The Benefits of Circuit Training

My favorite way to train hands down is circuit training. It allows me to fully challenge myself and clients without ever getting bored! A good circuit should include aspects to build strength and get your heart rate up at the same time. Here are a few ways to create a killer circuit for your next workout!


1. Use strength training and plyometric exercises

I love circuits that alternate strength and cardio. For example I love a squat circuit that progresses from squats, to squat pulses, to squat jumps or jacks. This type of circuit burns the gluteus and provides for the perfect muscle activation and burn!

Sample Circuit:


Squat Pulse

Squat Hold

Squat Jump

2. Pick 3-5 exercises and do 3-4 rounds

I love including multiple circuits in each workout (usually 2-3) and so I will choose 3-5 exercises in each circuit. I will usually create these based off of what muscle groups I want to work. I love 3-4 rounds because the first round is to learn each move, the middle one or two circuits are for really getting strong in each move, and the last round is for complete burn out.

3. Set a timer 

I am a terrible counter, especially when training, as I tend to get a little chatty! I will usually set a timer for 45 seconds- 1 minute for each exercise. This sounds hard (and my clients will tell you it is) but it allows me to really push myself in each round to get as many reps as I can get in!

4. Use various Fitness Tools

I am always playing around with different equipment, but I do have a few favorites! TRX, Step360 and Kettlebells are my favorite pieces of equipment to use in circuits. These often incorporate multiple body parts as well as full body stabilization which increases the overall burn. Plus using new  or different tools allow you to be constantly changing  and challenging your muscles- which is neccessary for avoiding plateau or gym boredom.

Sample Circuit:

TRX Push-ups

TRX Narrow Rows on 360 with a squat hold 

360 Burpees


5. Throw some treadmill intervals in

Love a Barry’s Bootcamp or Orange Theory but can’t always make class? You can recreate those killer circuits by throwing treadmill (or rowing) intervals in between weight circuits! Not a runner? You can customize it so do hill intervals on a walking speed that is slightly faster than your normal pace! This is a great way to get high intensity cardio in, especially if you want to start running because you can include walking  and running intervals to build endurance.

Sample Circuit:

Sprint Interval Circuit:

30 s sprint

1 min fast walk or jog recover

45 s sprint

1 min fast walk or job

1 min sprint 

1 min fast walk or jog

45 s sprint

1 min fast walk or jog

30 s sprint

6. Use Compound Moves

To maximize my circuits as well as workouts overall, I love combining moves (also called compound moves)in order to challenge myself more and burn more in each circuit. The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn which is always a plus! In addition to an increased in caloric burn, compound moves provide dynamic flexibility, improved coordination and efficiency, and elevates heart rate.

Examples of Compound Moves:

Deadlift to a High Pull

Squat to a Bicep Curl

Single Leg Deadlift with a Tricep Kickback

Reverse Lunge with a Shoulder Press

These tips will help you create an awesome circuit workout to build strength, increase heart rate, and burn both calories and your muscles! It is in these circuits that we create the lasting change in our bodies.



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