Circuits are probably the building blocks of any really powerful fat burning workout. A circuit is a series of exercises which target different muscle groups and are done one after the other with no rest in between. Specifically, a circuit should include four or more exercises (2 is called a superset and 3 a tri-set).
In this article I am going to share with you 5 tips to make circuits even more effective. This will get you to burn fat off very quickly.
The reason why circuits are so effective is that they boost the intensity of your workouts by a tremendous degree. Your body simply works longer and harder between each rest period. The result is that you burn a lot more calories during the workouts and long after it is completed.
Often, a circuit will involve exercises that don’t primarily target the same muscle group. For instance, here is an example of a possible circuit (and you can check out more here: metabolic resistance training workouts):
1. Squats – works your quadriceps, primarily, but also your buttocks, calves, and hamstrings.
2. Push ups – Works your chest, primarily, but also your triceps.
3. Alternate shoulder swings – Works your shoulders.
4. Lunge with bicep curls – Works the quads and biceps together. Both the lunges and the squats work the quadriceps, but as this the fourth exercise and the squats were the first, there shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Side planks – Works the abdominal muscles.
A workout which is composed of circuits will likely be powerful enough as it is. However, let’s see how you can take it up a notch.
1. Increase Resistance
This is a simple way to make any exercise harder. You work against bigger resistance. This can be done with heavier weights or, in case of bodyweight exercises, by wearing a weighted vest or ankle weights.
You don’t have to increase the resistance ito all the exercises in the circuit. Start with one and gradually add more resistance to the other exercises in the sequence. What is important is to not lower the resistance on any other exercise. The goal is continuous progress.
2. Do More Circuits
A workout is made of a number of circuits. An easy way to make it harder is to simply do more of them. If you currently do four circuits in one workout, try to do five. This will naturally take more time, but it is a quick way to make your workouts harder and to burn more calories.
3. Increase Repetitions
You need to write down how many reps you do of each exercise in each circuit. Then, try to add more reps at the same resistance. You may see that you do fewer reps toward the end of the workout simply because you’re not as energetic as you were at the earlier stages. So, make sure the progression is on a circuit-by-circuit basis.
You need to find the right rep range and stay in it. Do not exceed 20 reps on any exercises (and for most people 12 should be sufficient). If you can do a lot of repetitions, it’s time to increase resistance.
4. Add Exercises
In the circuit example above I listed 5 exercises in total. You can add a sixth and you’ll immediately have a harder circuit. You can add more and more exercises as you get stronger. However, don’t go overboard and add too many exercises. Simply add more resistance and reps.
5. Reduce Rest Time
When you do circuit training workouts, the only time you rest is between the circuits themselves. If you cut down your rest times, your workouts will immediately get harder. Now, it’s important to still rest sufficiently between circuits. Otherwise they simply become one circuit. You can rest anywhere between 30-90 seconds. I usually rest about 60 seconds between circuits. If you cut down your rest time by as little as 10 seconds, the next circuit will be much harder. If it gets too hard, it means that you didn’t get enough rest.
Combining All 5
You can and should use all 5 of these tactics together. You can add resistance on some exercises, do more reps on others, add another exercises to some of the circuits, do more of them, and cut the rest time between some of them. You don’t have to do everything at once and you can pick and choose and experiment.
Now you have what you need to do the kind of workouts that will melt fat quickly. It will take a lot of effort but the results may indeed be worth it.