Training Systems

Calisthenics Circuit Training: 2 Methods in 1 Exercise

Calisthenics circuit training is an exercise system in which you target different muscle groups. You move from one exercise to another with minimum to no rest in between. It improves muscular endurance, strength as well as cardiorespiratory system.

Circuit training consists of different exercises, usually 5 to 10, and each exercise is called a station. A complete series of stations is one circuit. The next circuit will begin with the first exercise again. 

8 Calisthenics Circuit Training Benefits

Circuit training calisthenics is a consecutive series of exercises. They are ideal for those who are looking for a quick full-body workout.

Read about: Calisthenics and Weight Training – Overall Comparison.

Circuit training is a great boredom buster

Mental fatigue is a phenomenon that can occur from time to time. It is when you look at the clock during your workout routine, wishing to finish it sooner. Circuit training calisthenics can rejuvenate your tedious workout plan. It provides a significant shift in your fitness program by alternating periods of various activities. It prevents the mind from wandering and developing a sensation of boredom.

Benefits of circuit training for weight loss

Circuit training raises the heart rate, and it remains elevated throughout the exercise. As a result, you have more calories burned by circuit training. This is confirmed by a study on the total energy expenditure in combined aerobic and circuit weight training.

Moreover, since your calisthenics circuit workout involves resistance training, your calorie-burning trend continues for hours following the exercise. After the exercise, the body goes through a post-workout recovery phase. The rate of post-workout calorie burning (named afterburn) in circuit training is higher than mainstream moderate-intensity training. 

A  systematic review on the circuit training afterburn effect indicates that resting metabolic rate (RMR) stays higher following combined circuit training.

Another review on different studies that involved 837 participants with obesity shows the effect of burning fat with circuit training and reducing Body Mass Index.

Also, a study on mixed circuit training with strength and endurance indicates the reduction of topical fat. Particularly, it shows we can use circuit training to lose belly fat.

Nevertheless, the result varies based on the type of exercises involved in calisthenics circuit workout as well as age, nutrition, and other factors.

Build muscle with circuit training 

We can develop a circuit training routine that enhances hypertrophy. Based on standard hypertrophy sets and rep range, we can mix different exercises in a circular training calisthenics program to stimulate strength and muscle growth.

Circuit training to improve cardiovascular endurance 

Bodyweight circuit training can enhance cardiorespiratory fitness. A combination of cardio and strength exercises increases heart rate and forces the heart to pump blood to different muscle groups during the exercise.
Due to the lack of rest intervals between exercises, heart rate stays elevated. It causes heart muscles to get stronger and circulate blood in different organs effortlessly during the exercise and even throughout the day.

Subsequently, it enhances cardiovascular health and reduces the risk of blood pressure in adults.

On the other hand, high respiratory rate in bodyweight circuit training increases lung capacity, which results in effortless breathing during the exercise. A study indicates there is a meaningful relation between cardiorespiratory fitness and lung health over time.

Full Body Circuit Workout bodyweight

In a standard resistance training routine, you split your exercises into different muscle groups throughout the week. The other way is to have a full-body circuit training that engages different muscle groups each session. This is particularly helpful for those who don’t have time to hit the gym and train every day. 

Time Efficiency

Calisthenics circuit training is suitable for those who cannot spend a long time for exercise. You can complete a circuit training program in 20 or 30 minutes and still benefit from both cardiovascular and resistance training.

Psychological Effect of Circuit Training  

Endorphin is known as the feel-good hormone. Circuit training consists of both types of exercises that stimulate the secretion of endorphin. The release of endorphin gives a sense of self-efficacy. It will also reduce anxiety level, somatization, and depression. Thus, incorporating circuit training calisthenics into daily life elevates one’s mental well-being.

Calisthenics Circuit Training is Suitable for Everyone 

Everyone at any age or fitness level can benefit from it. Circuit training is versatile; you can adjust its intensity for any level. For higher intensity, use shorter rest periods and more reps. For lower intensity, extend the rest intervals between exercises or do fewer reps. 

Practicing calisthenics circuit training on a treadmill

What Are the Disadvantages of Circuit Training?

Circuit Training is not Optimized for Muscle Growth

For bodyweight circuit workout, you generally don’t use as much weight/ resistance as traditional bodybuilding. The amount of resistance in a standard circuit training is about 40-60% of 1RM. However, to build muscle mass, the routine is maximum resistance at 8-12 repetitions with about 2 minutes of rest between sets. 

