Getting in shape is a major concern for most men who are about to get married. As the wedding day approaches, you will have less time to spend on your exercise regime and less time to get down to the gym. Circuits are a great alternative to the multitude of training systems out there and will help you to achieve your goals, be this weight loss or body fat reduction.
Circuit training is simply defined as a series of physical, resistance-based and aerobic activities, separated by a short defined time period to complete each section. Equipment may be used for selected exercises to complement the exercise or to increase the resistance.
- Circuits are an effective way to shape up, increase fitness and generally get through sessions quickly and conveniently.
- Exercises are simple to complete and easy to learn.
- You do not need to go to the gym to do simple circuits – these can be achieved at home or at the park.
The key to a successful circuit program is to plan beforehand. Choose the body areas you want to work on and then decide the most appropriate exercises for them.
Tips to plan your program
- Choose no more than four to five stations (exercises) for a simple circuit. This will make your program easy to achieve whilst providing you enough of a challenge.
- Plan out a 45min circuit with eight to ten repetitions being adequate for a beginner. Continue to add more reps as your endurance increases. As an example, try adding three reps per station each week.
- Keep yourself moving in between exercises. Create a square or a distance between each station (ten yards is adequate), then shuttle between them at a jogging pace upon completion of each exercise.
- Vary your circuits by using different exercises. This will keep you motivated and shake up your program.
- Find a partner to train with. Completing circuits with a partner will help you with those last couple of reps and is great for motivation.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids throughout the session. We recommend drinking around 1litre of water as circuits are intended to make you break a sweat!
If you feel dizzy at any point – STOP. Listen to your body and take a moment to regain your breath.
Remember to add a warm up and cool down into every session you do. Warming up should aim to raise your heart-rate through activities such as a five to ten minute brisk walk leading into a gentle jog, or some low-impact cycling. Follow this with a round of simple upper and lower body stretches.
Below are our recommendations for simple, effective circuits that cover the main body areas:
Upper body – We recommend doing pull ups, dips (using a bench), medicine ball chest press passes (with a partner) and incline press ups. These will work the triceps, biceps, deltoids, latissimus dorsi and the pectorals.
Core – The simplest exercises are the best, but they must be done correctly. Crunches will work the upper abdominal muscles. Leg raises are recommended for the lower section of the abdominals – you can also do this with straight legs to present more of a challenge.
Lower body – Muscles to be worked here include the quadriceps and hamstrings (thighs), as well as the calves and soleus (lower leg). Simple exercises like squats, step ups, running and hop shuttles (from one point to another at speed) will work the body right.
There are also exercises that can cover several body areas rather than specifically isolated areas. These can save time and challenge those who become more skilled circuit trainers. Burpees, skipping and squat-thrusts all work lower and upper body areas, but also demand good posture and endurance to complete each repetition competently.
If you are stuck for ideas most gyms now offer in-house circuit classes. Look out for buzz terms such as ‘body pump’ and ‘blasting’ sessions. Equipment including treadmills, benches and barbells are available and can be used if you feel you need new ideas or challenges.
Before starting any new exercise programme, please consult your GP or a qualified personal physical activity trainer. If you experience any discomfort, stop exercising immediately. Entouraaj does not accept responsibility for any injuries that may occur when using or following use of this advice.