There are more different types of circuit training workouts than most people can keep track of, learn how to incorporate the top 4 into your daily routine with our expert breakdown
Circuit workouts are one of the best ways to get a full-body workout, building muscle and burning fat simultaneously. But not all circuit workouts are created the same, nor do they produce the same results. From hamstring workouts that isolate a single muscle to lunges and squats that engage the entire lower body, alternating between different exercises forms the core of the circuit workout experience.
The secret to getting the best results is combining strength and aerobic exercises into one integrated full-body workout. This gets you in top shape in the minimum amount of time. The best of the best give you both a cardio and a strength training workout at once, leaving you sweaty to the touch and your muscles burning with intensity. So let's dig into the top 4 circuit workouts for your daily routine to get you fit in the fast lane.
1. Lunges as Part of the Circuit Workout
To engage the entire lower body and give you an intense cardio workout, lunges should be at the core of your circuit workout routine. According to Healthline.com, lunges not only give you one of the most complete workouts possible, but they also improve both your balance and alignment, which carries over into your quality of life in meaningful ways. They also strengthen your back and core and improve your posture, prompting you to stand taller and straighter in your daily life.
Once you fall in love with standard lunges, you should try mixing it up by doing variations like side lunges, reverse lunges and even twist lunges, which still activate the same muscles as the standard lunge but put pressure on different parts. Reverse lunges are great but little-known hamstring workouts that get you bulk fast! Ready for more advanced lunge routines? Try out the walking lunge, where you continue moving forward by talking large lunging steps or simply add weights to increase resistance and build more strength!
2. Dips in Circuit Training
Activating arm, shoulder, and chest muscles simultaneously, the dip is one of our top 4 circuit workouts to add to your daily routine for the simple reason that it produces results fast! Even top bodybuilders who are used to lifting serious poundage agree that nobody should skip the basic dip as they provide a fuller range of movement than any weight lifting position and they are a Closed Chain Kinetic exercise. This means you have resistance on both the up and down motion and engage opposing muscles as you move through the dip.
Advanced dippers often add weight to the experience to get even better results. Ring dips add even more flexibility to the routine while banded dips utilize the resistance of a band instead of weights to build more strength. When added to a well-thought-out circuit workout, dips often form the core of the upper body workout, allowing you to skip a bunch of weight machines that only focus on one muscle. This means significant results in less time.
3. Deadlifts for Bigger Hamstrings and More
The deadlift is one of the simplest of the many weight training exercises added to circuit workouts. But it's also one of the most powerfully effective. It gives you a full-body workout, engaging both upper and lower body muscle groups, and also targets often overlooked muscles. For example, according to Men's Health Magazine, the deadlift is one of the top hamstring workouts possible on a circuit training routine, and it's the "greatest tool for growth."
So don't worry about isolating the hamstrings and getting bogged down with individual exercises that take up lots of time and overwhelm your fitness routine. Hamstring curls can wait, but the deadlift should be in your daily routine from day one.
Besides being a great hamstring workout, the deadlift is also a powerful way to strengthen other significant muscles like your glutes and upper and lower back. For those with poor postures, the deadlift is a potent posture-building exercise. For this reason alone, it belongs on any list of the top 4 circuit training workouts to add to your daily routine.
Other deadlift workout variations include the sumo deadlift, where you take a wider stance, and the Romanian deadlift, which requires keeping your legs straight and works out those hamstrings to the max!
4. Squats are Necessary for a Full Circuit Training Program
The truth is that our ancestors spent more time squatting than sitting, and medical experts now believe that this one fact is responsible for many of our modern health issues. Sitting is a relatively new invention after all, and you really won't find evidence of things like chairs more than a couple of thousand years back in human history. Sitting engages zero muscles and quickly leads to atrophy of not just leg and hip muscles but the lower back, speeding us along the road to disability and discrepancy as we age. Just spending time in the squatting position starts to reverse this right away, but actively doing weight training with squats is the best way to turn around the damage done by a sedentary lifestyle. This alone is a powerful reason to include squats in your daily routine.
Squats also engage a full range of lower body muscle groups, from the quadriceps and glutes to the lower back and calves, and tap into several different important joints as well, from the ankles to the sacrum. For overall strength building in the body, few exercises can compete with squats. Those that practice them daily will soon feel their body regaining the power that our ancient hunter-gatherer ancestors spent their hours chasing game (think mastodons and giant bears, not the kind of thing you can walk after!) and squatting around the campfire took for granted.
Beginners should consider starting with wall squats, for more support, while advanced squatters can experiment with variations like the single-leg squat and squat jacks, both intensify the workout incredibly!
More than Just a Hamstring Workout. Getting the Best out of Circuit Training.
While many people think that circuit training is about isolating muscles, I hope we have shown you that it's the opposite. Getting the best out of a daily circuit workout routine means including the most powerful full-body engaging exercises in ways that whip your entire frame into shape in the quickest time possible. Hamstring muscles are just one example; the same goes for biceps, calves, etc. Active fit is not just a brand, it's a lifestyle, and we take it seriously. Find out more by checking out our Fitness Benefit Program where market-leading technology, personalized fitness programs, and fostering personal responsibility come together to reshape your entire life for the maximum fitness potential.
Circuit training is an essential part of this process and a core concept in any overall fitness program. When made into a daily routine, circuit training empowers you to achieve your body management goals, gain more energy, and gain self-esteem at the same time.