Circuit Training Workouts for Fat Loss and Conditioning

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Circuit training is an excellent training protocol to use for anyone seeking fat loss results and improved conditioning. Circuit training has being around for decades and traditionally used by athletes. When I started training for track and field back in 1994, my coach quickly introduced me to circuit training. We would do a lot of circuit type work on a regular basis as part of our conditioning program. Ever since then I have always been an advocate of circuit training. However, the problem I have with traditional 8-12 station circuits is the recovery time between rounds of individual exercises or exercise specific recovery. It’s too long!

If you’re not familiar with traditional circuit training protocols, let me briefly explain then. You would select anywhere from 8-12 exercises and perform each exercise one after the other for a certain work period (maybe 20-30 seconds) or for a prescribed number of repetitions, until all 8-12 exercises are completed.

Now if you take a 10-station circuit and let’s say you are performing each exercise for 20 seconds, with push-ups as exercise number one in the sequence. Let’s also say that you will rest 1-minute at the completion of each circuit (after each round or set).

Well when you do the math you will discover that 4 minutes plus will have passed between your first set of push-ups in circuit one and your second set of push-ups in circuit two.

So although you are working hard throughout the circuits and doing a lot of work, there is too much recovery time between individual exercises, i.e. exercise specific recovery is too long!

WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

circuit-training-workoutsAthletic Body Circuits (ABC’s) For Enhanced Fat Loss and Conditioning!

In order to make circuit training more effective, challenging and more fun what we have devised are ‘ATHLETIC BODY CIRCUITS‘.

Athletic Body Circuits consist of 3 mini circuits, instead of one giant circuit, which reduces exercise specific recovery periods and leads to better results. Here’s how they work.

We will perform an A Circuit x 3 Rounds, a B Circuit x 3 Rounds and a C Circuit x 3 Rounds.

Each Mini-Circuit (A,B and C) will consist of 3-4 exercises and each exercise will be performed for 20-30 seconds.

  • Beginners: start of each mini-circuit with 3 exercises, each performed for 20 seconds.
  • Intermediates: start of each mini-circuit with 3 exercises, each performed for 30 seconds.
  • Advanced trainees: start of each mini-circuit with 4 exercises, each performed for 30 seconds.

REST PERIODS:
As I mentioned, 3 Rounds of each mini-circuit are performed. After each round a one-minute rest interval is taking.

2 minutes rest is then given between the completion of mini-circuit A (3 rounds) and the start of mini-circuit B and likewise between the completion of mini-circuit B (3 rounds) and the start of mini-circuit C.

Let me write this out so you get a clearer picture of how this works. I’ll do a sample for all levels of trainee:

Beginner Level Trainee Athletic Body Circuits:

  • A Circuit x 3 Rounds (3 Exercises x 20 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds
  • REST 2 Minutes
  • B Circuit x 3 Rounds (3 Exercises x 20 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds
  • REST 2 Minutes
  • C Circuit x 3 Rounds (3 Exercises x 20 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds

So a beginner will perform each mini-circuit for 1 minute of work (3 exercises x 20 seconds each), followed by one minute of rest and a slightly longer rest interval is given between the individual mini-circuits.

Intermediate Level Trainee Athletic Body Circuits:

  • A Circuit x 3 Rounds (3 Exercises x 30 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds
  • REST 2 Minutes
  • B Circuit x 3 Rounds (3 Exercises x 30 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds
  • REST 2 Minutes
  • C Circuit x 3 Rounds (3 Exercises x 30 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds

So an intermediate will perform each mini-circuit for 90 seconds of work (3 exercises x 30 seconds each), followed by one minute of rest and a slightly longer rest interval is given between the individual mini-circuits.

As you can see, the work to rest ratio has started to change now. Beginners were doing 1-minute work to 1 minute of rest. Now the intermediate is doing 1 and ½ minutes work to 1-minute rest.

Advanced Level Trainee Athletic Body Circuits:

  • A Circuit x 3 Rounds (4 Exercises x 30 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds
  • REST 2 Minutes
  • B Circuit x 3 Rounds (4 Exercises x 30 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds
  • REST 2 Minutes
  • C Circuit x 3 Rounds (4 Exercises x 30 Seconds Each) 1 Minute Rest Between Rounds

So an advanced trainee will perform each mini-circuit for 120 seconds of work (4 exercises x 30 seconds each), followed by one minute of rest and a slightly longer rest interval is given between the individual mini-circuits.

As you can see, the work to rest ratio has yet again changed. Beginners were doing 1-minute work to 1-minute of rest, intermediates were doing 1 and ½ minutes work to 1-minute rest and now the advanced trainee will be PUNISHED with 2 minutes of work and only 1-minute of rest.

ALSO, the complexity of the exercises used will be higher for the advanced trainee as opposed to that of the beginner.

HERE’S A SAMPLE MINI-CIRCUIT (A) FOR YOU TO TRY

A1: Push Ups x 20-30 Seconds
A2: Inverted Body Rows x 20-30 Seconds
A3: Prisoner Squats x 20-30 Seconds
A4: Spiderman Climbs x 20-30 Seconds

Perform 3 Rounds, resting 1 minute between rounds

circuit-training-workouts-pushups

Push Ups

 

circuit-training-workouts-inverted-body-rows

Inverted Body Rows
(Use a smith machine, hurdle or any sturdy object you can pull your chest towards)

 

circuit-training-workouts-prisoner-squats

Prisoner Squats

 

circuit-training-workouts-spiderman-climb

Spiderman Climb
(Foot Comes Up Outside The Hand – Knee Outside Tricep-Shoulder Region)

NOTES:

Beginners will only perform exercises A1-A3 and perform each one using exercise progressions suitable to their ability level, i.e. kneeling or elevated push-ups and assisted inverted body rows. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds (60 seconds total work period per round).

Intermediate level trainees will only perform exercises A1-A3 and perform each one using exercise progressions suitable to their ability level, i.e. kneeling or elevated push-ups and assisted inverted body rows. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds (90 seconds total work period per round).

Advanced level trainees will perform exercises A1-A4 and perform each one using exercise progressions that are more demanding, i.e. full push ups or spiderman push ups and unassisted inverted body rows. Perform each exercise for 30 seconds (120 seconds total work period per round).

So go on and give them a try and let me know how you get on with them.

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About Author

Ian Graham

My training philosophy is to always train individuals like they are athletes. Even if they are not competing in any sport, they can gain from this athletic approach. We are all designed to perform like athletes. The athletic approach can help anyone achieve their health and fitness, fat loss and muscle building goals! See my profile page for more information!

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