The benefits of circuit training for fitness clients include workout engagement, time efficiency, and great results. This style of training involves completing one exercise right after another (5 to 10 exercises) with little rest in between. The exercise variety helps prevent client boredom. And, by switching from one exercise to the next (especially when alternating upper and lower body) the muscle groups don’t fatigue as quickly. So it works great for fitness goals of all types. One circuit can be the entire workout or you can have multiple, smaller circuits as seen with interval training.

These are just a few of the circuit training benefits, there’s more! And we’ll cover how to set up a circuit workout, fitness tips and considerations, and the ‘how tos’ when working with clients.

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Benefits of Circuit Training 

Circuit training isn’t just a way to provide variety for clients. This style of training can also help them lose body fat, increase lean body mass, improve cardiovascular fitness, and improve strength. The best part of circuit training is clients will be getting workouts done faster—and having more fun. Here are a few key ways your clients will benefit from circuit training.

Improve Muscular Endurance

Standard weight lifting builds muscular strength, but circuit training is a great way to improve muscular endurance and aerobic capacity as well. A study of 96 college students found that high intensity circuit training can improve muscular endurance as well as aerobic fitness, thanks to the fast-moving format paired with strength exercises. The study found this to be most true for moderately fit populations—so a personal trainer shouldn’t ignore this style of training for advanced clients.

Keep Workouts Quick and Efficient

Keeping a moderate to intense pace can help your clients quickly complete their workouts without losing any fitness benefits. With circuit training, clients can get a significant fat burning workout done in just 20 minutes—perfect for days when they’re crunched for time. 

Even better, clients can work their entire body if you build a full-body circuit, reaching all the important areas without wasting any time. Finally, clients will experience the after-burn of an intense workout, ensuring the benefits last well beyond your session.

Improve Strength

  • Though strength training is the gold standard for strength gains, circuit training using resistance can help to improve clients’ maximum oxygen uptake and one rep max. To increase your clients’ strength results, consider following the protocol a 2017 study found to be most effective:

    • Plan to have 14 to 30 sessions for about 6 to 12 weeks. 
    • Each session should last at least 20 to 30 minutes at intensities between that range from 60 to 90 percent one-repetition maximum.

Increase Weight Loss and Functional Strength

Circuit training helps clients burn fat and calories, improving overall weight loss for overweight individuals. Circuit training can be a valuable fat-burning tool because the format of this training style ensures that the client always keeps moving.

In addition to body composition changes, circuit training can also help overweight women build functional strength and improve overall quality of life. Another 2017 study found that both HIIT-based circuit training and low- and high-intensity combined circuit training lead to improvements in body composition, functional strength, and certain areas of quality of life in overweight women. 

Note, however, that the “perception of pain” was higher in HIIT-based circuit training, and therefore overall motivation was lower. Combined circuit training (low and high intensity) may be a better choice for clients who struggle at higher-intensity levels.

Make Workouts Fun

Ultimately, circuit training keeps your client moving and mentally stimulated so they aren’t bored. The lack of rest time doesn’t leave them time to get distracted with life outside the workout. Plus if you change it up with different types of exercises for each circuit, they won't find their workouts mundane either. With just the right amount of challenge and fun, it may be an ideal training style to switch things up when clients need a little boost.

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How to Set Up a Circuit Training Session 

With circuit training, the client does one exercise set (or station) before moving onto the next. After one set of each exercise is finished, the client has completed one entire circuit. When building a circuit training session for your clients, keep a few details in mind:

  • Include 5 to 10 exercises in each circuit to avoid overwhelming clients while giving them variety. 
  • Each exercise will have either a set amount of reps or time goal to be completed. This format provides you with another way to provide variety. For example, you may have one 5-exercise circuit be rep-based, with the next one being time-based.
  • Build your circuits around clients goals and needs. You might pair an upper body circuit with a workout focused on lower-body strength lifts or create a full-body circuit training session to keep the workout fast-paced while reaching each area.

Training Factors to Consider

While circuit training is a valuable tool, it shouldn’t be your primary focus. Unless following a strict protocol, like the one suggested above in the 2017 study, If it replaces strength training, you may see that your clients start experiencing diminishing returns. Instead, add circuit training into one session each week or training cycle, or when your client is crunched for time. 

It’s also important to keep a close eye on form during circuit training. Because clients reach the point of fatigue faster you may notice they lose form more often than usual. Keep form as a major focus, even as they tire, to avoid injury. 

Lastly, be sure to plan your circuits ahead of time so you can collect and set up all the equipment needed to provide a great workout. While circuit workouts can be done with bodyweight only, clients may see the best results when strength and resistance training are core tenets of the workout. 

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Use Circuit Training With Your Clients

Your client will never be bored again with the help of a few circuit training sessions sprinkled in throughout their training program. Better yet, a well planned circuit training session can deliver the results your client wants without long training sessions, keeping clients motivated and happy with their results.

When you get a degree in exercise science from Lionel University, you learn how to design any type of fitness program. Further, the doors to fitness job opportunities are wide open. Regardless of whether you’re pursuing an associates degree, bachelor’s degree, or master’s degree, specialists in exercise science are in demand.

As you go through your degree program at Lionel, you’ll also earn your personal training certification and Master Trainer certificate in the first few months. This means you can start working as a personal trainer while you finish your program! And, with the help of financial aid, earning your exercise science degree is even more of a possibility. 

Check out our programs and contact Lionel today!