“Can bodyweight circuits build muscle?” The answer is yes, to some extent, provided the circuit involves strength training as well. Nonetheless, it is not ideal to use bodyweight circuit workout for mass. If your aim is gaining more muscles, you need progressive overload.

Circuit Training is not for Endurance Exercises

Circuit training is a conditioning type of exercise. By definition, it means it enhances overall fitness, especially cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. For muscular endurance exercises such as marathons, triathlon, and cycling, you need to pick training plans that are customized for these types of activities.

Custom-build endurance training improves aerobic fitness better than circuit training.

Beginners Can Easily Lose Proper Form

Inexperienced people in fitness can easily lose the proper form of the exercises, and this is more common in calisthenics circuit training. It takes time to develop muscle memory on specific exercise variations such as push-ups and pull-ups using your bodyweight. 

Circuit Training Is Demanding

This is beneficial for those who are trying to build up their fitness level. Nevertheless, for people with heart disease, high blood pressure, lung diseases it may not be suitable.

Despite the adaptability of bodyweight circuit exercise, it is recommended that beginners start with less intense forms of training such as walking and light to medium weight resistance training.

Types of Calisthenics Circuit Workout

The type of exercises in calisthenics circuit training varies depending on the fitness goal, health, fitness level, and many other factors. For example, a runner may use a circuit training designed for speed whereas someone with a general wellness aspiration tries a calisthenics circuit workout for cardiovascular fitness.

Strength circuits consist of strength-centric exercises which can be performed with weights, body weight, or they can be machine-based. Sometimes a combination of these three methods is used in a training program.

Cardio circuit training aims to enhance cardiovascular fitness. By combining exercises that increase the heart rate and by doing this repeatedly, the heart becomes stronger. So, it can pump more blood with each beat. This results in improving overall cardiovascular health. 

For instance, warming up with jumping jacks to raise the heart rate, then doing push-ups and crunches. Another option is to make use of different cardio machines such as a warm-up on the treadmill for about 2 minutes, then speed it up for 2 more minutes. Without delay, go for the stationary bike and make it uphill cycling. Go for the elliptical and perform it as fast as you can. Lastly, move to the rowing machine. This is one circuit and each station takes about 2 minutes. Repeat this circuit 2 or 3 times, which will take about 20-30 minutes.

Strength and cardio, This type of calisthenics circuit training combines a bodyweight strength move like squat with a cardio exercise like sprinting; then immediately followed by another strength exercise like a push-up. In this workout, we can include strength exercises for each of the main muscle groups. This way, you will have a full bodyweight circuit workout.

Sport specific, This type of circuit training is used by athletes who would like to improve certain athletic features based on their specific sport. For example, a baseball pitcher may choose to do circuits that involve the throwing motion whereas an American football player would be doing something different like squat jumps or burpees because these are movements used in their sport.

Circuit Training Intensity Percentage

Low-intensity circuit training is something you can do almost every day. It will only take about 15 minutes and is enough to provide benefits to your overall fitness.

Moderate intensity circuit training takes approximately 25-30 minutes. It provides cardiovascular benefits, but cannot be done for more than 3 days per week without jeopardizing progress in other areas of your exercise routine.

High-intensity circuit training should only be done one or two times a week. However, it is ideal for athletes who are looking to build some muscle or train for competitions that require explosive movements.

Circuit Training Aerobic or Anaerobic

The calisthenics circuit training can be either aerobic or anaerobic. That is to say, it can be performed in a specific way for each type of exercise.

Aerobic calisthenics circuit training means you need to perform exercises at a pace where your heart rate increases and stays elevated. This enables you to burn more calories because the body has been working hard enough to use up oxygen.

Anaerobic circuit training means you need to perform exercises at a rapid pace that causes your muscles to fatigue. This often results in heavy breathing, a burning sensation in the muscles, and a fast heart rate. This calisthenics circuit workout is great for athletes who are looking to build muscle mass or increase explosive power. It can be done at high intensity levels.

The aerobic calisthenics circuits are designed to maximize your metabolic rate for a longer period of time during and after the exercise session. This type of calisthenics circuit training burns fat more than traditional cardio exercises such as running or cycling. It enhances caloric expenditure by increasing oxygen consumption through the exercise.

Calisthenics circuits for strength training are considered anaerobic because the intensity of each exercise is much higher than aerobic workouts. This type of calisthenics circuit benefits your body's ability to produce ATP.

Will Circuit Training Get You Ripped?

