The Most Effective Workout: Circuit Training

Want to burn the most calories in the shortest amount of time? Start circuit training!

Circuit training is an excellent way to simultaneously improve mobility, strength, and stamina. The circuit training workout is composed of two to six different circuits, each containing two or more strength/cardio exercises that are completed one right after the other, with little or no rest in between. The strength training works your muscles, and the cardio keeps your heart rate up. Keeping your heart rate elevated is important because the higher it is, the more calories you’re burning. You do one set of an exercise for a specified number of repetitions (or a prescribed amount of time) and then move on to the next exercise. Once you complete one set of each exercise in a circuit, you go back to the beginning of the circuit and repeat the exercises until all the sets are completed and you can move on to the next circuit of exercises.

For example, Circuit 1 might include three sets each of push-ups, lunges, and mountain climbers. You should complete one set (consisting of 15 reps) of push-ups, followed by one set of lunges (15 reps), and then one set of mountain climbers (1 minute). Then do a second set of push-ups, lunges, and mountain climbers, followed by the third and final set of the three exercises. Circuits should NOT consist of three sets of push-ups at once, followed by three sets of lunges and then 1 minute of mountain climbers.

There is no rest period within a single circuit, but completed circuits should be separated by a rest period of 30 seconds to 1 minute. The total number of circuits performed during a training session may vary from two to six, depending on a number of factors, including your training level and your training objective (for example, are you preparing for a competition, and if so, how much time do you have to prepare?). The workouts include the cardio intervals (one minute of jumping jacks, one minute of mountain climbers, and so on) to keep your heart rate elevated for maximum calorie burn.

Try this sample circuit!

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