Cardiorespiratory training is traditionally thought of in terms of running, biking, and aerobics but the truth is the cardiorespiratory system is at work every moment of your life. When seeking cardiorespiratory enhancements through exercise it is in your best interest to spend less time running on the treadmill and more time performing circuit training.
What Is Circuit Training?
In case you did not know, circuit training consists of a series of exercises performed one after another using weights with little or no rest in between sets. A sample circuit training workout would be:
- Exercise 1: Ball dumbbell chest press
- Exercise 2: Standing cable row
- Exercise 3: Standing overhead dumbbell press
- Exercise 4: standing dumbbell curl
- Exercise 5: Ball dumbbell triceps extension
- Exercise 6: Ball lunge
- Exercise 7: Brief rest
Advantages of Circuit Training to Traditional Cardiorespiratory Methods Such as Running and Biking
There are many advantages of circuit training.
- Circuit training better enables cardiorespiratory enhancements because it involves every major muscle group: During this process the heart must work increasingly harder to deliver blood to all major muscle groups, thus increasing your hearts stroke volume. Consider one heart beat as one minute of work and the amount of blood pushed through the circulatory system per beat represents the amount of work completed in that minute. If the heart can carry more blood with each beat (stroke volume) it is performing more work in the same amount of time, thus burning more calories. If you were to simply run or ride a bike the heart would direct most of its focus on delivering blood to the legs which would limit its ability to become more efficient.
- Circuit training produces greater levels of EPOC and strength: EPOC is short for excess post oxygen consumption which is the elevation of the body’s metabolism after exercise. Post-running or bike riding your EPOC is elevated for 30-60 minutes; however after a bout of circuit training your EPOC is elevated for as long as 72 hours. This means for 72 hours after your exercise is complete your body will burn more calories than it would had you choose to run or ride a bike. This is also known as “afterburn”.
The Afterburn From Circuit Training is 72x to 144x Greater!
The caloric expenditure during the time spent exercising is estimated to be identical for both traditional cardiorespiratory methods and circuit training, but it’s the EPOC or “Afterburn” where the real advantage of circuit training becomes evident.
Granted traditional methods such as running and bike riding seem rather insignificant at the moment, it is not. Among those who are very committed to exercise, overtraining tends to be a barrier that leads to a plateau. If you were to perform circuit training every day your body would soon resist by presenting feelings such as fatigue and weakness. This is your body saying “look we need a moment to recover” but this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise. A brisk walk or a casual bike ride will do the trick. The truth is you should never have a day of complete rest, because an important part of recovery involves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients which is carried out by the circulatory system (blood). Low intensity exercise will increase blood flow but not by so much that it stresses your systems.
Mike Bluestone is a personal trainer at the St. Louis Weight Loss Club. I hope you find this article on the advantages of circuit training workout to be beneficial and do not hesitate to contact me with questions via my website or by using the comment section in this post. I will be sure to follow up.