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Circuit Training

August 2, 2006 09:50 AM

Circuit Training is an excellent training method. You can train many muscles in a short time without letting any single group reach fatigue. You can either have a single station with one or two KBs and simply alter the exercises in each round, or have different stations and run between stations. You will be using your muscular endurance and get into "cardio" territory rather quickly.

Your mind will tell you that you are tired long before you really are. One time, when I thought (the key) I couldn't lift another weight- some 60 year old sprinted by, grabbed the monkey bars and knocked out 21 pull-ups. Bam! I wasn't going to let someone 3 times my age out do me in front of soccer moms! I finished two more circuits that day.

Remember to keep good form and keep the weight light in the beginning as you learn how to keep going. Push your self as hard as you can. If you are training your circuit in a park or public area - you should be so exhausted that you collapse and you don't have the energy to carry your gear home/to the car for at least 10 minutes (which you should use for stretching).

Here is an example of a single station circuit:

1 pood swing 5/5 (warm up)
1 pood split snatch 5l/5r (coordination and balance)
1.5 pood snatch and press 5l/5r (upper body strength) (after snatching the bell up, lower to the shoulder and press it back up)
1.5 pood front squat 10 (lower body strength)
2 pood swing 5l/5r (explosive strength)
1.5 pood under the leg pass 5/5r (abs)
1 pood swing 5l/5r
rest 1-2 min then repeat.

After, I normally knockout out some rock up squats or Hindu squats and some bent presses if my upper body can take it.

Here is an example of a multi station circuit:
Mark off 100 yards
At the O yard mark place your kettlebells
Put a marker at the 50 yard mark
At the 100 yard mark put a sandbag (75-150lbs, depending on you)

Pick up your first kettlebell (1) and knock out 5l/5r swings
Sprint to the 50 yard mark and do 10 Hindu squats
Sprint to the 100 yard mark and power clean and press the sand bag 10 reps
Sprint back to the 50 yard mark and do 10 rock up squats
Sprint to the kettlebells (1.5) clean and press both of them 10 reps
Sprint to the 50 yard mark and so 10 Hindu pushups
Sprint to the 100 yard mark and do 10 power snatches
Sprint back to the 50 yard mark and do 10 burpees (yes, burpees!)
Sprint to the kettlebells (1.5) and clean, front squat and press both for 10 reps

That is one round. Do at least five! It is completely possible that the sprints will become slow walks trying not to fall over while clutching muscle spasms and sucking wind. If you can get through this circuit 5 times, up the weight, increase the distance, add more stations- make it HARD!

I find the circuit an excellent way to train different exercises without reaching fatigue but you still get enough reps in for what you want. It also really gets your metabolism up! Those who want to focus more on raw strength than strength endurance. Simply up the weights at each station- you won't be able to perform as many rounds. You can also shorten the sprints to say 10 yards and eliminate the calisthenics in the middle.

Guy Razy is a personal trainer and Kinesiology student based in Montreal, Canada. He studies combat sports and strength training. He can be reached at