Bust Through Plateaus With Circuit Training – Part 2

Adam FriedmanGeneral

Want to know how to quickly break through fitness plateaus and see major progress from your workouts? Check out Part 1 of our Circuit Training series, then use the information below to construct your own plateau-busting circuit training routine.

To create your own circuit training routine, you should start by determining where you’ll be doing this workout. Some gyms are designed for circuit training, while others are not set up in a way that makes it safe or easy. If possible, take advantage of the beautiful Santa Monica and Venice cityscape to find an outdoor rubber or grass surface to train on. Wear your best cross-training shoes, especially if any lateral movements are involved.

"Burpees" are a great exercise to incorporate into your circuit training workout

Circuit training, and the individual “circuits” (or series of exercises) involved, are based upon a work-to-rest ratio that allows for a calculated overload on the muscular and cardiovascular systems. Your work-to-rest ratio can be 1:2, 1:3, 1:4, or 1:5, depending on the objective of the workout, and the intensity of the movements. Each workout should fall into one of these categories:

  • Low Intensity/High Volume/Long Duration (40-50 min)
  • Moderate Intensity /Moderate Volume/Moderate Duration (30-40 min)
  • High Intensity/Low Volume/Short Duration (20-30 min)

Ideally, you should rotate between workouts in each of these three categories throughout a period of 1-2 weeks.

The number of days per week to circuit train depends on your goals, volume, and intensity of each circuit workout. Ideally, you should never do two workouts of the same volume and intensity two days in a row. If you’re a circuit-workout beginner, try doing two circuits per week. At the intermediate level you can do three days per week, and advanced can do four days per week.

Your circuits will consist of a series of pre-determined exercises done consecutively with only a moment (around 10 seconds) in between. You can do anywhere from 3 to 15 exercises per circuit.

Choose your exercises for maximum results. I prefer those that are combination/complex movements, which engage the body as a whole unit, such as cleans, snatches, burpees, bicep curl into a shoulder press, medicine ball throws, etc. If you’re working in a gym, you may choose to incorporate exercises that use machines. If you’re in the great outdoors, you may need nothing but a medicine ball or your own weight as resistance. Use exercises that you already know how to do properly, as the circuit will not allow you much time to worry about correcting your own form.

Each exercise can be performed for a specific number of reps, or for a set amount of time. If you prefer not to count, having a stopwatch is a great way to keep track of your time with little effort.

Completing the entire sequence of 3-15 exercises, taking only ten seconds in between each exercise. Then you can either take a 1-2 minute rest, or start over immediately if your conditioning allows you to. This kind of training challenges your body to perform differently than it usually does, and pushes your metabolism and endurance to a new level.

The objective is always to have fun challenging the body dynamically, and to stimulate the metabolic system to kick into high gear. Over time, this will help you to achieve the lean and athletic body you want.

To have an Advanced Athletics professional design a gut-busting circuit training routine just for you, call 310.396.2100, or email contact Advanced Athletics.