So, you’re stuck at home, and the biggest open space you have right now is your back garden, or maybe even just a balcony. Impossible to train? Think again.
No, we’re not expecting everyone to do 6,000 laps of a 7 metre balcony , nor do you need all the latest and greatest in home gym equipment and training gear.
A member of our team, Megan, who is a qualified Personal Trainer, with 8 years experience coaching athletes of all ages and ability levels, has put together this quick and simple guide to home circuit training. So, whatever you sport and whatever space you have; you can stay safe and stay in shape this spring.
Circuit training is a form of conditioning which generally incorporates resistance training with high intensity aerobic exercises. The aim of circuit training is to work on strength building and muscular endurance. First developed at the University of Leeds in the 1950s; studies by the Cooper Institute have shown that Circuit training is one of the most time efficient ways to enhance cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance.
It is important to note that many exercises utilise another body area as well as having a primary target area. For example press- ups are an upper body workout that utilise the core for body position and stability.
REMEMBER: You don’t need loads of fancy kit to pull off a great circuit. A good rule of thumb is; 1 litre of water weighs 1 kg, so you can use various water bottles to act as various weights. Sand is even heavier coming in at 1.5 kilo p/l! Garden benches or low walls can make wonderful steppers/ tricep dip posts and any number of exercises can be performed utilising just a single step!
There are several ways to complete circuit training workouts, here’s a few suggestions;
This form of circuits consists of moving ‘around’ a single circuit from one exercise to the next. Each circuit may consist of various upper body, lower body, and total body or core exercises. The exercises are completed for short periods (i.e 1 minute), consecutively, with a very short break (i.e 15 seconds) in between each exercise.
These exercises can be grouped to maximise the impact on each area of the body as you work it (for example 3 upper body exercises, followed by 3 lower body, followed by 3 total body), or they can be mixed up a bit so that one area of the body can recover while another is working. When one complete ‘circuit’ of exercises is completed, you move on to the next ‘circuit’. (For beginners it can be a good idea to take a slightly longer break between each complete circuit, for example a 1-2 minute rest).
HUB AND SPOKE CIRCUITS
In this model one exercise becomes the focus, or hub, of the workout, and a handful of other exercises, focusing on other areas become the spokes. In weightlifting this can be used to focus on a weakness or a lift that is lagging behind (which becomes the hub), with other lifts being used as spokes. For a circuit however, this model can be great if you have limited space, as you can use a core cardio move as the hub and incorporate spoke resistance moves (that tend to require less space) around it to get a great all over body workout. For Example – stepper – sit ups – stepper – push ups – stepper -squats – stepper- shoulder press- stepper – plank- stepper – lunges.
A favourite of crossfitters the world over; A.M.R.A.P (or amrap) stands for as many rounds/reps as possible. An A.M.R.A.P circuit is a great way to maximise effort an output in a small window of time, and can also be a great option of people with very limited space.
How to create A.M.R.A.P Circuits.
Select a small number of high intensity exercises, and arrange them into a specific order, with a set number of reps for each exercise. For example, 15 kettlebell swings, 10 kettlebell squats, and 5 burpees. You perform as many rounds of this set order of exercises as possible in a set time, with a set period of rest between each circuit. So, for example, as many rounds as possible in 6 minutes with a 60 second rest.
Whilst trying to work quickly, it is vital that you remain mindful of the functionality and form of each exercise, to avoid injury and of course to maximise performance and results.
At the end of each rest, after completing a mini circuit, you can either repeat the same sequence of exercises, trying to ‘beat’ the number of reps/rounds you completed last time, or you can put another sequence of moves together and create a new A.M.R.A.P circuit, for example 15 squat jumps, weighted sit- ups, 5 press- ups. 3 – 5 A.M.R.A.P circuits per session should be more than enough to see an improvement in your strength, and cardiovascular endurance, fairly quickly.