The StrengthLog Circuit Training Workout

You called for circuit training, and we answered! We are proud to introduce the very first StrengthLog circuit training workout.

Circuit weight training is an effective way to train for getting great results and for saving time. Since the 1970s, science recognizes circuit training as an effective way to improve performance in more than one area. In short, it’s a time-efficient method to improve your health, strength, and maximal oxygen uptake.1

You won’t be able to rely on circuit training workouts alone if you’re aiming to become a competitive bodybuilder, powerlifter, or runner. But if you want an excellent all-round training method, giving you the most overall bang for the buck in a short amount of time, circuit training is well worth exploring.

Circuit weight training is also a viable option when you don’t have much time but still want a full-body workout for both strength and endurance. You can also use a circuit training workout if you’re going to break up your usual routine with something different and feel like giving your entire body a challenge.

Those of you who aim to improve your strength and VO2Max can add some high-intensity interval training in between the strength training exercises without the workout becoming excessively long.

The StrengthLog Circuit Training Workout

You can use this workout either as a stand-alone workout or as an ongoing training program  2–4 times per week with at least a day of rest in between sessions. Progression is automatic as long as you increase the weights you use a little whenever you can.

Keep in mind that your muscles and the central nervous system won’t be fresh when you start a circuit training set. With traditional strength training, you rest several minutes between sets, but you go from exercise to exercise almost without any recovery period with circuit training. Don’t stress progression until you’re capable of lifting heavier. That way, you avoid any unnecessary risks of injury from fatigue and too heavy weights.

The StrengthLog Circuit Training Workout is a circuit weight training workout with nine “rounds,” which contain three exercises each. The workout is 3×3 rounds long and gives your entire body a thorough thrashing in a good way. Perform one round of exercises, rest 90–120 seconds, and move on to the next round. Move from one exercise within a round to the next with as little rest as possible, just long enough to get to the next station or change the weights you use. 

Each exercise gives you several exercise alternatives. Feel free to pick and choose whichever you enjoy the most.

One round looks like this:

  • Perform 10 reps of the first exercise.
  • Go straight to the second exercise.
  • Perform 10 reps of the second exercise.
  • Go straight to the third exercise.
  • Perform 10 reps of the third exercise.

There you have it! One round down!

  • Rest 90–120 seconds.
  • Move on to the next round!

After three rounds with the same exercise, you switch over to three new rounds with different exercises. If you want to focus on improving your maximal oxygen uptake more, you can add some high-intensity intervals between rounds, but those are entirely optional.

Round 1

Round 2

  • Squat 10 reps (exercise alternatives: front squat, Smith machine squat, dumbbell squat, leg press)
  • Lat pulldown 10 reps (exercise alternative: pull-up)
  • Back extension 10 reps

Round 3

  • Squat 10 reps (exercise alternatives: front squat, Smith machine squat, dumbbell squat, leg press)
  • Lat pulldown 10 reps (exercise alternative: pull-up)
  • Back extension 10 reps

Cardio (optional)

  • Three 30-second high-intensity intervals of your choice. For example, treadmill running, exercise bike, rowing machine, or battle ropes.

Round 4

Round 5

  • Overhead press 10 reps (exercise alternatives: dumbbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press, behind the neck press)
  • Deadlift 10 reps (exercise alternatives: sumo deadlift, dumbbell deadlift, trap bar deadlift)
  • Sit-up 10 reps (exercise alternatives: crunch, hanging leg raise, hanging knee raise, lying leg raise)

Round 6

  • Overhead press 10 reps (exercise alternatives: dumbbell shoulder press, machine shoulder press, behind the neck press)
  • Deadlift 10 reps (exercise alternatives: sumo deadlift, dumbbell deadlift, trap bar deadlift)
  • Sit-up 10 reps (exercise alternatives: crunch, hanging leg raise, hanging knee raise, lying leg raise)

Cardio (optional)

  • Three 30-second high-intensity intervals of your choice. For example, treadmill running, exercise bike, rowing machine, or battle ropes.

Round 7

Round 8

  • Barbell row 10 reps (exercise alternatives: cable seated row, T-bar row)
  • Bench press 10 reps (exercise alternatives: dumbbell chest press, machine chest press)
  • Dumbbell lunge 10 reps (exercise alternatives: barbell lunge, bodyweight lunge, walking lunge, Bulgarian split-squat)

Round 9

  • Barbell row 10 reps (exercise alternatives: cable seated row, T-bar row)
  • Bench press 10 reps (exercise alternatives: dumbbell chest press, machine chest press)
  • Dumbbell lunge 10 reps (exercise alternatives: barbell lunge, bodyweight lunge, walking lunge, Bulgarian split-squat)

There you have it! That’s the entire workout. Now feel free to collapse in a sweaty, panting heap.

High-Intensity Interval Training

You can choose whichever type of cardio you want and have access to close to your strength training area. The circuit training workout includes two mini interval sessions between the weight training wounds. These are entirely optional, intended for those of you who want to train both your strength and your endurance in the same training session, focusing more on the endurance part than an entirely strength training-based workout provides, and without spending an extra hour doing so.

Perform three 30-second intervals with max intensity. Rest 90 seconds after each interval, then return to your strength-training rounds. Nice and “easy.”

Show Consideration

Keep the fact that circuit weight training requires space. It might not be the best of ideas to occupy several machines, bars, or benches in a commercial gym on a workday afternoon. Not unless one of your training goals is to become public enemy number one of the gym. If you don’t have a home or garage gym to sweat it out in, consider scheduling your circuit training sessions to early mornings or some other time where you know you’ll have the gym pretty much to yourself—both for your own and other’s sake. You’ll run into issues keeping your tempo and intensity up as well in a  crowded gym.

This circuit training workout is available right now in our app StrengthLog for iOS and Android. Best of all: it is entirely free! You need the latest version of the app for circuit training functionality, so be sure to update it before you head off to the gym.

Reference

  1. Sports Medicine Volume 47, Pages 2553–2568 (2017). Effectiveness of Resistance Circuit-Based Training for Maximum Oxygen Uptake and Upper-Body One-Repetition Maximum Improvements: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.