Circuit training is a form of physical exercise that combines strength exercises, or weight training, with endurance exercises, or cardiovascular training. It can be used by a single person following an exercise routine or by a group of people who rotate among training stations. This type of routine works out the whole body in a single session.
Many people find that circuit training is a great way to exercise without the need for equipment. An example of an exercise rotation can include push-ups, sit-ups or other form of abdominal training, jumping jacks, and squat thrusts. In cases like this, a person does as many repetitions of an exercise as possible during a fixed time period, before moving to the next station. Between stations, there is a 20 to 30 second recovery time allowed, but never more than that, as the heart rate would go down too much.
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A workout plan can also be done by using weight machines, elastic resistance, or hand-held weights. Circuit training can also follow a specific theme, such as combining different Pilates exercises or using boxing techniques. Because this type of exercise can be adapted to use any type of equipment available, it is often the program of choice for people who want to work out outdoors. In a gym, a routine can include five minutes on the treadmill, followed by an abs workout, followed by five minutes on a different cardio machine like a stepper or bicycle, and so on. To be effective, all exercises must be done at a high intensity.
Circuit training programs often take an average of 30 minutes to complete, and offer the same advantages as a one-hour-long regular workout would provide. This also means that they are an excellent choice for people who cannot afford to spend two or three hours at the gym on a regular basis.
One disadvantage of this type of exercise is that it can be too hard to follow for beginners. People who are out of shape or who haven't exercised in a long time run the risk of injuring themselves if pushing their body too hard on a high-intensity program. In those cases, enlisting the help of a personal trainer can make all the difference, especially during the first few weeks of training.