Circuit training and its variants

A variation of peripheral training is ACT (aerobic circuit training). Table of contents \ n1. What is the difference between circuit training and bodybuilding methods? \ N2. How to arrange circuit training? \ N3. What do scientific research say about this topic? 

Note – circuit training does not have to be done with the barbells, dumbbells or machines. Circuits with kettlebells, sandbags, heavy ropes, super yoke, suitcases (farmer’s walk), medicine ball, TRX, gymnastic rings, and rods may be equally effective. Ba, peripheral training is one of the most common methods found in Thai boxing (thaiboxing, muay thai kickboxing), kickboxing, methodology of cross-training (eg preparing MMA, BJJ, sambo, judo, wrestlers). 


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In Thai boxing it can look like this – 5 heavy bags, on each of the different combinations of punches with arms and legs (eg low kick, knee bumps, double straight left + right, medium kick, sickle hits), 2 shielding stations (gloves or mini -tarcze), 1 station – skipping rope, 1 ball or kettlebells station. Work on a single stand in Thai boxing can take 30-120 seconds, rest 30-120 seconds depending on the needs (eg phase of the training macrocycle). You can also organize circuit training using the body’s own load (callisthenics methods). 

The biggest and fundamental difference compared to weight, bodybuilding or threesome training are short breaks between successive exercises in peripheral training (advanced up to 30 seconds, 60-90 seconds beginner). In bodybuilding training, similar shortening of rest breaks is part of Dorian Yates’ training philosophy, but generally in the body-building method, breaks between sets are usually longer and amount to 120-180 seconds. Another fundamental difference is the applied working load, in peripheral training it is small and amounts to 30-40% of the maximum weight for beginners, and for the advanced 40-60% of the maximum weight. 1 Typical for bodybuilding training is a load of 75-85% of the maximum weight. 

For this reason, it is not a workout designed only to increase muscle mass or strength, the main goals of peripheral training are 

This does not mean that an increase in strength and mass is not possible in the case of peripheral training. Particularly in beginners, there are increases in muscle mass, even at interval rides on a stationary bicycle. In one of the studies published in the Journal of Obesity 2, young men in 12 consecutive weeks, 3x a week, each time for 20 minutes were riding a stationary bicycle. Each session looked like 8 seconds of sprint (80-90% of maximum heart rate, 120-130 rpm) and 12 seconds of rest (same resistance, but 40 rpm) continuously for 20 minutes. After 12 weeks of training, men lost 2 kg of fat (a 17% decrease in visceral fat, a few cm in the waist), increased the maximum oxygen ceiling by 15% (VO2 max) and slightly increased their lean body mass (which means muscle growth). The weight loss balance was 1.5 kg. The largest increases in muscle were recorded in the torso, smaller in the legs and the smallest in the arms (0.4 kg for legs and 0.7 kg muscles for the torso). 


I deliberately put machines here instead of exercises with free weights. It is an adaptive training for a person who has limited endurance, strength and muscle mass. For the same reason, the plan includes relatively simple exercises, often on machines. Training begins with the exercises of the largest muscle groups, ie legs and back (2 berths per each party). Then 1 exercise on the chest, another on the back of the thigh and back, 2 exercises on the shoulders, 1 on the biceps, 1 on the triceps, 1 on the calves and belly. 

People for whom this training is too simple, I invite you to the next training plan. Note – appearances may be confusing, very many training plans on paper seem to be easy 

It is a training designed for a better trained and prepared person. It may seem light and innocent, but it is not. Do not make an evaluation on paper, we will talk about it after finishing 2 full circuits, with planned breaks between the series. 

Parameters of training 

how many reps in the series? Beginners 8-10, advanced 12-15, 

how many circuits? Beginners 2-3, advanced 3-5 circuits, 

break time between exercises? Beginners 60-90 seconds, advanced 0-30 seconds (the best trained exercises are carried out without interruption), 

break time after a completed circuit? Beginners 2-3 minutes, advanced 1-5 minutes, 

duration of training beginners 8-10 weeks, advanced 3-5 weeks. 

I took the parameters from the book Contemporary Muscle Strength Training II. 

It should be added that for the peripheral training we can include the most extreme training type TABATA. The training developed by KLOVOKA Dymitry is dominated by dynamic exercises.