T Nation

Circuit Training

I was browsing the magazine section of the local bookstore and came across a good article in Men’s Health (I believe that’s the magazine it was, or one just like it - Men’s Fitness or Men’s Exercise).

It was about circuit training (using free weights and compound movements) to maximize gains in as little time as possible. The article was written by Alwyn Cosgrove, who I believe is a friend/trainer of Ian King and also knows/works with Ian King among others. So I knew that once I saw Alwyn’s name, it should be a good article. I didn’t think I would ever read a decent article in those types of magazines, but they have come a long way in the past few years (Ian King and even Coach D has been mentioned in a few).

Anyway, Alwyn isn’t the only one who has used this method to maximize gains in the shortest amount of time. CT wrote about Power Circuit training not too long ago, and others employ those methods in one fashion or another (Coach D’s Fat to Fire).

Due to my hectic schedule, I’m beginning to go toward this type of training to maximize gains in shorter amounts of time. The workouts are fast-paced, and definitely make you a bit weazy.

I know circuit training is normally frowned upon since most people think of using machines and light weights, but if you do it right, you can actually use it for strength and conditioning gains (see CT’s Power Circuit training). And it’s nice to have shorter workouts that give you more than just one component of the overall package. Just another weapon in the arsenal.

Since I have the no patience for sitting on my ass for rest, I normally have to do circuit training to save myself trouble (I tried doing singles of a heavy weight on the dumbell clean and jerk with only twenty seconds rest before…). Even if it’s adding in easy ab work or burpees, it really helps.

I agree. I’ve found that straight sets are becoming less effective and also more time consuming for me. So with Fat to Fire now, and another circuit-type plan later, I’ll be shortening my workouts and still achieve my goals of increased conditioning, hypertrophy and strength.

FYI - The article was in the recent issue of Men’s Health. There is also a training article by Charles Staley using the EDT principles (using different exercises/set-up). T-mag is usually ahead of the game, but it’s good to see some of the coaches writing articles for these magazines even if we’ve already seen it and done it.

When I first changed my life around with nutrition and training (when I was 14 in 1989), I turned to Men’s Fitness. It helped me tremendously back then. Of course, once the original MM and then T-mag were around, everything else was obsolete. But it’s good to see Men’s Fitness and a few others catching on with the good coaches and updated nutrition info. It means more people in the “mainstream” may actually learn something good, even if it’s a year behind what we’ve already learned through T-mag. There is hope out there!

Try This One for time!

53 lb Kettlebell Power Snatch 10 Reps Per Hand

Jump Rope 100 Reps

53 lb Kettlebell Push Press 10 Reps Per Hand

Jump Rope 100 Reps

Tabata Squats 50 Reps

53 lb Kettlebell Hang Clean 10 Reps Per Hand

53lb Two handed Kettlebell Swings 20 Reps

Weakside Rule
Repeat 3x for time

Try this with little or no rest 3 times and you might meet pukie!

I have read Men’s Health before, and it’s a decent magazine. Programs are definitely better than the ones in mainstream body building magazines that a buddy of mine has (better as in more realisticly achieved without drugs).

Back to circuit training, I actually have been a sucker for mixing in anaerobic cardio work within my weights, until I saw the high octane cardio by Mike Mahler, and started using my heavy bag inbetween sets of weights. Conditioning just went through the roof for me.

Actually, I forgot to mention about Alwyn Cosgrove. I actually have an e-book of his, “Secrets of Martial Arts Conditioning” that Coach Staley recommended in one of his newsletters. His stuff definitely seems close to King’s, even with the principles in his training. Still, he has some fairly interesting program ideas and workouts.

Bob Gajda… (Mr. America in the 50s) advocated circuit training.

It’s not my style of training, but I can see the appeal. There is nothing more boring than hanging around the gym waiting until you can perform another set. Lately I’ve been leaning towards the one minute rests, rather than the 3 minute rests I used to do.

Anyway it’s good to mix up your routines from time to time.

I hear you. I’d rather do as much in as little time and address multiple needs.

I see that Alwyn also has a new training program (just received an e-mail about it) that looks pretty interesting, but I’m not familiar with all his methods and guidelines.

KraigY, I’ve done similar circuits in the past when I did kettlebell and bodyweight only workouts. They were brutal!