6 Benefits and Advantages of Circuit Training

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 11, 2024
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Circuit training classes have possibly seen the highest demand increase in recent years, perhaps led by the popularity of CrossFit, which also works on the idea of the variety of stations.

Many of my clients are often uncertain whether this type of workout style would be a good way to achieve their health and fitness goals.

So, we decided to put together this list of the main benefits of circuit training, so you can better determine if it’s a suitable exercise for you.

Quick Summary

  • The benefits of circuit training include boosting your metabolic rate into fat burning, it's a full body workout, and it's a combination of of cardio and strength interval training.
  • Circuit training allows you to get the best out of your workout from the limited time.
  • A study by the National Institutes of Health found that circuit weight training sessions, typically lasting 25-30 minutes, can achieve the same results as longer aerobic exercise programs.
  • From my perspective, circuit training's variety and intensity make it an engaging and effective workout choice, suitable for those seeking both fun and fitness benefits.

Main Benefits Of Circuit Training Workouts

Based on our own experience with clients, we’ve come up with these six benefits of doing circuit training workouts.

1. Provides Best Use Of Limited Time

It saves more time

According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), one of the main benefits of circuit training is that it provides individuals with a time-effective exercise program [1].

Per insights from a study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), circuit weight training sessions typically only take 25-30 minutes and can achieve the same results as other aerobic exercise programs which require 15-25% more time [2].

You no longer need multiple trips to the gym over a week to cover all muscle groups.

Instead, you have a mix of squats, jumping jacks, push-ups, lunges, lifting weights (kettlebells, dumbbells, etc.), and many more exercise variations in each session.

And you decide how many circuits you complete in a series of sets based on the amount of time you have available.

2. Boost Your Metabolic Rate Into Fat Burning

For Fast Metabolism

Per a 2018 study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), circuit training does indeed boost your metabolic rate, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy weight and preventing obesity. Participating in regular circuit training has been shown to be effective in improving metabolic syndrome risk factors, specifically waist circumference and triglyceride levels, in obese individuals [3].

I’ve had clients who struggled with love handles despite a good exercise and fitness regime, and within a few months of regularly doing circuit training stations, they saw some drastic changes in their physique.

It’s the way your body reacts to a constant variance in an exercise that seems to be the recipe for working your muscles and achieving a positive result on the scales.

“Here’s something we can all agree on: Intensity is paramount. As intensity rises, more calories get burned. That’s why high-intensity interval workouts are a great choice for getting shredded while maintaining (or even gaining) muscle.”

- Jenn Sinrich, Writer at menshealth.com

3. Works Your Entire Body

It benefits your entire body

When you plan each circuit for a workout or join a class where the circuits are already set up, then you should end up in a situation where every muscle group in your body is targeted.

The challenge is to have the endurance to go from one part of the circuit to the next without holding up other participants.

That forces you to pick the right number of repetitions and go through every single body part at a different pace.

With very little rest, you’ll also make it a great cardio exercise program, improving full-body fitness and endurance.

“Here’s something we can all agree on: Intensity is paramount. As intensity rises, more calories get burned. That’s why high-intensity interval workouts are a great choice for getting shredded while maintaining (or even gaining) muscle.”

- Jenn Sinrich, Writer at MensHealth.com.

Read More: Best at Home Full Body Band Bodyweight Circuit Workout

4. Helps You Avoid Getting Bored

Having fun while exercising

Some people love it, others get bored quickly, but in general, you should find that circuit training exercises are a bit more fun than standard weight training.

You’ll still use a lot of regular gym equipment, but the random combination of squats, jump rope, planks, push-ups, cardio, and even powerlifting give the circuits a lot more spice.

The variety of these power exercises gains the best effectiveness.

I personally find that those clients that have a lot more fun during their workouts stick with it for the long-term.

Undoubtedly, the endorphins release boost their mood and energy and impact the efficiency and progress.

5. Combines Cardio And Strength Interval Training

Both cardio and strength are enhanced

A lot of people think that circuit training is just about getting your heart rate up by having a different cardio exercise at each station.

While you certainly can set up circuits to do that, it’s a lot more common to include some resistance training(trx) to work with free weights or resistance bands.

I’ve done some circuit workouts with high weight loads and very low reps to get some serious muscle definition going.

It’s not a one size fits all approach, and the more movements you include in the workout, the better the training benefit will be.

6. Takes Advantage Of Lots Of Training Tools

Making full use of the training tools

Every circuit routine will make use of any tool and equipment available on-site.

The great thing is that you can even set yourself up in any place, even in small areas like your living room, garage, or hotel room - almost anywhere.

A yoga mat and some exercise bands are all the equipment you need to get to work, with nothing more than your own effort standing in the way of getting to your goal.

And if you do head to the gym, then make the most of the space and equipment or let some trainer do the planning for a group session.

Are There Any Disadvantages To Circuit Training?

Disadvantages of circuit training

With all the benefits of circuit training, I have to mention something that I tell my friends and clients.

If you’re planning your own circuit training at the gym, please be aware of the space and other people’s needs.

You can quickly get caught up in the concentration of the workout and forget that you need to share equipment and machines.

It’s still possible, but you might need to keep in mind that you’ll have longer rest times that will lower your heart rate and have an impact on your overall performance.

For most folks, it’s the one reason they will get better results from joining classes where there is dedicated space and rotating each station works on a strict schedule with a certain amount of rest.

FAQs

Can You Lose Weight With Circuit Training?

Yes, you can lose body weight with a circuit training workout. It’s one of the best ways to target muscle growth and cardio workout exercises at the same time to work towards a leaner shape.

How Many Times a Week Should You Do Circuit Training?

You should do circuit training about two to three times a week. It does depend on how many circuits you complete and how intense the workout exercises are. For muscular endurance and to avoid constant soreness in muscles on rest days, I would not recommend doing less than two sessions.


References:

  1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6124146/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27462744/
  3. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6165991/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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