycling.
5. Take a One Minute Rest
After all that work, take a minute to bring your heart rate back down. Try to stay standing or walking slowly, and have a drink of water.
6. Start Again!
Go through your circuit as many times as you can, the more you do it the more fit you’ll be.