I’ve been using circuit training for years since my time in the Marines and just about every program I write includes some variation of a circuit.
Most of the time, the circuits we used were compound lifts paired with sprints or longer runs. It was fun, challenging, and produced results.
Check out one of the circuits we did in the Marines.
Instead of feeding you with another workout I wanted to show you how to create your own workout in a circuit format and share my training philosophy when I design circuits.
A Killer Workout Broken Down
While I love a good combination of training methods, one of my favorite types of training tools to use is density training.
What is density training?
There are a lot of definitions on the internet, but I like to think of density training as a way to do more work in a shorter amount of time. When you force yourself to do more work in a shorter time, you will get stronger, improve your conditioning, and burn more calories.
Basically, density training is one of your biggest bangs for the buck when it comes down to training and producing results.
How can you train for density?
1) Work for a Static Time Frame
For this type of program to work, you must select exercises that are not going to compete with each other. Once you have your exercises selected you are going to perform each exercise for a certain amount of time and complete as many reps as you can.
Ultimately you can select any amount of time for each exercise, but what I have found to be most effective is that the more difficult the lift; i.e. major movement like deadlifts and squats the lower the time you will want to perform that exercise.
Below you will notice a series of barbell lifts. Each exercise is a different body part which prevents competing muscles from working against each other. Since these tend to be a bit more challenging you will want to perform each lift for no more than 30 seconds if you are just starting out in order to get quality work in.
It is important to note that lighter is usually better during density training to prevent muscle failure and never sacrifice form for more work.
Your first set should be a warm-up set to get a feel for what the workout will be like. As you progress through the rounds, you can choose to increase the weight for maximum strength. Another way to work this type of method is to keep the weight constant but try to beat your reps each round.
Either way, the end result will still be the same, increased work capacity.
Try the following for 30 seconds of work and rest for as long as it takes to transition between exercises and repeat for 3-5 rounds.
LowerBody Hip Dominant: Barbell Deadlift
Lower Body Horizontal Pull: Barbell Bentover Row
Upper Body Vertical Push: Barbell OVH Press
Don’t have a barbell? No problem because you can also create a workout with your body. All you would have to do is pick a series of 3-5 exercises utilizing the same format and crush as many reps as you can.
2) Keep Time Frame The Same, But Increase Workload
Let’s say you put 10 minutes on the clock and have a series of exercises with assigned reps. You will want to work through the exercises with minimal rest and try to get as many sets as possible. Keep track of your number of sets and the next time you go to complete this series, try to beat your sets.
This will force you to increase training speed and decrease rest periods which in turn will increase your work capacity.
Rules To Create Your Own Workout
Now that we’ve covered the different methods I like to use, let’s talk about how to put together your own circuit.
Here are some basic rules for creating your own circuit.
- Each circuit should have 3 to 5 exercises. No more, no less.
- Depending on the time frame you need, you should have a combination 2-4 circuits for a total of 4-8 performed circuits.
- Your circuit should include the following movements : Bilateral hip/quad movement ( squats, deadlifts), upper push, upper pull, unilateral quad/hip movement( lunges), and core.
Be careful when choosing your time for selecting exercises. The more difficult the lift the shorter the time frame you will want to go as a there is a larger room for error and sacrificing quality for quantity is never a good thing.
Putting it all together
As you can see, there are a few different methods you can use whole designing a circuit, but if you stick to these rules and follow the format below, you will be designing your own killer workouts in no time.Keep in mind that one of the most important parts of a killer workout is the exercise selection and the time frame you select. I have found this format one of the most successful set-ups to use and provided an example to get you started right away.
If you found this information useful, make sure to download my 7-Day Fitness Extreme Fitness Blueprint.
Also, I’d love to hear your thought so drop a comment below.