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Endurance circuit training

WATCHING THE World Cup really got my heart racing. It also made me realise just how much aerobic style training footballers do, to be able to endure 90 minutes of high level football. How do they do it? The answer is circuit training.

The benefits

Circuit training is one of the most complete training programmes you can use to improve your strength, burn calories and improve aerobic (endurance) fitness. Another benefit of including circuit training within your exercise programme is that it is highly flexible, keeping your training routine interesting.

Most normal exercise programmes deal with one particular muscle group for each session; however, circuit training enables you to design programmes that combine more exercises, delivering a more effective workout session. If, like me, you do a major part of your training at home, then circuit training is definitely a must, because it can be done anywhere and at any time.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training is a routine combining a number of exercises, which target the major muscle groups, moving from one exercise to another, with little rest in-between. The amount of exercises in your circuit will be determined by your training objectives.

If you are looking to improve your overall health and fitness, then incorporating circuit training will help to build strength and endurance. By combining routines, you can create a more effective fat burning programme. The one thing that circuit training always does is improve endurance, which, in turn, improves your overall fitness, helping you to reach training goals that much easier.

Designing a circuit

All circuits are aerobic in nature and, therefore, it is important to warm-up properly. The reason for circuit training is to target major muscle groups more effectively, and to do this you must arrange your exercises so that they alternate between muscle groups.

Ideally, you should do an upper body exercise, followed by a lower body exercise. This gives each muscle group just enough time to rest, before being targeted again. Each workout session should last at least 15 minutes and, by combining two different workout sessions, you are able to train harder in less time.

If you train at home, don’t do a fixed number of repetitions, instead do each exercise for 30 seconds and every aerobic exercise for 60 seconds; repeat the routine at least four times (alternatively, do two routines, twice).

Some exercises you could include in your routine:

1) Star jumps

2) Press-ups (feet on a fitball)

3) Lunges

4) Stomach crunches (with back over a fitball)

5) Dips – between chairs

6) Skipping with rope

NEVER do any type of circuit training at home alone if you are not feeling well, or if your doctor has recommended that you should not do any type of strenuous exercise. Circuit training is designed to raise the heart rate, so if you have a weak heart, or have had any previous heart problems, this is NOT for you ….

For the rest of you, get out there and burn those layers of fat away. Until next time!

By João Cabral

Personal Trainer