What Is Circuit Training & How To Do It.

This method of training can be very time efficient and effective when incorporated properly into your fitness regimen. It’s a method of conditioning and resistance training using high-intensity that targets muscular endurance, strength building, as well as weight loss.

What is it?

1 circuit = Completion of about 6-10 exercises performed together in a row with minimal rest between each

What exercises does it consist of?

Usually a blend of weight-training exercises with bodyweight cardiovascular exercises targeting the full body

How long should rest periods be and what is the timing/intensity of each exercise?

This all varies depending on your program design. There is no right or wrong here. Just be consistent within each program and change it up every time. You can either do timed exercises or a set number of reps.

Example time breakdown:

1-minute high-intensity work + 20 seconds rest, next exercise 1minute high intensity + 20 seconds rest, etc. OR 25 reps each exercise at high intensity.

Rest periods:

Depend on your training goals and level of conditioning. Optimal rest periods between sets can vary from 30 seconds or less up to 5 minutes! Just remain consistent with every exercise and every circuit completion; rest periods depend on the prescribed program or how you decided to design your own program.

Because of its intensity, it’s not recommended to do circuit strength training every day.

Here’s an example of a great bodyweight circuit you can try right at home, no equipment necessary! 

5-4-3-2-1: 20 minutes total, perform each circuit for the designed amount of time and rest 1 minute between each circuit; repeat as many times as desired

5 minutes

  • 1-minute jumping jacks
  • 1-minute high knees
  • 1-minute butt kicks
  • 1-minute jump rope
  • 1-minute jumping jacks

4 minutes

  • 1-minute lunges or walking lunges
  • 1-minute mountain climbers
  • repeat

3 minutes

  • 10 pushups
  • 10 triceps dips
  • 10 shoulder taps
  • repeat for 3 minutes

2 minutes

  • 30 seconds bodyweight squats
  • 30 seconds jump squats
  • 30 seconds curtsy lunges
  • 30 seconds side lunges

1 minute

  • Plank hold


Article Written By Dani Capanna, MS, DTR, CDM