This is where you start getting stronger: The benefits of circuit training

Thinking about how to train when coming back from injury?

Yesterday was my first run back since my injury. After just over two weeks I was chomping at the bit to get out and go, not least as Spring had truly sprung in London and it was the most beautiful of days.

Not wanting to push it too much and risk a relapse we combined a light 4k jog with a circuit session.

We structure our circuits as 1 minute combinations, in which we each select an exercise to be performed for a minute before changing to someone else’s choice of exercise, without rests in between.

What is great about each choosing an exercise is we all have different strengths and weaknesses so you find yourself forced to spend a minute doing burpees (thanks Anna!) or dynamic lunges (Louise) or plank variations (Sandra) but then can get your own back by make others do squats, triceps dips and press-ups.

There are lots of benefits to circuit training but the five main benefits as I see them are:

1. Maximum results, minimum time

Circuits are perfect for a lunchtime workout as you can easily fit in a really  effective session whether you have 15 minutes or 50.

2. Full body workout

By focusing different stations on different areas of the body, you are guaranteed to hit every major, and minor, muscle group.

 3. Cardio and strength training in one

Combining weight baring and aerobic exercises means that you get your heart going while also feeling the burn!

 4. Boost your metabolism

This is something everyone likes to hear. The benefits of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and heavy weight lifting combined means that you’ll burn more calories in 20 minutes than you would in an entire hour cross-training while reading a magazine. Plus, the afterburn effect means that you will continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout ends.

5. Beats gym boredom

Because circuit training is such a flexible format, the workout combinations are limitless.

You can use gym equipment – weights, kettle balls, skipping ropes, boxing gloves and pads, medicine balls – or just the things you come across in the park – trees, benches, steps. There are also plenty of exercises which don’t require any equipment at all – press-ups, crunches, lunges, high knees, star jumps, to name just a few. If we are in the gym, we also add 3 minutes of each rowing, crosstraining and running to really get our hearts up.

My ankle is holding up this morning after yesterday’s session and it’s another beautiful day, so I’m looking forward to getting out again today at lunch! So pleased to be back in my Vibrams!

Happy training.

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