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Circuit Training For Weight Loss: 7 Exercises To Try

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<article> <section> <p>The workout term <i>circuit training</i> may sound a little overwhelming. You may be thinking: <i>are we going to re-wire the electricity in our house as our workout</i>? While that may be a fun project, the answer is no! The word <i>circuit</i> simply means “to go or move around” <sup>1</sup>. We’re going to break down what a circuit training workout is and how it’s a great exercise option for those with weight loss goals. We’ll also give you seven functional training exercises that you can do as a circuit workout in the comfort of your own home. Excited yet? What are we waiting for? Let’s go!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is Circuit Training?</header> <p>The overall goal of a circuit training workout is to strengthen your upper body, lower body, and core muscle groups, increase your heart rate, and promote calorie burning in a short period of time. </p> <p>The term <i>circuit training</i> may sound a little overwhelming. But, the word <i>circuit</i> simply means “to go or move around”<sup>1</sup>. Hm, what does this have to do with weight loss and exercise?</p> <p>Well, circuit training as a workout program combines a series of <i>anaerobic</i> (strength training) exercises that you do back to back as a sequence. Each sequence usually consists of five to ten exercises, and when you are finished with it, you begin again (having moved around something). And because there is so much movement throughout the sequence, it also counts as aerobic (cardio) exercise. To maximize calorie burning, you can use the rest periods to keep your body in motion (i.e., jogging in place, walking, or jump roping). </p> <p>The key to circuit training is to push yourself in your exercise reps, rest for a short period in between each one (usually twenty seconds to one minute), and again for a longer period of time at the end of the whole sequence.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-smiling-on-scale-0118.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-smiling-on-scale-0118.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-smiling-on-scale-0118.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-smiling-on-scale-LR-0118.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-smiling-on-scale"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can You Lose Weight with Circuit Training?</header> <p>The short answer is yes! As a rough estimate, the American Council on Exercise says that a 150-pound person can burn around 573 calories during a one-hour vigorous circuit training workout<sup>2</sup>. Research also shows that circuit training helps lower blood pressure, <i>lipoprotein</i>, and <i>triglyceride</i> levels<sup>3</sup>. Not too shabby!</p> <p>And for those who struggle to find time to exercise, circuit training is also a highly <i>efficient</i> way to lose weight. You get more bang for your buck by combining strength training and cardio all at once. Also, because of the intensity of the workout and the constant movement, you end up burning more calories in thirty minutes than you would with moderate intensity on the elliptical or treadmill for the same amount of time. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>How Often Should I Do It?</header> <p>The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or seventy-five minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise each week<sup>5</sup>. Generally speaking, circuits are more on the vigorous end, so doing two to three per week is plenty. Since circuit training targets different muscle groups all at once, and you push hard, it’s a good idea to take a few days off in-between workouts to let your body rest and recalibrate.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-stretching-by-ocean-0118.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-stretching-by-ocean-0118.jpf" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-stretching-by-ocean-0118.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-stretching-by-ocean-LR-0118.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-stretching-by-ocean"> </picture> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is Functional Circuit Training?</header> <p>At Warrior Made, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/what-is-functional-training-and-can-it-benefit-you/" rel="noreferrer">functional training</a> is the name of our game. What’s functional training, you may ask? Functional exercises are ones that mimic movements that you’re already making every day. This type of exercise was developed as a rehabilitation method to help people with injuries re-enter daily life. Exercises like a forward bend or a squat will help strengthen the muscles you need for day to day activities like reaching for something on a high shelf or getting up from your chair. When you apply functional training to a high-intensity circuit, you set yourself up for an efficient workout that strengthens your muscles and promotes weight loss. </p> <p>We like to take the best parts of <i>high intensity interval training (HIIT)</i> and circuit training and incorporate them into the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/products/warrior-made/" rel="noreferrer">weekly workouts we send to our tribe</a>. </p> <p>Ready to give it a go? Afterall, the best way to see if something works for you is to try it! Below we’ve put together a complete circuit workout that combines seven functional training exercises to promote weight loss. Have fun!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>7 Functional Exercises for Your Circuit Workout</header> <p>Alright, before you roll, we always like to remind you to check in with a healthcare professional before starting any new exercise routine. And of course, always listen to your body while working out. If you feel like you need a break before a sequence is over, honor that and rest!</p> <p>Ok… as promised, here are seven functional exercises that you can adapt to a circuit training workout. The great thing about these exercises is they don’t involve any cardio machines or fitness equipment, they are <i>free</i>, and you can do them from home! As a proper circuit, do the sequence three times. Beginners can spend thirty seconds on each exercise with thirty-second breaks in between each, and a four- to five-minute break between each sequence. If you want a more rigorous workout, try for no breaks in between each exercise and a shorter break between sequences. And remember, feel free to jog in place, walk, or jump rope for a higher calorie burn during your rest periods.