WHAT IS CIRCUIT TRAINING?
Circuit training is a method in which a person will perform several different lifts in rapid succession, generally performed on numerous machines or simply with body weight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups. This form of training is ideal for developing muscular endurance, improving cardiovascular health, and since it is a form of high intensity training, it has incredible implications on fat loss as well. Just about anyone can benefit from circuit training, but as always, I suggest consulting with your medical professional prior to beginning any high intensity training regimen. With that being said, I would like to discuss an incredible tool that can be utilized just about anywhere you work out – whether it is a gym, park, or even your own living room.
The options for circuit training are endless. Many gyms have entire circuit training rooms set up with machines, wall timers for interval tracking, and visual aids charting where to go next. However, just as any fitness program, your imagination is the limit with regards to circuit training. Whereas some may enjoy the structured feel of a gym, others may enjoy a more natural approach in a park utilizing their jungle gyms. Regardless of how you choose to train, I am confident resistance bands will find a place in your gym bag, and here's why:
- Versatility – Bands can be used alone, or in conjunction to free weights. Not only can they be used for adding tension to exercises, but also for assisting in exercises by acting as a springboard, or trampoline, to aid through a troublesome lift such as a pull-up. Not to mention that with several varying sized bands all packed in a duffel bag, you can literally throw them in your trunk and head to a friend's house for a group circuit training session. Bands are also great for all ages, skill levels, or fitness goals – from yoga to power lifting, resistance bands have their place!
- Variety – The spice of life. Maybe you do the same tiresome workout every day, or maybe you're tired of driving to your gym during rush hour traffic after a long day's work. Well why not mix it up with bands? Again, your imagination is the trainer – exercise bands are simply a tool that you can use to keep your fitness life interesting and progressing.
- Inexpensive – Consider what you'll spend over the next 6 months for your gym membership. Monthly rate plus tax, yearly enhancement fees (bet they have one), and maybe even a yearly contract can add up in a heartbeat. Chances are you can equip your fitness arsenal with a quality set of resistance bands for cheaper than a 3-5 month gym membership.
- strength – From "toning" (which is basically some cushy word for building muscle you can see) to powerlifting, everybody wants a more muscular physique. Unless you're a marathon runner or some bean pole of a lingerie model, chances are you prefer a little "meat" on your bones. But let's be real – there is only one meat, and the other is just blubber. Resistance bands have also been described and strength bands for reasons several studies have proven. Adding resistance bands to your routine, in conjunction with a solid weight training regimen has been shown to increase muscle mass dramatically as opposed to free weights alone.
SHOPPING FOR RESISTANCE BANDS
Here are a few key points to consider once you decide whether resistance bands are right for you:
- WARRANTY – Several manufacturers sport a lifetime warranty, and rightfully so. Most resistance bands are crafted out of surgical grade tubing, which is highly elastic and very strong, but in the off chance that one happens to snap, being able to replace it free of charge is awesome.
- EFFICIENCY – Circuit trainers understand the necessity of being able to switch from one exercise to another quickly – hence why most gyms with circuit rooms have everything set up in a circle for quick transitions. Look for resistance bands with carabiners or some sort of quick disconnect from attachments such as handles, door anchors, or ankle cuffs. This will allow the addition or subtraction of more and / or heavier bands depending on the exercises
- ATTACHMENTS – As mentioned in "Efficiency", attachments are crucial. bands a great, but a single tension band with an integrated handle has far less options than a handle with the ability to attach several sized bands at once. Also, detachable cuffs make leg and core exercises very comfortable and natural. Lastly, a simple door anchor can open up vast arrays of possible new exercises.
I hope the information found in this article has helped you in some way, and at the very least made you an educated buyer when shopping for fitness equipment. However, I encourage you to continue researching – the internet is full of videos, articles, etc. that can give very great insight as to what possibilities resistance bands offer.