The Belvedere Journal
The Happiness Class: Circuits
What is it?
If we want to get technical, then experts say that circuit training will typically involve between 6 and 12 different exercises. Such exercises will be repeated for your allocated amount of repetitions (reps) or a prescribed amount of time. One circuit is complete when you have finished all of your chosen exercises.
A lot of people are put off by circuit training, due to the short recovery periods it is not unlikely that a beginner might find it overwhelming, but there is really no reason to be. Yes, it is true that circuit training is traditionally high intensity, in fact significantly higher in intensity than your Sunday jog or stroll through Sefton with your new French Bulldog. But there is no reason why you, who may be a complete ‘novice’ or beginner cannot tailor your circuit to your current level of fitness and ability. That is the beauty of it, circuit training is adoptable and interchangeable to yourself and your physical ability at that time.
What are the benefits?
Due to the flexibility of circuit training as exercise it has a wide range of both physical and mental benefits. Physically, circuit training will: improve cardiovascular fitness whilst improving muscular endurance and strength. Due to its natural high-intensity and short recovery periods (if you opt for that) it is easy to see how circuit training is extremely efficient as a fat burner whilst maintaining and gaining muscle.
Mentally, I am not going to bore you! We have read and heard countless times how exercise increases mood and well-being. What I will say is that circuit training (given the space) is excellent to complete with friends or family. You should encourage and push each other further, which in the end can only lead to not only increased physical results but rewarding social interaction.
How do I do it?
Another beauty about circuit training is how it is utterly convenient, you do not need any equipment and you can complete your circuit in a vast range of locations that are convenient to you: in your garage, shed, kitchen, park and bedroom. Essentially a space that you can find which will be large enough for your entire body to rotate 360 degrees. Don’t believe me? In 2002 Charles Bronson published ‘Solitary Fitness’. At the time he had spent his previous 28 years in a maximum-security prison, 24 of those years were spent in solitary confinement, yet he remained in peak physical condition. How? Circuit training.
Below is an example of a body-weight exercise circuit that requires no equipment.
30 seconds work with 30 seconds rest between each exercise. Perform the circuit three times with three minutes rest between each circuit.
• Jumping squat
• Push up
• High knees
• Mountain climbers
• Russian twist
If you want to increase the intensity of this circuit, then add weight or resistance where you can, or simply decrease the amount of recovery period. Above is only an example, feel free to change the above exercises to ones that you may be more comfortable with.
Where can I learn more?
YouTube is a fantastic resource for circuits, and this remains the case for whatever level of fitness you are currently in. From beginner to intermediate, Joe Wicks has an abundance of material on his channel that will cater to the needs of all. Most recently during the lockdown he has released new material on staying fit in quarantine.
As ever you will find as much information as you want online, but YouTube with Joe Wicks is certainly a start. Good luck!