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Why old school fitness circuits are the best

Fitness circuits: something for everyone

Fitness trends come and go but there is one physically challenging activity that has stood the test of time.

Fitness circuits were believed to have first hit the mainstream back in the 1950s. It was introduced by R. E Morgan and G.T Anderson at Leeds University and little has changed about the concept since then.

Circuit training is a combination of endurance training and strength and resistance work performed under high-intensity, aerobic conditions. A circuit is completion of a set of exercise stations, each performed over a set period of time. 

Variety is the spice of exercise life

A well-devised fitness circuits training programme will include elements of arms, leg and core body work, so the whole body is given a work out. The circuit can be loaded towards certain parts of the body depending on the requirements of the person doing the training. For example, if someone was looking to increase leg strength, the emphasis of the circuit would be on doing more leg-focused exercises.

A typical fitness circuit may contain these elements:

Upper body
Push ups, bench dips, back extension, bench press

Sit-ups, crunches, Russian twists

Lower body
Squats, lunges, step ups, shuttle runs

Total body
Burpees, squat thrusts, jogging on the spot

Efficient use of time

A typical 10 station fitness circuit session could involve 3 x 45 seconds on each station, with a 30 second break in between each station.

Circuit training is still thought to be the most effective way to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance. 

Among the benefits, as outlined on the online health website, are: 

Improves muscular endurance by training the body to sustain activity for longer. By doing a high number of repetitions in a short period of time, slow with muscle fibres are called into action, which help sustain the activity for longer.

Improves heart health by keeping the heart rate elevated throughout the circuit. The muscles of the heart strength and so decrease stress on the heart. More blood is able to be pushed around the body with less effort.

Circuit training is very time efficient. You can get a high quality workout in a short space of time because there are minimal breaks during a session. Most circuit training sessions are 20-30 minutes.

Improves exercise adherence by adding variety to your workout. As you go from one exercise to the next, you do not have time to become bored with one exercise. As circuits are often class-based, there is also an entertaining and social side to this exercise type as well.

It is suitable for all abilities meaning people of different fitness levels can do a training session together. Whether you’re an avid athlete, the average gym-goer, or working out in your basement, circuit training can benefit you.

Circuit training is a regular feature in classes at the Outlooks Gym, check with the Kelsey Kerridge reception or the website for details.