Strength in Numbers

Strength in NumbersQ: I heard several people in the gym talking about circuit training. What exactly is this method of training and do I need to belong to a gym that is specifically set up to circuit train?

A: Circuit training has become increasingly popular in recent years. The circuit training method utilizes a group of strength exercises that are completed one exercise after another. A circuit training workout consists of going directly from one exercise working one muscle group to another exercise that works a different muscle group and so on.

Circuit training workouts are ideal for trained athletes, those who are just beginning as well as those who are under time constraints. The benefits of circuit training are that it involves all the major muscle gStrength in Numbersroups in the legs, arms and chest. The idea is to involve as much muscle as you can in the least amount of time as possible. For the best results, select a weight in which your body is able to perform 12 to 20 repetitions of each exercise. You should use 4 to 7 main exercises in your workout. For optimal results spend anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute on each exercise with a 15 to 30 second rest period between each exercise. You should complete 3 to 5 sets with a 2 minute recovery period between sets. Once you complete all exercises, this is considered one circuit. The number of circuits you complete is relative to your fitness level and particular goals.

Circuit training reduces inches as well as body weight. In addition it builds muscle tone, increases strength and stamina and also improves mobility. During the recovery stages, your body will replenish the energy from which your muscles depend by tapping into your fat reserves. Circuit training, combined with a controlled diet, can aid in weight loss and improve your fat to muscle ratio.

Strength in NumbersThis method of training can be done at home or in the gym using a variety of exercise machines, hand-held weights, elastic resistance and calisthenics. Using a wide range of exercises will eliminate boredom and maintain enthusiasm. A circuit-training program is a versatile regimen providing variety and calorie burning in a short period of time.

Billy Katz and Hudson Ellis are the co-owners of Simply Fit gyms, located throughout the New Orleans area. Please email your health and fitness questions to

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