What is a Circuit Workout?

Circuit training is an effective way to increase both cardiovascular and muscular endurance


A circuit workout consists of a series of exercises performed one right after the other with little or no rest in between.

The word circuit refers to the series of 8 to 12 exercises that make up the workout. An entire circuit workout typically consists of 3 to 5 repetitions of the circuit with about one or two minutes rest in between each circuit.

Circuit workouts most commonly consist of high intensity aerobic exercise, but they can be organized in a variety of different ways and can include everything from weight lifting and bodyweight exercises to aerobic moves like box jumps and jumping jacks.

Related: High Intensity Circuit Training Workout

Because less time is spent resting during circuit workouts they are finished quickly and are therefore beneficial for those who have a limited amount of time to devote to a daily workout. One of the best benefits of circuit workouts is that they can effectively increase both cardiovascular and muscular endurance as well as muscular strength all in one exercise session.

The trick with circuit workouts is to alternate between different muscle groups for each exercise so that the muscles worked in one exercise have time to rest while you advance directly to the next move.

For example, a well-designed circuit workout might alternate between upper and lower body exercises or anterior (front of the body) and posterior (back of the body) muscles.

Because circuit workouts can be organized in a number of different ways and can be adapted in order to help meet almost any type of fitness goal they are ideal for all types of exercisers.

Below is an example of a simple total-body weight lifting circuit workout.

Repeat the circuit 3 times
Use a weight challenging enough so that the last 2 to 3 reps of each exercise are most difficult to complete

15 x dumbbell bicep curls

20 x squats

15 x dumbbell overhead press

20 x alternating lunges

15 x seated triceps dip

20 x single leg deadlifts (10 repetitions per leg)

20 x alternating renegade rows

15 x dumbbell chest press


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