Circuit Training for Your Heart

For years, we’ve been telling ETR readers that aerobic training is not the best way to improve cardiovascular fitness. Instead, you want to use interval training, bodyweight training, and now, based on a new study, circuit weight training.

In a comparison of circuit weight training and cardiovascular exercise, Brazilian researchers assigned subjects to a 12-week training program. One group served as an inactive control group, a second group performed aerobic exercise three times per week (35 minutes at 70 percent of maximal heart rate), and a third group did circuit training three days per week (lifting at 60 percent of their one-repetition maximum for a series of exercises for 35 minutes).

The results showed a similar improvement in peak aerobic exercise performance for both training groups. Surprisingly, the aerobic training group did not outperform the lifting group. Both groups improved lower-body strength, but only the circuit training group got stronger in the upper body.

This study is a pleasant surprise for men and women who want to strengthen their entire body and improve their aerobic fitness in only three short workouts per week. You don’t have to do slow, boring cardio.

For maximum results in minimum time, perform multi-muscle resistance exercises (such as squats, push-ups, and rowing exercises) at a moderate intensity with minimal rest between exercises. You can see a video of circuit training in action here. ]

(Source: British Journal of Sports Medicine)

[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is an expert consultant for Men’s Health magazine and the creator of Turbulence Training for Fat Loss.]