Circuit training is one of the best ways to get a workout at the gym. It provides both a cardiovascular and strength workout in a structured way that will save you time wandering around the gym between machines and wondering what to do next.
We spoke to Robyn Moore of Virgin Active South Africa to find out more of the benefits of using the circuit and how to use it properly to get the most out of your time on it.
“The Super Circuit is benefits not only someone starting out, but the regular and advanced gym-goer as well and is designed to build strength while incorporating intervals of cardio,” she said.
The aim of the super circuit is to target both the large and small muscle groups of the entire body and one of the major benefits is that you can get a complete body workout in under half an hour. It also improves both cardiovascular and aerobic endurance by using a high repetition of strength training.
How to use the super circuit
While Robyn says there are no rules per se, there are ‘common courtesies’ when it comes to using the super circuit.
“It is common gym etiquette to start at one end (generally on the left hand side) and work your way around to finnish on the last machine on the right, working in intervals of cardio or core according to the lighting system - when the green light indicates to start the machine or cardio interval and the red light will indicate to stop and move onto the next machine or interval,” she explains.
Common mistakes on the circuit
Skipping intervals: One of the biggest mistakes people make on the circuit is to skip the cardio intervals and just do the machines, but this is to their detriment as Robyn says the cardio intervals are important in order to keep your heart rate up which improves fat oxidization.
“The cardio interval can include stair running, jumping jacks, burpees, or even core exercises instead of an interval of cardio can also be beneficial.”
Too much rest: The purpose of the super circuit is to keep your heart rate elevated, says Robyn and a frequent mistakes people make is to incorporate too much rest time which lowers their heart rate and prevents you getting the full benefit of what could be a very good toning and fat burning workout.
Not sticking to the format: The other mistake people commonly make it picking and choosing the machines they prefer to workout on. “Many of us are drawn to the things or exercises we are good at but the super circuit is set out in such a way to ensure every aspect of the body is working, which prevents over and under-working certain areas, preventing muscle imbalances.”
Reference: Robyn Moore of Virgin Active South Africa
(Amy Froneman, Health24,June 2012)
Your target heart rate