Circuit training is a type of interval training in which strength exercises are combined with endurance or aerobic exercises, so you gain the benefits of both a cardiovascular and strength training workout.
To achieve these aerobic benefits, you need to sustain an increased heart rate. Therefore it is important to move from one station to another with minimal rest between exercises.
Circuits can be set up as stations around a fitness facility or in your own home. Many people find that circuit training keeps them from getting bored since you are constantly changing the exercises that you are doing.
Today, we will take you through examples of exercises that can be used to create your own circuit training workout. Make sure you allow for time to transfer safely in between stations and remember to work at your own ability level.
Station 1: Jumping Jacks
Jumping jacks are a basic exercise that can help with agility, balance, cardiovascular endurance and muscular endurance. Jumping jacks can be performed low-impact by alternating heel taps or high-impact using both feet at the same time. You can also perform jumping jacks seated using your arms only.
You can jump for a certain number of jumps, or for a certain amount of time, and increase that number or time as you progress.
Station 2: Front and Lateral Shoulder Raises
Stand or sit with a dumbbell, soup can or other object you are using as a weight in each hand. You can also do this exercise without weights. Lift the weights in front with palms facing in until they are shoulder height. With a smooth, controlled motion, lower the weights slowly to the starting position. Remember to breathe out as you lift the weights up and breathe in on the way down. Your feet should be about shoulder width apart. If you are performing this exercise seated, be sure you are sitting up straight with your shoulders back. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the exercise so that your arms are straight, but not quite locked. Do not swing the weights or lean backwards. If you find that you are leaning backwards, it is likely that the weight you are using is too heavy. Try a lighter weight or don't use weights at all. This exercise can also be done alternating one arm at a time.
Shoulder raises can also be done laterally or to the side. The same principles apply. You want to maintain a slight bend in the elbows, lift the weights with palms facing down to shoulder height. Remember to breathe out as you lift and in as you return the weights to the starting position.
You can alternate front and lateral raises for a great shoulder workout.
Station 3: Seated Arm Ergometer
An arm ergometer is a great form of aerobic exercise. Be sure to sit up straight, keep your shoulders back and sit close enough to the arm ergometer so that you are not reaching too far in front of you and hyper-extending your elbows. Your goal may be to increase the amount of time on the ergometer or to increase your speed as you progress.
If you don't have an arm ergometer, you can still mimic the motion by cycling your arms in front of you.
Station 4: Bridge on Back
This exercise can be done with your feet on the floor or using a chair or stability ball under your lower legs, which is much more advanced.
Lay on your back with your feet on the floor. Lift your rear off of the ground, making your body straight. Be sure to squeeze your gluteal muscles and keep your abdominal muscles tight. Remember to breathe. Hold this position for 5 or more seconds and slowly return to the ground. Repeat this exercise based on your ability.
For a more advanced exercise, perform the bridge exercise using a chair or stability ball. Place the chair under your lower legs. Lift your rear off the ground, making your body straight. Hold & slowly return. Keep the ball steady. For more stability, place your arms out to the side on the floor.
Station 5: Seated Row with Theraband
Begin by swinging the Thera-Band® around a very sturdy pole or other anchor. Position your chair a few feet away so that the Thera-Band® is not too slack or too tight when reaching for it. Grab one end of the Thera-Band® in each hand with palms facing down. Sit up straight in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Contract your abdominals for trunk stability. Position the Thera-Band® so that it is at an equal height with your shoulders. Exhale and pull your hands towards your chest by bending at the elbows. Keep your back upright and straight as you bring your elbows behind you while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Inhale and return to starting position in a slow and controlled manner.
This exercise works the upper back muscles. You can vary the resistance by adjusting your hand position on the band. To increase resistance, grasp the band closer to the center and to decrease, grasp it closer to the ends.
Station 6: Boxing
Boxing is a great aerobic and strength exercise. It works many muscles in the upper body and also keeps your heart rate elevated.
You can vary your movements punching in front of you, up high, and low. You can perform these movements seated or standing. If you are standing, you can add intensity by including your lower body, jumping side to side while you punch. Remember to avoid locking your elbows. As you punch in front of you, remember to always keep a slight bend in the elbow.
Don't forget to perform a warm-up and cool down, be creative, and have fun with it.
This concludes your last tip, so congratulations and keep up the good work. All of the video clips from the 14 weeks will be available online after the conclusion of the program so you can refer your friends to these resources, or go back to them for a refresher.
If you have any questions regarding exercise or any of the exercise tips from this 14 week program, please call Blythe Hiss at 312-996-5965. If you have any questions regarding nutrition or any of the nutrition tips throughout the past 14 weeks, please call Gillian Goodfriend at 312-996-0907.
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