Circuit training is very popular these days and for good reason. It’s very efficient which makes it easier to fit into a busy schedule plus it provides a variety of benefits including strength, endurance, and mental stamina.
But what if you want to focus on building muscle and strength? While circuit training can build those qualities, it usually isn’t done in a way to optimize them. Some common circuit training methods may even hold you back. Follow these 4 tips to ensure you can get all of the benefits of circuit training without compromising your strength and muscle building potential.
#1 Focus on strength exercises
A lot of circuit training involves mixing strength exercises, like pull-ups and push-ups, with cardio-style exercises like burpees or jumping rope. While it’s great to test your physical endurance, these moves can water down the effort you want to spend toward building muscle. You can also give these 3 push-up progressions a try in your next circuit workout to focus on strength over endurance.
You don’t have to eliminate exercises that make your heart race. Many moves that test your strength will test your stamina just fine, so you may not even need those other exercises. If you still want to do some cardio moves you can use them as either a warm up before your main workout or afterward as a finisher.
#2 Don’t race the clock
Building muscle and strength requires a lot of concentration and attention to technical detail. Even the smallest change in your technique and mental focus can make a big difference.
These changes are harder to manage when your mind is focused on blasting out reps in a hasty fashion. There’s a world of difference between doing 20 push-ups with the best technique you can manage and just knocking out 20 reps to get it done as fast as possible.
This is why I don’t recommend racing the clock when strength and muscle are your goals. Just plan the exercises you’re going to do and plan how many reps you’ll do at each station. When you’re done at that station move onto the next. When you’re done you’re done.
#3 Keep a consistent circuit training routine
It’s a lot easier to build muscle and strength when you follow a consistent routine. Doing random haphazard circuits may be interesting, but it keeps your muscles confused and unsure about what you want them to do.
I suggest planning a couple of different circuit and alternate between the two. This will give you a little bit of variety while establishing a consistent routine you can progress over time.
#4 Track your progress
The ability to build muscle and strength depends less on your routine and more on how you progress that workout. This is true for both circuit training and doing straight sets.
When you finish your workout, take a few moments to write down what you did and any notes you need to consider for next time. This will ensure your workouts build and progress over time which is the true key to success.