Achieve an Overall Lean & Muscluar Look
By Tom Bonanti
The main objective of circuit training is to perform a series of weight training exercises moving from station to station in the gym with little or no rest between sets (no more than two or three seconds at the most). Typically done twice to five times a week, circuit training focuses upon working out each body part every session. Choose two exercises for each muscle group and perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps using weights that are challenging yet manageable. This type of workout is great for gaining overall strength and for building and maintaining good muscle tone. Some cardiovascular benefits can be achieved provided you complete the exercises at each station in rapid succession. A workout like this can be done within the time frame of a lunch hour or on vacation when you need a great pump, but have better things to do!
A typical session might include 3 sets of 12-15 reps of each of the following exercises:
-Flat bench dumbbell presses (to strengthen and build chest)
-Pec Deck flys (to shape and sculpt the chest)
-Resistance Ball Squats against the wall (for quads and butt)
-Triceps cable extensions
-Wide grip cable pull downs (to widen the back)
-Seated Rows (to strengthen mid and low back)
-Dumbbell Biceps curls
-Leg curls (for hamstrings)
-Dumbbell overhead presses (for shoulders)
-Walking lunges (especially good for the butt)
-Crunches (for abdominals)
Notice that each station in a sequence like this involves muscle groups far removed from each other, a practice designed to avoid undue fatigue in any given muscle. This way you can give your all to each muscle group.
Let me offer a few pointers here to make sure your circuit training sessions are effective. Place the most important exercises early on in the circuit. If your arms are your weaker body part, then do your dumbbell curls first. If your butt is a little droopy theses days, then beef it up by doing lunges first. It might also be to your advantage to train like this when you can find a time when your gym is not so busy and you can move quickly and with ease from station to station.
Circuit training is perfect for achieving and maintaining an overall lean and muscular look. Cardiovascular benefits are possible provided you move and stretch between sets instead of taking prolonged rest periods. The circuit method is great for beginners getting into the swing of weight training in a gym. It is ideal for guys who have limited time and busy schedules. Also, for vacationers, circuit training can help you get a great overall pump if you find yourself in a situation where it is hard to find.