Machine Circuit Training

strength gain, weight-loss AND cardio

Machine Circuit Training

Circuit training is a proven method of strength training that increases cardio fitness as it “tones”. A properly designed circuit will increase your lean muscle mass, speed up your metabolism and enhance your aerobic capacity- all in a few workouts per week.

There are advantages to machine circuit training. The main benefit may be convenience. Many health clubs and gyms have circuits already set-up. If you are doing some form of cardio during the same workout, it might get you out of the gym a few minutes quicker (In general, if you are doing cardio and strength training during the same workout, do the more intense activity first). Also, if you're recovering from some kind of injury, machines may be better suited to gently getting back into strength training.

Machine circuit training is not without its shortcomings. This is why many people use free-weights (dumbbells and barbells). In this case you must maintain the proper form, something that machines do for you. Because of this, free-weight circuit training activates more muscle groups and also engages the core muscles.

Even if you choose to use machine, you will still get all of the benefits associated with circuit training.

Circuit training boosts your metabolism . Because of this, circuit training makes sense for weight loss. It increases metabolism in two ways. Circuit training enhances your aerobic capacity, and a higher cardio capacity equals more calories burned, even at rest. Of course, circuit training also builds muscle. More muscle means fewer calories are stored as fat.

Circuit training has a total conditioning effect on the body, as it challenges the cardiovascular system. Muscle groups are constantly alternated- the aerobic system must work overtime pumping blood to different regions of the body.

During circuit training, keep moving without maxing-out on any one exercise. Find a weight you can perform at least 15 repetitions of. During the last 3-5 reps, you should feel a significant “burn”. Rather than counting reps, you can also go by time. To do this, simply find a weight that you can handle for 30 seconds at each station.

After a few weeks of circuit training with machines, I recommend mixing in another form of strength training . Do this at least once per week. A good addition would be free weights. In this case, perform the same exercise 2-times in a row before proceeding to a new station. This will encourage continuous and ongoing results!

Possible Machine Circuit Training Routines

Both of the following circuits use all of the major muscle groups:

Leg Press
Bench Press
Incline Sit-Ups
Lateral Raises
Leg Curls
Lat Pull-Downs
Seated Bench Press

Leg Extension
Seated Row
Leg Curl
Incline Chest Press
Abductor Extension
Abdominal Machine
Shoulder Press

Machine Circuit Training: Guidelines

• If you’re new to strength training, start with light weights and build up the resistance over a few weeks. Otherwise, you’ll likely develop some serious soreness.

• You should aim to perform machine circuit training 2 to 3 times per week.

• The goal of circuit training is to avoid lengthy rest periods. Accordingly:

• Find a weight for each exercise that you can lift no more than 18 times. Try to do this resistance at least 15 times each set.

• The rest interval should be brief, between 30 to 60 seconds.

• Do 2 to 3 full circuits of 6 to 10 stations.

• Take 2 to 3 minutes between each round.

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