Circuit Training: Why It’s One of the Best Workouts Part 2

In Part 1, we discussed why you should be doing circuit training, now let’s talk about why it works. Circuits may be the ideal training method for newcomers, deconditioned clients and individuals with chronic ailments, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia. Newcomers to resistance training may find that stressing the same muscle group in succession, as seen in linear training programs, to be too fatiguing. In this case, circuit training may be the prefered option as only one of each exercise is performed before repeating the sequence, thus extending the rest time for each muscle group. This concept is especially important to consider if training with a chronic condition that may be aggravated by repetitive stress to a specific area of the body. For example, if one were to find that performing multiple sets of squats in succession triggers fibromyalgia flares, than a circuit training program might be a possible solution to consider.

Although practical and effective, it would be helpful to go over a few suggestions to further increase the effectiveness of circuit training. First of all, focus on muscle building exercises. This could include goblet squats, suspension strap rows, lunges or push-ups. Secondly, do not rush through the exercises. Racing through the exercises usually results in compromised technique. Do the exercises well instead of just trying to get them done. Another useful tip for building a circuit program would be to pair exercises that train opposing muscle groups together. For example, pair a pushing exercise (like push-ups) with a pulling exercise (like suspension strap row). Pairing exercises which train opposing muscle groups has been shown to increase muscle force production. This is likely due to the stretch-shortening cycle, the lengthening of a muscle followed by a shortening of the same muscle. When exercises that train opposing muscle groups are pair together one muscle group shortens under tension while the opposing groups lengthen under tension. The roles are then reversed for the following exercise. This increases force production of the muscle allowing the exerciser to perform more reps or even lift slightly heavier weight (Gregory Haff, 2016).


By: Thomas Stuglik


Gregory Haff, T. T. (2016). Essentials of Strength and Conditioning . Windsor: Human Kinetics.