Circuit training can be an effective daily workout method for weight loss if you use the right amount of intensity to perform the exercises. Too much weight or resistance can fatigue you in less than 30 minutes and begin to build muscle at a rate that might require taking rest days to recover from your routines. Work faster, not harder, for daily cardio circuit workouts.
Circuit training is a method of exercise often associated with bodybuilding and muscular-endurance workouts, consisting of shorts sets of exercises performed one after the other. For muscle building, a set might consist of eight to 12 repetitions of an exercise using 60 percent or more of the maximum weight you can use. For muscular endurance workouts, you use roughly 50 percent of your maximum weight and perform reps for 30 seconds. For cardio routines, you use very little resistance.
Use only enough resistance to challenge your muscles, keeping your heart rate high and your breathing heavy but not causing extremely sore muscles after each exercise. Women might use 2- or 3-pound dumbbells, while men might use 5- to 10-pound dumbbells, depending on their muscular strength. If you perform calisthenics, do your repetitions quickly, letting momentum help you perform the reps by decreasing the amount of muscular effort you need to raise and lower yourself. Try pushups on your knees to make them easier. Eccentric dips, pull-ups and chin-ups have you hop up for your initial position, instead of raising yourself with muscular effort. You then lower yourself with your muscles. Perform your exercises at the maximum heart rate you can maintain for the length of your workout. Talk or sing every few minutes to ensure that you do not go beyond your aerobic heart rate. For better fat burning, perform exercises that require the most resistance at the start of your workout to reduce glycogen stores.
Reps and Sets
For a cardio circuit training routine, perform an exercise for 30 to 60 seconds, depending on the amount of resistance you use. For example, jogging in place or jumping jacks uses little resistance, while pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups and dips require you to raise and lower your body’s weight. Take a 15- to 30-second break after each exercise, depending on how long and how hard you performed it, then start a new exercise. Alternate arm, leg and core exercises to give your muscles more time to recover after each set.
To prevent repetitive stress, muscle fatigue and an eventual plateau in your results, vary your daily circuit-training workout. Perform a calisthenics workout using exercises that create little resistance one day, then use dumbbell or resistance-band exercises the next. Whenever you integrate resistance exercises into your workouts, intersperse difficult exercises, such as pull-ups, with easier ones, such as butt kicks.
If you use dumbbells or resistance bands, include biceps curls, triceps extensions, arm raises, heel raises, rows, kickbacks, flys, chest presses, squats, lunges and lateral raises. Calisthenics choices can include pushups, pull-ups, chin-ups, chair and bench dips, mountain climbers, burpees, situps, crunches, reverse crunches, hip raises, Russian twists and bicycle kicks.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.