Circuit Training - 2020
As a young marine, I quickly learned that circuit training is the best way to get fit and strong. The British commandos use circuit training all the way through their commando training course. They purposely raise the recruits fitness level getting them into peak condition, over nine months, so they can tackle the gruelling commando course.
Anyone can do circuits almost anywhere. In your home, a hotel room, parks, the beach, or the desert, the snow, in the rain and anywhere, and under any conditions.
When we were on a ship going across the North Sea on route to Norway, we would do circuits on the helipad on the ship. Believe me, it was freezing when we started, but after a few minutes of getting into the circuit, that cold was our saviour in keeping us cool. The intensity that the Commando’s train is something quite unique and I have not trained with many groups of people who push that hard all the time.
One of the best things about circuit training is that you don’t need any equipment. You can invent loads of your own circuits and never even need a weight. However, having some equipment can make the circuits even more challenging. For example, a simple medicine ball can bring some genuine fun (pain) into a circuit.
As a trainer, I have done circuits with my personal training clients, and with the Microsoft team in Australia with over 400 people. That was fun :-)
You can work on your own, or in pairs, or with three or four in a group. You can be so imaginative with circuits that you could do circuits every day and never get bored with your routines.
Whilst on the ships we would have one lad would take the circuit each day. This way, there was never one circuit like the day before and even though some of the exercises were the same, they we did them in an adaptation (little change) which made the intensity either rise or drop. I cannot praise the use of circuits in your training enough. They are awesome!
When we were training the like of Jarrod Fletcher and Todd Kid in the earlier part of their career, they did circuits mid morning, after a few hours rest from their run. Sometimes we would be in the gym, and others on a small steep hill. Our mission was to strengthen their muscles and push their cardio as far as we could. All done under the close observation of the team, I must add. Safety first, always.
Boxing training is an amazing way to get and remain fit, and to ensure that you are the fittest you can be, you have to dedicate to training. To avoid hitting a plateau in your training, you need to be changing the program from time to time. Skipping and punching the bag will be hard in the beginning, but after a while, your fitness will improve and it become easier, or at least you will find your pace to workout that is comfortable for you. When this happens, it is time to mix it up and change the intensity of your training. Also, you need to vary your training routines, and circuits are perfect for that.
Circuit training will ensure that you are improving strength, endurance and stamina.
There are three typical Circuit Training Programs.
Cardiovascular Training Circuits
Strength (Resistance) Training Circuits
Mixed Circuits (CV + Strength)
All three have definite advantages. In boxing training, I prefer to use the third option and incorporate both strength and cardio training into our circuits. This way you can push your heart and lungs and also get a great full-body workout.
You may want to only focus on lower body one day, and then the next circuit will focus on the upper body and then the next one could be a full body or and AB and back circuit.
You can perform circuits in a few distinct ways, all depending on your preference and level of fitness.
Timed Circuit (you are at a station for a set amount of time).
Repetition Circuit (you work to a certain amount of repetitions)
A usual circuit will have a group of exercises (six to 10 or more), where you complete one exercise after the other. There should be only a brief rest period between each exercise (enough to move to the next exercise). The lengthy rest period will be at the end of the circuit and should be between one or two minutes depending on your level of fitness.
I think two minutes is a long time when working out, but it will give you enough time to fully recover, no matter what level of fitness are. Once your fitness levels improve, you can shorten the rest period to 45 and then 30 seconds.
The total number of circuits performed during a training session may vary from two to six depending on your training level (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), your period of training and your training aim.
Have a look at the circuits I have prepared for you and although I have only given you some examples I have included loads of exercises and guidelines for you to create your own.