You know that an effective and comprehensive fitness routine combines the slimming and heart-healthy benefits of cardiovascular exercise with the toning and muscle-building benefits of resistance training.
So it comes as no surprise that circuit training, which is aimed at both cardiovascular fitness and improving muscle tone and definition, has become your go-to workout. And it also doesn’t come as much of a surprise that you have your sights set on combining your passion for circuit training with an exciting career in personal training.
What is Circuit Training?
Circuit training, at its core, consists of short sessions of resistance exercise using light weights and frequent repetitions. Each short session of exercise is immediately followed by another, with each exercise targeting a different muscle group. Moving from one exercise to another, without breaking, allows for the heart rate to increase, thus providing cardiovascular benefits.
They key to enjoying the benefits of circuit training lies with the high number of repetitions using fairly low resistance (weight). Therefore, circuit training is geared at improving muscle tone and definition, while at the same time improving cardiovascular fitness.
As a personal trainer, you will encourage your clients to complete an entire “circuit” before resting. You may also add a few aerobics exercises in between the resistance exercises. A typical circuit training fitness program involves exercising all of the major muscle groups in one, continuous cycle.
One of the most effective ways to engage your clients in a circuit training program is to use weight machines that are within close proximity to one another. Your clients will complete a set of repetitions at each station of the circuit training program, concentrating on a different muscle group at each station. Most programs consist of between 8 and 10 exercise stations.
You may also engage your clients in circuit training activities without weight machines. This type of circuit training generally involves completing one to two sets of resistance exercise using free weights, body weight, kettle balls, bands, etc., followed by brief cardiovascular sessions, such as jogging in place, cycling, rowing, etc.
The Benefits of Circuit Training
Circuit training is a popular personal training activity, as it is the ideal workout for the young and old, from seasoned athletes to clients new to fitness. It serves as an excellent workout program that simultaneously improves strength, stamina, muscle tone, and mobility.
Circuit training is designed to challenge the body in a variety of ways while keeping boredom at bay. Further, most circuit training programs last just 30 to 60 minutes, which allow your clients to fit a full-body workout into their busy schedules.
A typical circuit training program can burn 30 percent more calories than a traditional resistance-only workout, while offering more cardio benefits.
Your personal training clients are sure to love circuit training because:
- It offers maximum results in minimum time
- It challenges the entire body
- Gets the job done in a short period of time
- Eliminates the boredom of tedious, repetitious workouts
- Provides all the benefits of cardiovascular fitness (reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol, increased metabolism, increased energy, weight loss, etc.)
As a personal trainer, your circuit training programs should never get stale, as you can mix up the sequence and design the workouts to suit your clients’ training goals. Plus, you can take circuit training outdoors, so your personal training sessions can include everything from running stairs and jumping rope to utilizing things in nature like a tree or boulder to complete exercises such as dips and squats.
Circuit training’s biggest benefit is that it can be modified and switched up at any time. As a personal trainer, you may challenge your clients by:
- Shortening time intervals between circuits, thus allowing your clients to complete more stations in the same amount of time
- Boosting the intensity of the resistance exercises by switching up exercises that work the same muscle groups or adding additional cardio exercises between resistance stations
- Switching up the order in which the exercises are completed (i.e., doing a backward circuit, starting at the opposite end)
How to Become a Personal Trainer with a Focus on Circuit Training
Your love of fitness can turn into a successful and exciting career as a personal trainer, provided you take the time to supplement your knowledge with an educational program. Many of today’s personal trainers choose to pursue an associate or bachelor degree in personal training or a related area, such as:
- Exercise science
- Exercise physiology
- Physical fitness
- Sports sciences
These programs are designed to provide you with a comprehensive education in the human body and its reaction to physical exercise. Following the completion of an associate or bachelor degree in a personal training-related major, you will have a solid foundation in the biological sciences, such as anatomy and physiology, biology, nutrition, and kinesiology. Your core courses will serve as an excellent basis for a career in personal training, as they will include study in:
- Exercise physiology
- Exercise prescription and assessment
- Strength and conditioning
- Exercise for special populations
Many degree programs in personal training also provide study in business management and communications, which would prepare you with the skills vital to becoming a fitness studio manager or independent personal trainer. Further, most of these programs culminate in a personal training practicum, which will allow you to achieve real-world experience working alongside an experienced fitness professional.
Professional certification in personal training is now highly regarded by employers and others in the industry. You will find that many employers now require personal trainers to possess some type of recognized accredited professional certification.
In addition to achieving general personal trainer certification, you will likely want to earn certification specific to circuit training as a way to display your expertise in this personal training specialty:
- Profitness, PFS Circuit Training Instructor Certification
- National Endurance Sports Training Association, Certified Circuit Training Instructor