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Circuit Training Part Two

December 5, 2011 by Marc Faktor, Certified Exercise Physiologist

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Circuit Training Part Two

Last week we defined circuit training and discussed some of the great benefits that accompany this training method.  This posting will guide you through what a typical circuit could look like. How should you Circuit Train? When completing the circuit it’s usually best to select a set of exercises that in combination will stimulate most of your body’s musculature. In addition, selecting a variety of exercises for each muscle group is very important to ensure the body continually adapts to the training stimuli. Moreover, working from the largest muscle groups in the body to the smallest is generally recommended (See Figure 1).

When prepping for your circuit, go through each major muscle group and select 1-3 exercises to perform for each work-out. If you have trouble identifying multiple exercises for each muscle group call the Physical Activity Line: 8-1-1.

If you’re just starting out, your goal should be to complete one full round of the circuit with minimal rest in between.

If you’re intermediate and or advanced and have experience with strength and resistance training, your goal should be to complete the circuit a minimum of 2 times working up to 4 or 5 full rotations.

In general, 2-3 rounds of the circuit with higher repetitions is generally enough to get a great workout (P.S. New research promotes the muscle building capabilities of light weights). If we are able to do a circuit 2-3x per week we should be receiving great health benefits!

When selecting weight, you want to execute at least 15 repetitions. You want to be fatigued by the final couple repetitions to the point where you have to focus to complete the set. Feel free to alter the weight according to the above description to achieve a solid training stimulus. 

In addition, using your own body weight is totally acceptable (e.g. variety of push-ups, sit ups, pull ups,and dips require no weight and provide a great training stimulus). FYI: the use of your own body weight as a resistance is called calisthenics and is a great way to train (for more info on calisthenics please check back for a future blog post).

Remember to listen to your body, don’t push yourself over the edge, and most importantly HAVE FUN!

I hope this is of use to you and HAPPY TRAINING!

Sincerely, Marc Faktor.

~ The first wealth is health! (RW Emerson) , MOVE THOSE BODIES PEOPLE!


  • Don't forget to warm up! Light intensity aerobics utilizing all major muscle goups. This will decrease your risk for injury by ensuring your joints are lubricated, nervous system is fired up, and and muscles have adequate blood flow to ensure nutrient exchange.
  • Complete 1-5 rotations at a fast yet safe pace depending on ability.
  • Select a variety of exercises
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Comments (7)


Posted on Monday December 5, 2011 a 4:38pm

great advice


Posted on Tuesday December 6, 2011 a 8:59am

Usually I go to the gym and randomly pick things to do. But after reading this I feel I need to go to the gym with a plan! Thanks for the info.


Posted on Wednesday December 7, 2011 a 3:15pm

Being able to a pull-up requires a high degree of fitness. Many people can not do them. I work out regularly and can't do a pull-up, nor can many of the people I know, who also workout regularly. Is there not some advice you can give that would be more appropriate for the average person?

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Friday December 9, 2011 a 5:32pm

Dear Mylissa, Thank you very much for your comment. I just wanted to let you know that Pull-Ups were only listed as one example of an exercise that utilizes your own body weight. Nevertheless, I do agree with your comment ! Pull ups sure do take a lot of effort and they are not for everyone. However, there are a variety of easier exercises that mimic the pull-up and train the musculature involved. For example: if you work out regularly at a gym, I would recommend using one of the cable machines to execute a “Pull Down (or lat pull down)”. This exercise allows you to modulate (alter) the weight to a suitable level for your current strength. As you get used to the movement pattern and it becomes less effort, I would recommend increasing the weight and repetitions gradually on a weekly basis. This will assist in increasing strength and in return make it more of a reality for you to be doing some pull ups! Lat Pulldown - Wide Grip ► Grip the lat bar with your hands approximately 50 cm apart. Sit comfortably on the bench, with your thighs under the knee pads. Pull the bar straight down until it is level with the upper chest. Hold for a count of one, then return the bar to the starting position in a slow, controlled manner. - Stay put during the movement and don't rise with the bar. - Keep your back straight, abs tight, and don't lean too far back. - Don't use your momentum to pull the weight down. In addition and very importantly, I want to stress that the Physical Activity Line ( is there to support you in finding appropriate exercises specific to your current health and fitness status. Please do not hesitate to contact them by calling 1-877-725-1149. Happy Training! Sincerely, Marc Faktor

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Friday December 9, 2011 a 5:27pm

Dear Lindawwww and Rose77, Thank you very much for reading the blog and your feedback! I truly hope that it is beneficial to you and that you are able to enhance your workouts!





Posted on Sunday December 11, 2011 a 12:02am

I totally agree this is the most efficient way to get a total body workout. Not only works the muscles it works the cardiovascular system too.

cpetelski's picture

HealthyFamilies BC

Posted on Monday December 12, 2011 a 4:25pm

Dear Huey,

Thanks for reading and taking the time to share your thoughts! You obviously have circuit trained before as your 100% correct! Circuit training really is a great method to incorporate a full body workout while gaining strength as well as cardiovascular benefits!

Please feel free to keep the comments coming and let us know if there are any topics you would like us to cover in the future!


Marc Faktor.


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