Workout Wednesday

by DavalosMcCormack on December 3, 2008

For the next month or two, or even three, we are going to try something different each Wednesday. We’re going to look at a new exercise or a new way of doing some old exercises. Why? Because we can!

But mostly because sooner or later we all get stuck in a rut, doing the same thing over and over again. If we try something different it can help break up the routine, break up the monotony, and work muscles in new ways to get more out of your workout.

Circuit Training

Circuit training is one of the simplest ways to push yourself hard and get a great workout in a relatively short time, building both strength and stamina.

If you don’t have a lot of time to spare, try this routine. I guarantee you won’t feel short changed. And the beauty of it is that there are endless variations so you can change it up all the time.

Circuit training is basically a series of different exercises that you do for between 30 to 60 seconds at a time (depending on your level of fitness) with about 45 seconds break in-between each exercise to catch your breath and move to the next “station”.

The first thing to do is to make sure you warm up properly with some brisk walking or steady jogging. That gets the blood pumping around your body and your heart and lungs working harder, priming your muscles for a workout.

Once you are ready choose the “station” you want to start with. Say push-ups. Get into position and do as many push-ups as you can in one minute or whatever time you have decided is appropriate for you. The actual number isn’t as important as doing them properly, so concentrate on form not speed.
That’s it. Simple isn’t it. If you reach a point during the minute where your arms feel like lead and can’t do one more, then take a break, catch your breath, and if you have time do a few more before the minute is up.

After the minute is up move on to the next station. I find it’s a good idea to vary the muscle groups worked so after doing something that tasks the upper body I like to switch to sit-ups or core muscle work, or leg strengthening.

So try doing squats for one minute. You don’t need to do it at a machine, you can just do it without any weights. Believe me, one minute of this will make your legs work hard enough. If you are not sure how to do a squat, check this out.

After that try sit-ups or crunches. Then after a minute of that move back to arm or upper body exercises by doing shoulder press or dumb bell curls.

Because you are doing these for a full minute start out with very light weights. Trying to lift too much will quickly tire your muscles long before the minute ends. The key to circuit training is building endurance and strength, not huge bulky biceps. So you want to be able to finish the minute without stopping, or stopping as little as possible, while still working hard.

The first time you do a circuit choose, say, ten exercises, that you are going to do; a mixture of different routines that test different parts of the body. That should take about 20 minutes altogether. At the end of that you’ll feel that you got a good workout.

Chances are the next day you’ll definitely feel it. A minute may not seem very long but when you are pushing your body hard it can feel like an eternity.

Next time you do a circuit you can mix it up, adding in some extra elements, or just dropping one exercise and replacing it with another. It’s all a matter of just finding something that works for you.

If you do this at a gym the variations are endless. So you will never have to do the same circuit twice if you don’t want to. And of course you can also do this at home with a small set of hand weights. The only limitation is your imagination.

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