True circuit training is demanding. It is difficult. It's why many eschew it for easier forms of exercise. If you want to truly reap the benefits of it you'll find a way to do it because circuit training has such an upside:
 
  • Improved cardiovascular conditioning
  • Increased muscular strength
  • Maximized calorie burning
  • Improved mobility and flexibility
  • Enhanced muscular endurance
  • Assists in fat loss

 

 

How to Do the Incremental Circuit Workout

What follows is the incremental circuit workout. It's one of many ways to circuit train. Why am I promoting it? It's simple to understand, easy to implement, and it will work if you work. 
 
It's performed three non-consecutive days per week (i.e., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) over an eight-week period. Various work-rest protocols are implemented each workout using a variety of exercises that fit five different categories.
 

Work-Rest Protocols

  • Week 1 - :30 work time followed by :30 recovery time. Five rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 25 minutes.
  • Week 2 - :30 work time followed by :20 recovery time. Six rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 25 minutes.
  • Week 3 - :45 work time followed by :30 recovery time. Five rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 32 minutes.
  • Week 4 - :45 work time followed by :20 recovery time. Six rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 33 minutes.
  • Week 5 - 1:00 work time followed by :30 recovery time. Five rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 38 minutes.
  • Week 6 - :45 work time followed by :20 recovery time. Eight rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 44 minutes.
  • Week 7 - 1:00 work time followed by :20 recovery time. Six rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 40 minutes.
  • Week 8 - :45 work time followed by :15 recovery time. Nine rounds of the five exercises. Total workout time is 45 minutes.
 
 

The Five Exercise Categories

  • Multi-joint lower-body: The barbell or dumbbell squat, barbell or dumbbell lunge, leg press machine, and others that emphasize simultaneous hip and knee extension.
  • Upper body push: The decline, flat, incline, and overhead press performed with barbells, dumbbells, and machines.
  • Upper body pull: The upright row, low/bent-over row, wide and close grip pulldowns, and wide or close grip chin ups. Again, barbells, dumbbells, and machines.
  • Total body: Burpees, mountain climbers, bear crawls, jumping jacks, medicine ball squat-to-press. Anything that entails the use of the upper and lower body together.
  • Run or device movement: Shuttle runs, sprints, agility drills, and exercise machine work (stair climber, stationary cycle, treadmill).
 
 
The key to obtaining results from the incremental circuit is to go all-out on each exercise, use challenging resistances where applicable, and adhere to the prescribed work-rest times.
 
Best wishes. If you give this a go, let us know how it went in the comments below.
 
Photos courtesy of CrossFit LA.
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