Monday, April 29, 2013

Creating a Circuit Training Routine

Circuit training is a workout routine that combines cardiovascular fitness and resistance training. It was first proposed in the late 1950s as a method to develop general fitness. The initial routines were arranged in a circle, alternating between different muscle groups (hence the name circuit training). By allowing only a short rest interval of 30-90 seconds between stations, cardiovascular fitness is gained along with the benefits of resistance training.

When developing a circuit training routine, a wide variety of exercises and equipment can be utilized. Much of the equipment is relatively inexpensive and includes surgical tubing, jump rope, your own body weight, dumbbells, medicine balls, physioballs and weight training machines. A circuit can consist of as few as three stations to as many as 15 stations based on the goals and pre-training levels of the participants.

Circuit training stations are generally sequenced in a way to alternate between muscle groups, which allows for adequate recovery. The rest interval between stations should be between 30-90 seconds and 1-3 minutes between circuits. There are literally thousands of different combinations you can use when organizing your circuit training programs. I will share with you and demonstrate on video 3 possible combinations using an upper body/lower body strategy, a plane by plane strategy and a proprioceptive/balance strategy.

The Upper Body/Lower Body Strategy (ULS)

With the ULS, we are attempting to move blood and stimulate muscles first from the lower body to the upper body and then from the upper body to the lower body. The benefit of this strategy is an increase in flow in the body as well as an ability to rest one group of muscles while exercising another. A simple example of this would be a squat sequence followed by a rowing sequence.

Plane by Plane Strategy (PbP)

In a PbP strategy we will set up our circuit stations so that each station emphasizes a different plane of motion. The three planes of motion are the sagittal plane (flexion and extension), the frontal plane (side to side) and transverse plane (rotational). Notice I said emphasize because all movement takes place in all three motions but there can be one plane more emphasized then another.

Proprioceptive/Balance Strategy (PBS)

In the PBS circuit we will be challenging the bodies proprioceptive and balance systems. Proprioception is the brains main tool in the body to tell it where it is in space. Challenging these systems in a circuit allows expansion of movement in the brain (where all movement is monitored and controlled) without signaling the threat response ultimately causing injury to the body. This is a great circuit for anyone but particularly for athletes.

Exercise Involved in the Circuits

Clubbell Rockers to Dumbbell Rotational Presses
Dumbbell snatch to Pushups with rotation
Lateral Lunges to Clubbell Standing Abdominal Crunch
Medball lunge with forward reach to Medball Lunge with overhead posterior reach
Supine Shoulder Reaches to Standing Clubbell Side Bends
Standing Dumbbell Woodchops to Medball Posterior Lunge with Rotation
Bosu Ball Squat and dumbbell press to Bosu ball plank with shoulder slides
Single leg squat with reach at knee height to Airex Pad Balance Squat with Dumbbell lateral raise
Split stance rotational body blade exercise to Prone Agro Wheel multi-directional slides

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