Fitness: Four Reasons to Love Circuit Training

Overbooked this week? No need to cancel on your fitness routine!

In just 20 minutes you can get a full body strength training and aerobic workout.

¿Cómo?

Circuit training.

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Bicycle crunches work abs and obliques. Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

Circuit training combines 8-10 exercises (think crunches, push-ups, squats) performed for 30-90 seconds in a sequence that repeats 2-3 times with no rest between moves.

This workout cuts time but not intensity–a circuit featuring all strength training moves burns 30% more calories than a typical weight workout.

Less time, more results? ¡Sí, por favor! 

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Get lean legs by adding lunges to your circuit. Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

I had done circuit training through group fitness classes, but had never designed my own until I needed a quick workout option this week.

I did 9 exercises for 1 minute each, repeating the sequence twice with a 1 minute break between.

Checa my moves:

  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Jumping jacks
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Tricep dips
  • Lunges
  • Knee lifts
  • Plank hand-touch
  • Superman raises

Switching from one move to the next without rest is key to this workout. Each exercise targets a different muscle group, so I felt good at the beginning of each new move and was able to give 100%-which left me feeling the burn by the end! At the same time, the 20 minutes of non-stop movement got my heart pumping.

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In a plank position, alternate touching each hand to strengthen core and shoulders. Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

Convenient and engaging, I loved this workout. Try it and you will, too!

Four Reasons to Love Circuit Training

  1. You can do this workout anytime, anywhere. Work out in your living room or a park, alone or with amigos, after work or on your lunch break. As I explain in 2 Ways to Keep PE in Your Schedule, you are more likely to stick to a flexible fitness routine.
  2. It never gets boring. Changing moves every minute keeps your mind from wandering and focusing on your form makes the minutes fly. Up the fun factor by adding music or friends.
  3. You can adapt moves to meet your fitness goals. Increase your aerobic activity by incorporating cardio-based moves like jumping jacks or sprints, or focus on building muscle in target areas. As you built strength and endurance, add another repetition.
  4. It’s free! No equipment needed with body-weight moves.
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Superman raises strengthen the lower back. Courtesy: @NatalieGFierro

Ready to get started?

Try this circuit or build your own using some of these 20 circuit options.

Be sure to use correct form to avoid injury and take a day off between circuit workouts to give muscles time to rest and rebuild.

When you only need 20 minutes, it’s easy to make time for your health. The results–feeling and looking great–will make you glad you did.

 

A teacher by day, The Wise Latina Club’s Natalie Wagner Fierro is the co-founder of the Institute for Student Health. She equally loves food (cooking or dining in Washington’s restaurants) and burning calories by distance running, practicing yoga, and archery. Click here to read more about and connect with Natalie.

Have you tried circuit training? What’s holding you back?

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