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Friday, June 24, 2011

Circuit training was created as a sequence of strength or resistance training exercises to be performed non stop until all the exercises were completed. It was called circuit training since it was originally done by moving around a series of preset stations. When the circuit was completed a recovery period was taken then the circuit was repeated. The circuit was a combination of anaerobic and aerobic work. The number of stations varied and the number of circuits varied depending on the goal of the workout.

In this format a form of interval training was incorporated into strength or resistance training, taking advantage of the paradoxical effect of circuit training where the training effect occurred during the recovery and not the work phase. The research done on circuit training found that even though no dedicated cardio exercises were included a measurable cardio benefit was obtained. Adding a cardio component only increased the cardio benefit a matter of a few percentage points.

Currently many assume that any combination of exercises be they strength or cardio comprises circuit training rather than the original sequence of only strength or resistance exercises. This type of format is designed to keep the heart rate elevated which negates the training effect of an interval workout. An additional drawback is that the demands of the strength training are reduced in order to allow energy for the cardio portions. This leads to the mistaken identification of circuit training as cardio and not strength. While some will classify this form of workout as strength training the weights and resistance normally used do not challenge the muscles to the same degree a dedicated strength workout would. This is general fitness training not specific to either strength or cardio. Most of the boot camp workouts are structured this way

An earlier but still used out door version of this form of workout was developed in France by George Herbert. H├ębert was among the earliest proponents of the "parcours" or obstacle course form of physical training, which is now standard in the military and has led to the development of civilian fitness trails and confidence courses. In fact, woodland challenge courses comprising balance beams, ladders, rope swings and so-on are often still described as "Hebertism" or "Hebertisme" courses both in Europe and in North America. A current name for them is fitness trails.

A training session consists of exercises in an outdoor environment, a course of greater or lesser distance (a few hundred meters to several kilometers), during which, one walks, one runs, one jumps, one progresses quadrupedally, one climbs, one walks in unstable balance, one raises and one carries, one throws, one fights and one swims. The course can be carried out in 2 ways:

1. The natural or spontaneous way; i.e., on an unspecified route through the countryside.
2. A structured course within an especially designed environment.

All of the exercises are carried out while progressing through this environment with the session lasting from 20 to 60 minutes.

Each of these exercise formats has specific goals; circuit training for strength improvement with an added cardio benefit and the last two oriented toward general fitness by combining different exercise components. By assigning each its proper name communication improves and confusion as to what is meant when identifying a workout is prevented.
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    It's always a pleasure to learn from you. I hope you are doing well and enjoying the summer.
    2844 days ago
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