By Abraham Tejeda
Spring is finally here, and with summer right around the corner many of us are reining in our diets, cutting calories and ramping up our workouts on a mission to get our bodies beach or vacation ready. With so many different workouts to pick from, and dealing with all of our time constraints from work or social commitments, how can we improve our fitness? Two methods of training that could work as solutions are circuit training and complex training.
Circuit training has been proven to be both effective for fat loss and time efficient. Circuit training is the performance of resistance exercises targeting different body parts in sequence. The participant moves through the exercises, typically resting briefly between exercises. Completion of all the exercises would constitute one circuit. Most circuits go through exercises targeting chest, back, legs, shoulders, and arms. Circuit training is an option that many use in gyms with machines, as one might be able to move from machine from machine and quickly get a good workout.
Circuits can also be done with dumbbells. Compared to performing exercises in “straight sets,” where multiple sets of repetitions of one exercise are done with a rest after each set before moving to the next exercise, circuit training keeps the user’s heart rate higher. Also, doing the circuit with limited breaks between exercises reduces the time typically spent sitting and resting passively between sets so circuit workouts tend to take up less time if one remains disciplined with the rest periods, and more work ends up being done in a shorter amount of time.
Combined with a sound diet, circuits can produce great fitness and physical improvements. A basic circuit done on machines might go as follows: 10 repetitions chest press, 30 second rest, 10 repetitions leg press, 30 sec. rest, 10 repetitions seated row, 30 sec. rest, 10 repetitions leg curls, 30 sec. rest, 10 repetitions tricep extensions, 30 sec. rest, 10 repetitions quad extension, 30 sec. rest, 10 repetitions bicep curls, 30 sec. rest, and 10 repetitions calf raises with a 2 minute rest before starting the circuit over. Exercises could be separated by rest periods of 15-60 seconds, with a greater break at the end of the circuit.
A full workout could consist of two to four completed circuits with challenging weights. With a dumbbell in each hand a circuit might go: 10 repetitions dumbbell squat, 10 repetitions incline press, 10 repetitions incline bench rows, 10 repetitions stiff leg deadlifts, 10 repetitions bicep curls, 10 repetitions lunges, 10 repetitions tricep extensions. If using dumbbells, switching weights between exercises will be necessary in order to complete the circuits, as you want to pick a weight that provides enough resistance to complete the planned repetitions for each exercise.
Circuits are not hard and fixed, you can feel free to switch exercises or increase the intensity of the weights as preferred but keep in mind that heavier weights will require longer recovery periods between sets, so circuits typically limit sets to between 10 and 15 repetitions. Also, a range of exercises targeting the whole body should be used to get the best effect. Shorter circuits made up of fewer exercises could be used to start or end a workout, or a circuit composed of exercises that targeting the same body part could be used to emphasize that muscle group. Circuits are typically done 2-3 times a week as they can be quite……