Here are Some Advantages and Disadvantages of Circuit Training
If you have ever tried to get fit, you will certainly have come across the phrase "circuit training" at some point.
This is a type of exercise that has been growing in popularity recently, and there are good reasons for this.
What is Circuit Training?
Circuit training is a way of exercising that involves a series of exercises being carried out one after the other.
Unlike traditional exercise, where you might do say 10 reps of an exercise and then wait for a little while before going on to the next, during circuit training you move straight onto the next movement with no break.
Why is Circuit Training Popular?
Circuit training has become popular because there are many advantages to carrying it out in this way.
Firstly, it saves time - which is something that people today seem to be crying out for!
A lot of people find they lack the time required to go to the gym on more than one or two occasions each week, so instead, they can simply carry out some simple exercises at home with almost no equipment.
Another advantage is that it builds up strength in a unique way.
Normally when you train, you start with a light weight and then add reps to gradually build up the muscles.
This method can take a long time, and lots of different exercises may be necessary to work every muscle group in your body.
In circuit training, however, you follow a set routine which works all the muscles in your body at once.
Improves muscular endurance
Now, when we say muscular endurance, we mean the ability of your muscles to contract repeatedly for an extended period of time. And this is something that circuit training can definitely help with.
Think about it? - when you are doing one exercise after the other with no break, your muscles are constantly contracting.
This means that they become better at doing this over time, and as a result you will find that your muscular endurance improves.
Increases strength and muscle growth
If you are looking to increase your strength and muscle mass, then circuit training is a great way to do it.
Because you are working all of the muscles in your body at once, you are going to see results much more quickly than if you were just to focus on one or two exercises.
Improves heart health
It can be argued that any form of exercise is good for your heart, but circuit training does have benefits for this part of the body that regular exercise cannot provide.
Because you are doing so many different exercises with no breaks in between, your entire cardiovascular system gets a workout at once, and can therefore improve more rapidly.
Offers a full-body workout
Circuit training is unique because it works all of the muscles in your body at once.
This means that there is very little chance of getting bored during workouts - something which can be an issue when exercising regularly - as you will constantly be working slightly different muscles throughout the course of one session.
Is time efficient
One of the major positives to circuit training is that it can really save you time during what would otherwise be a long workout.
Provided you have a set routine that you follow, you can complete an entire workout in as little as 30 minutes, which is much faster than many traditional exercises.
Improves exercise adherence
We all know how hard it can be to stick to a regular fitness routine, but one of the great things about circuit training is that it makes this a lot easier.
This is because you can see results quickly - thanks to the increased strength and muscle growth - and so are more likely to continue with the workouts.
May promote weight loss
One of the other great things about circuit training is that it may help you lose weight more quickly than other forms of exercise.
This is again thanks to the fact that you are working all of the muscles in your body at once.
May improve your mood
There are many reasons why exercise is good for you, and one of them is that it can be great for lifting your mood.
Circuit training is particularly effective at improving how you feel because not only does it provide many physical benefits, it also allows you to think about something other than work or domestic problems.
Circuit training can be done at home without any equipment
The great thing about circuit training is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to do it - all you need is your own body weight.
This means that you can pretty much do it anywhere, at any time, which is a huge plus.
However, we highly recommend varying your exercises, for example, if you do push-ups every day, your body will build endurance and strength to that movement.
If you switch to TRX rows (Pronated Grip), your muscles will adapt differently. See why circuit training is important?
There are some potential negatives to consider too, of course.
One is that circuit training can be quite challenging, so it might not be suitable for complete beginners or those who are not in good shape. Additionally, if you do too much circuit training too soon, you may find that you experience overtraining syndrome - which can lead to injuries, fatigue and a general feeling of unwellness.
Can cause injury if done incorrectly
One of the downsides to circuit training is that it requires a certain level of knowledge before carrying out these routines correctly.
Since there are no breaks during workouts, this means that there will be occasions when overworking yourself becomes an issue if you aren't careful both with the amount of weight you choose to lift and with the number of repetitions you choose to do.
If you are planning on circuit training indoors, then you will need enough room for all of the exercises that you are carrying out - something which can be challenging if you live in a smaller property. Similarly, if your idea of taking exercise is heading outside into nature, then it may not be suitable for this.
Need a certain level of fitness
If you're just starting out, you'll likely find that circuit training can be a little too much in the beginning. This is because it requires you to have at least a base level of fitness if you are going to complete the different exercises correctly.
Requires good knowledge
Lastly, circuit training may not be ideal for anybody who doesn't enjoy exercising. Although it is one of the most beneficial forms of physical activity out there - particularly when it comes to improving your cardiovascular health - this does require that you know how to perform each exercise properly before carrying them out in quick succession.
Need to be self-motivated (hard to do on your own)
Unless you find it easy to be self-motivated, you may find it hard to keep up a regular circuit training routine on your own. This is because, as mentioned earlier, this type of exercise does require a lot of initiative and organisation in order to get the most out of it.
Hard to know which exercise is the most effective
By carrying out multiple exercises in a row, you run the risk of not knowing which exercise is actually providing you with the most benefits. This can be especially problematic if you are not using good form when carrying out the exercises, as it may result in an injury that stops you from training altogether.
Circuit training is that it's not as effective in building muscle mass
If the main idea was to develop muscle, then circuit training would not be the best type of workout to do. This is because it's not as effective in terms of volume (the amount of time spent working out), and it's also not great for increasing the weight that you are lifting.
If you are looking to build muscle mass, you will need to train using a weightlifting routine and some cardio, so as to allow your body time to repair itself and grow stronger.
Can be hard on the joints
If you have any kind of joint issues, then circuit training may not be best suited for you. This is because it requires a lot of movement - which makes sense given that this is what it's designed for! However, if you're not careful with how much load you're putting through those joints then they can become easily overworked or damaged.
Feels unstructured and unplanned
To benefit from circuit training, some people like to use a plan (e.g., starting off with ten exercises and doing rounds) whereas others like the freedom of working out without a plan.
Circuit training can be great for these people as it provides the freedom of choosing whatever exercises they like, but it can also feel unstructured and unplanned to those who prefer to follow a workout plan instead.
Requires you to move around a lot
Performing exercises one after another means that you are not able to give any exercise your 100%, because you will have little time for pauses in between them. This can mean that circuit training feels more tiring than other types of workouts where you're only performing one exercise at a time, before resting for 30 seconds or so.
You should always listen to your body when exercising - whether it's asking for breaks or telling you that something doesn't feel right. If you're feeling particularly tired after starting a circuit training workout, it might be time to take a break or switch to a less intensive routine.
So, those are some of the pros and cons of circuit training! As you can see, it's a great way to get fit quickly and efficiently, but it's not for everyone. Make sure you consider your own fitness level and how much self-motivation you have before giving this type of workout a try!
So there you have it - some pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not circuit training is right for you. Whichever side of the argument you come down on, one thing is for sure - this form of exercise is definitely becoming more and more popular all the time.
The best forms of circuit training are those that have a tried and tested routine.
After all, if you don't know for sure that this will work well for you, then it may not be worth bothering in the first place.
Instead, focus on what you already enjoy doing - whether this is cycling or swimming - and find ways to make this harder by increasing your speed whenever possible.
Then, once you've started seeing results, introduce new exercises into your workout (like squats or press-ups) to challenge yourself further.
Or better still, focus on combining these exercises together instead of taking time out between them; this reduces recovery times but also makes it tougher to complete each - which is exactly what your body needs.
Do you have any experience with circuit training?
Where did you stand on the pros and cons list?
Did it work for you, or do you prefer other forms of exercise?
Let us know in the comments below...