You might have heard that circuit training helps you burn a significant number of calories in a short period of time. Usually, circuit training involves performing a sequence of exercises for 30 to 90 seconds or a certain number of repetitions in quick succession with little rest between moves. You can do circuits of strength exercises, cardio exercises or a combination of the two. While circuit training provides a number of benefits, including infinite variety, improved endurance and efficient use of your workout time, it does have its drawbacks.
If your goal is to build massive strength, circuit training may not be for you. To build strength and muscle mass, you'll need to lift multiple sets of very heavy weights for a short number of repetitions and provide your muscles with one to two minutes of total rest between sets. Lighter weights are usually used during a circuit because you perform a high number of repetitions in each bout. You are also not provided with substantial rest that helps you hit each set at your maximum ability.
If you are training for an endurance event, such as a marathon or 100-mile bike ride, circuit training will not provide you with the long cardiovascular sessions you need for optimal performance. You need to train for specificity which can only be achieved by covering a lot of miles in one workout. A circuit training session may be used as cross training once per week, if desired, to provide variety and train muscles that may be neglected in your regular training.
For people new to weight training, circuit training might move too quickly to hone proper form. Beginners benefit from slower, more focused training preferably under the guidance of a personal trainer. Once movements are mastered, a new exerciser can participate in circuit training to add variety and potentially increase intensity.
If you participate in an especially vigorous circuit, you may fatigue quickly. As a result, your form can suffer and you risk injury. Rest longer, if necessary, between exercises so each one is performed with pristine form.
Equipment and Space
A thorough circuit training session can take up a lot of space and utilize a lot of equipment. If you are in a gym, you might try to move among machines only to find another member has interrupted your flow by jumping on your next plan machine. If you exercise at home, you might be limited in the exercises you can include in your circuit because of limited equipment.