How To Structure A Circuit Training Program

I have experienced great success with circuit training. It has been an extremely effective way for me to develop and maintain both strength and stamina simultaneously. Another way it has served me successfully is as the strength and conditioning coach for the boys’ soccer program at a local high school. Just as in my own personal program, I have been able to provide a high level of fitness for 60 boys in a minimum amount of time by increasing their strength and cardiovascular fitness simultaneously.

Circuit training is not an exercise in and of itself but rather a method of workout routine that combines a sequence of exercises with short rest periods in between each exercise.

In the paragraphs that follow, I’ll reveal how to structure an effective circuit training workout routine for to either improve overall fitness or to improve performance in a specific sport.

How To Use Circuit Training

1. Overall Fitness

Circuit training is a highly effective and efficient way to develop and maintain overall fitness for the person with a busy lifestyle because all that is needed is three or four short sessions per week. The key to improving both strength and endurance simultaneously is performing a sequence of resistance and high intensity cardio exercises with little or no rest in between them.

2. Developing Basic Strength

When athletes begin a program designed to increase performance in their specific sport, they should always be focus in an initial period emphasizing basic strength during the off season in anticipation of preparing for more challenging conditioning in the preseason period.

The athletes who I train have been playing soccer since grade school. Their off season circuits stress correcting their muscle imbalances. For example, soccer players are notorious for neglecting upper body training so I consistently employ exercises to work on that. The remaining exercises employ as movements commonly used in our sport like kicking, jumping, and lateral movement.

3. Developing Muscular Endurance. In my sport, soccer, as in many others like basketball, lacrosse, and water polo, just to name a few, its necessary for athletes to have cardiovascular and muscular endurance. Circuit workout routines can be designed to meet the sport’s unique requirements By making rest periods short, cardiovascular endurance is increased. A workout routine for a interval-sprint sport like soccer will look much different than one for a cross country team.

General Fitness Guidelines

All that is needed is three or sessions per week. Similar to conventional weightlifting, there should be 48 hours between sessions. In selecting an exercise, the level of resistance should be such that a person can exercise for a period of 30-60 seconds. If not, the exercise, whether its performed with dumbells, resistance bands, or plain old bodyweight, should be modified to make it easier or difficult as necessary.

Each routine should have between 7 – 12 exercises that are performed from 30 – 60 seconds. There should be a total of 20 – 25 sets so that means 2 or 3 times through the sequence. The amount of rest between exercise is determined by the fitness level of the person. Novice exercisers may need up to 90 seconds. My soccer athletes take no rest between sets.

Circuit workout routines are appropriate for on, off, or preseason training. Three or four sessions a week can be mixed with cardio sessions on off days.

Guidelines For Short-Term Strength Endurance

The way to train for soccer, field hockey, and lacrosse is to use 30 second bursts of high intensity exercise. In these best was to imitate the action of these sports. Be sure that the exercise movements copy movements used frequently in these sports.

Try this circuit:

1) Squats 20

2) Incline Pushups 20

3) Jump squats 20

4) Decline pushups 20

5) Lateral Lunges 20

6) Cross Body Mountain climbers 20

7) Dumbell swings 15

8] Close-grip pushups 20

3 Times through the sequence

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