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #: 1 Step Jacks</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/STEP-JACKS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/STEP-JACKS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Step jacks are a great starter exercise as they get your heart rate up. You want to make sure your arms are active and that you are using your glutes to push your legs out. Push tall through the top of your head throughout the entire exercise, and don’t round your back or stomp on the floor with each step.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #2: Sit to Stand</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/SIT-TO-STAND.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Remember, functional exercises strengthen your body for everyday movements. Does this movement look familiar? For the sit to stand, use your bigger leg muscles (quads and hamstrings) to push you up. Make sure you’re not pushing with your knees, as this won’t help strengthen your muscles. Keep a flat back and engaged core and sit back through your hips as you come down.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #3: Kneeling Dolphin Push-up</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-DOLPHIN-PUSHUPS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-DOLPHIN-PUSHUPS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Onto dolphin push-ups―a super fun push-up variation! These are great for your shoulders and midsection. Press your forearms into the ground and keep your shoulders in front of your elbows. Push up as far as you can through your legs while keeping those forearms and abs active and squeezed. Make sure that when you come forward, you squeeze your glutes and you don’t let your back sag.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #4: Alternating Reverse Lunges</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/ALTERNATING-REVERSE-LUNGES.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/ALTERNATING-REVERSE-LUNGES.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Hanging in so far? Let’s do some lunges! Start your alternating reverse lunges by putting your weight slightly on your heels and hinging a little forward on the hips. Emphasize the glutes with your front leg, but not your back leg. Use the hinge of the hip and keep your torso forward as if you’re going to do a sprint. The leg at the front is the one really controlling the movement and feeling the burn in the quadriceps. Just make sure that the knee is always in line with your toes. Put very little pressure on that back foot and use the hinge of the hip and front leg to do the movement.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #5: Mountain Climbers</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/MOUNTAIN-CLIMBERS.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/MOUNTAIN-CLIMBERS.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Mountain climbers are excellent cardio exercises that strengthen your deltoid muscles in your upper arms. Proper form is important with these. And even though we talked about burning more calories with high-intensity exercises, intensity is <i>not</i> the goal with mountain climbers. Make sure to keep your hands active by really pressing into the ground and keeping tension in your arms. At the same time, squeeze your glutes so your pelvis doesn’t sag and your butt isn’t sticking up in the air. Keep at a comfortable pace as you bring your knees up.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #6: Burpee Walkouts</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-5"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/BURPEE-WALKOUT.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/BURPEE-WALKOUT.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Burpee walkouts are a full-body cardio exercise that helps you work your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs! Phew. When you do them, have your starting position be to sit back through your heels as your hands plant into the ground. Use your hands to rock back to your heels and keep your feet flat. Think about coming down like you’re bending to grab something (with perfect form, of course). Then step each leg back, and walk them back up to squatting and stand back up. Put some power behind your legs as you walk them out and in.</p> <div class="sub-head">Exercise #7: Kneeling Hip-Ups, Right Side</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-HIP-UPS-RIGHT-SIDE.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-HIP-UPS-RIGHT-SIDE.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>This is the last set of exercises. Way to stick with it! Kneeling hip-ups are great for core stabilization and for your obliques. This can help with back pain. They can also help with slimming down your sides! When you do these on both sides, make sure your elbow and arm are pressed into the ground as you stack your knees in line with your elbow. Keep that bottom leg planted on the ground for stabilization. You know you’re good to go when you feel those obliques firing.</p> <div class="sub-head">Kneeling Hip-Ups, Left Side</div> <div class="row justify-content-center text-center"> <div class="col-12 col-md-4"> <video class="d-block mx-auto" autoplay="" loop="" muted=""> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-HIP-UPS-LEFT-SIDE.webm" type="video/webm"> <source src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/Assets/media/exercises/beginner/KNEELING-HIP-UPS-LEFT-SIDE.mp4" type="video/mp4"> </video> </div> </div> <p>Do the same thing you did above, but with your left hand, arm, knee, and side!</p> <p>Hey, you made it to the end of the workout and the article. Nice work! Now that you’re all caught up on circuit training and functional exercise, have fun experimenting with different exercise orders and intensity levels to help you shed some unwanted fat and pounds. And like we mentioned before, if you liked this workout, we give <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/products/warrior-made/" rel="noreferrer">weekly workouts</a> to our tribe members with exercises like this one, and more! See how our functional fitness circuit training can help your weight loss goals, and happy circuit training!</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.dictionary.com/browse/circuit" rel="noreferrer">Circuit</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/lifestyle/blog/6750/circuit-training-basics" rel="noreferrer">Circuit Training Basics</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3846819/" rel="noreferrer">Effects of training on blood pressure</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15942765" rel="noreferrer">Acute EPOC response in women to circuit training</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3405391/" rel="noreferrer">Physical activity recommendations for public health</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657417/" rel="noreferrer">The Effects of High Intensity Interval Training vs Steady State Training</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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