The circuit training rule book

Circuit training can be a vital tool in developing athletes. Many years ago I put together a DVD on circuit training, which is now available for streaming by HMMR Plus members. My approach to circuit training has certainly changed over my career, but some of the basic goals, principles, and construction guidelines remain unchanged. Below are the key points I highlight in the video before demonstrating some of my favorite circuits.

The goals of circuit training

The basic goals of circuit training are to:

  • Develop strength endurance;
  • Increase work capacity;
  • Enable large groups of people to train at one time; and
  • Target specific areas or physical qualities.

The principle of circuit training

My basic principle is strength before strength endurance. In order to endure strength you must have strength. Master the exercise before you add an endurance component.

Criteria for circuits

Circuits can be based on:

  • Time;
  • Reps; or
  • Trips.

Progressing circuits

I progress circuits using three steps:

  1. Start simple: body weight before external resistance
  2. Add body parts and movements
  3. Add equipment or implements

Circuit training construction guidelines

When creating a circuit, there are five guidelines I like to adhere to:

  1. Tailored to individual needs and rates of improvements.
  2. Strenuous enough to be effective.
  3. Simple since skill will break down under fatigue. If complex exercises are used, the should be put early in the circuit.
  4. Standardized in order for the athlete to know what he or she is doing and to measure progress.
  5. Understand you can bias or alternate movements.