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Circuit Training

A comparatively new fitness area, circuit training appeared in the mid 1950's, with new varieties, such as Boxercise and Body Pump, coming on the scene since. Circuit Training (or Circuits) is a great way to build your cardio fitness.


Keep your aim within sight, if this is done the introduction of skill related exercises (on all other than skills' circuits) should be avoided since the practice of skills means the slowing down of work tempo.

Exercises must be selected and arranged so that all factors of fitness and the overload principle are considered. Circuit training is unlike weight training, where the weight trainer works at a maximum weight level with the weight that they can successfully handle for a definite number of repetitions, and then has a period of rest, before making their second attempt at the exercise.

The principle of circuit training is that the exerciser works at sub-maximum level over a period of time with either no rest, or minimal rest between exercises.


As already pointed out, the whole musculature of the body should be exercised and no one muscle group be exercised consecutively and throughout the circuit the exercises should be varied enough to cover the full range of movement for that particular group.

However, remembering the overload principle, and keeping your aim firmly in your mind as to the number of repetitions and whether they are to determine strength, power, or endurance is up to you, the designer of the circuit.


In general the circuit must follow in a logical sequence with an easy to follow plan, this becomes more apparent especially when the circuit becomes more complicated in its make-up.

Careful planning and preparation, knowing in advance the limitations on time, class size, equipment available will all help in your setting up of the circuit. The controlling factor of the circuit also needs time spent on it in the planning stage. This can be done in a number of ways such as :

  1. Instructor with whistle, stops and starts exercise for prescribed number of seconds
  2. A specific sprint length, i.e. (30 meter sprint) repeated 10 times, then change. Make sure that there will always be somebody sprinting, otherwise use your stop watch


The success of a circuit will depend on the Instructors personality and the classes ability. Correct performance of exercises must be insisted on, if cheating methods are allowed the benefits gained will be reduced considerably.  Safety for the performer, and equipment must always be considered when devising a circuit/exercises, especially when improvising and where unusual apparatus is being used. Check all equipment prior to beginning, i.e. step boxes are firm, weights are secure.

Check the following pages for training 'Beginners' and 'Advanced Circuits' and 'Training Variations' :

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