There are several methods of training which are effective and will yield results if the correct amount of effort is employed. The truth is the human body simply will not change without true effort. Progressive overload is the key to this improvement. This is a gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise. Basically, you are increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system in order to gain muscle endurance, size, or strength. This may involve manipulating the amount of weight, repetitions, sets, and rest to increase the intensity of the exercise and force your muscles to work harder than they are used to. Continue reading
In this final segment on circuit training I chose to focus on higher intensity cardio intervals. By combining cardio with resistance training, you will increase fat burning capacity during the workout and your metabolic rate after the exercise session. In other words, you will effectively burn more calories during the workout and will continue burning calories after the training has been completed.
In this type of circuit you will replace traditional rest periods with cardio exercises performed for 30 to 60 seconds. The exercises can be as simple as running in place. The idea is that you do not rest between sets of strength training but continue to move. The goal is to gradually increase the amount of time and the intensity of the cardio intervals. The increased blood flow between lifts will deliver a bigger muscle pump and potentially boost strength and endurance.
Although the cardio portion of the workout is key, strength training plays an equally important role. Resistance training will allow you to build strength, lean muscle, and burn body fat. You can use either time and resistance (example, chest press for 45 seconds) or a specific number of reps to achieve your goal.
Below is a Cardio-Resistance Circuit you can try. Perform the lifting for 45 seconds and the cardio for 30 to 45 seconds. Repeat each set for a total of 3 times. There is no rest between the sets, so adjust the time and exercises to suit your fitness level.
Set 1: Dumbbell Squats for 45 seconds followed by jogging in place for 45 seconds. Repeat this set a total of 3 times
Set 2: Incline Dumbbell Chest Press & Bench step ups. 45 seconds each for 3 sets
Set 3: Upright Rows & Bench Toe Taps. 45 seconds each. 3 sets
Set 4: Overhead Dumbbell Shoulder Press & Alternating Battling Ropes. 45 seconds each. 3 sets.
Set 5: Barbell Bicep Curls & Double Wave Battling Ropes. 45 seconds each. 3 sets.
Set 6: Tricep Dips & Ball Slams. 45 seconds each. 3 sets. The dips can also be done on a bench with the heels on the floor (see http://www.exrx.net for instructions and video)
In this workout I focused primarily on supersets and high volume reps to train biceps and triceps. I also incorporated some exercises for the upper chest. I utilize both machines and free weights to work the muscles from different angles.
Superset #1: 3 sets
- Incline dumbbell chest press: 15 reps
- Barbell bicep curls: Perform 3 drop sets of 15 reps straight through with no rest. Start with your heaviest weight and perform 15 reps. Without resting immediately pick up the next lightest weight and do 15 more reps. Finish with 15 reps using the lightest barbell.
Superset #2: 3 sets
- Seated hammer curls 15 reps
- Tricep skull crushers 15 reps
Superset #3: 3 sets
- Criss cross cable flyes 15 reps
- Push ups 10 reps (not shown)
Single arm tricep push down: 10-12 reps alternating arms (no rest)
Superset #4: 3 sets
- Bicep preacher curls: 15 reps
- Tricep push down machine: 15 reps
Superset #4: 3 sets
- Cable bicep curls using the straight bar attachment: 20 reps (last 5 reps using a slow negative count-fast up, slow down)
- Tricep extensions: 15 reps
Cardio: I finished with a 30 minute HIIT workout on the treadmill: (Adjust levels down or up as needed for your fitness level)
5 minute warm up walking on a level 4.0 to 4.5
- 1 minute jog level 6
- 1 minute run level 7 to 8
- 1 minute walk level 4.5
- Pause. Get off the treadmill and step to the side. Perform 30 jump squats and 30 jumping jacks.
Repeat the above sequence 4 more times (total of 5 times)-starting with the 1 minute jog (if needed, you can walk on the treadmill 30 seconds to 1 minute to lower the heart rate, before beginning the sequence)
5 minute cool down (walk level 4.0)