Circuit training calisthenics will not get you “ripped.” Circuit training calisthenics is best used for general health and wellness, fat loss, and building muscle endurance.
“Ripped” refers to the level of muscle definition that you have. A ripped physique is achieved with a low-moderate body fat percentage. Achieving this type of leanness requires a combination of diet and strength/resistance training.
The best way to get “ripped” is to use calisthenics strength training or bodybuilding style resistance training, along with healthy food choices and cardio.

How Long Should a Calisthenics Circuit Workout Be?

A Circuit training Workout can vary in length depending on your fitness goals, level of conditioning, and the number of circuits you are doing. A good rule to follow is 20-60 minutes but no longer than 60 minutes.
For best results, choose between one or two bodyweight strength sets with periods of cardio exercises that last between 30 seconds to three minutes. Then rest for about one minute and repeat the entire circuit up to four times.

How long should be your calisthenics circuit training session

How Many Reps Should You Do in a Circuit?

Circuit training calisthenics is usually either based on time or repetitions. If the program is based on time, you will perform an exercise for about 30-60 seconds before moving to another exercise. If the training program is based on repetition, you will perform a certain number of repetitions — let’s say 20 — and then start your next exercise.

Circuit Training vs. Straight Sets Calisthenics

Circuit Training vs. HIIT

The main differences are in intensity, duration, and goal. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts use high-intensity anaerobic exercises to increase heart rate for a short period of time. Circuit Training calisthenics uses low to moderate intensities that last longer than three minutes.

Calisthenics circuit training can be used for fat loss, cardiovascular health, and muscle endurance, whereas High-intensity interval training is usually utilized to increase speed or power output.

HIIT workouts are shorter than calisthenics circuit workouts because of their high-intensity nature. They both can last about 20-60 minutes depending on fitness goals.

Circuit Training vs. CrossFit

The differences between CrossFit and circuit training are in intensity, duration, and goal. The main feature of CrossFit is high-intensity workouts with anaerobic exercises to increase heart rate for a short period.

Circuit training calisthenics uses low to moderate intensities that last longer than three minutes.

CrossFit workouts are shorter than a circuit workout session because of the high-intensity nature but both last about 20-60 minutes. Circuit training is best for general health and wellness, fat loss, building muscle endurance whereas CrossFit is usually utilized to increase speed or power output.
Read about CrossFit Bodyweight Workout.

Circuit Training Ideas with No Equipment

The best type of workout that you can do without any equipment is a bodyweight circuit. You can use a variety of different exercises to get the best possible workout in a short time.

Example 1:

  1. Jumping Jacks X 30 seconds
  2. Squats X 20 repetitions
  3. Push-ups X 20 repetitions
  4. Inverted Rows X 10 repetitions
  5. Mountain Climbers X 30 seconds

Rest for one minute and repeat the circuit four more times. Try to aim for six total rounds, but no more than eight because of fatigue or risk of injury.

Example 2:

  1. Jumping Jacks X 30 seconds
  2. Squats X 20 repetitions
  3. Push-ups X 20 repetitions
  4. Inverted Rows X 10 repetitions
  5. Mountain Climbers X 30 seconds
  6. Jumping Lunges X 20 repetitions
  7. Plank Holds X 1 minute
  8. Burpees X 5 repetitions

The above circuit training workout plans are just examples of how you can structure your bodyweight circuit program. When doing this type of routine, it's important to maintain proper form for each exercise in order not to prevent injury.

To sum up, circuit training is a great way to get in shape and maintain an active lifestyle. There are different types of circuit-training techniques that can be used depending on your fitness goals. The type you choose will depend on how much time you have available, what equipment is accessible to you, and whether or not you want the workout to include aerobic or anaerobic exercise.

Calisthenics circuit training is a great way to get the most out of your workout time even if you only have 20 minutes available. This type of exercise can be done on its own or as a part of a complete fitness program that includes cardio and strength training.

The main idea behind circuit training is completing the exercises without stopping to get your heart rate up as quickly as possible. This way, you burn more calories during the workout and improve overall fitness levels with little time investment.

a study on the total energy expenditure in combined aerobic and circuit weight training.Weight loss effects of circuit training interventionsEffect of an Endurance and Strength Mixed Circuit Training on Regional FatEffects of high-intensity circuit training, low-intensity circuit training and endurance training on blood pressure in middle aged adultsAssociation between Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Lung Health from Young Adulthood to Middle AgeEffectiveness of Resistance Circuit-Based Training for Maximum Oxygen Uptake Psychological and physical benefits of circuit weight training

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