You will find a lot of people looking at their watches and clocks in any health club. They are trying to figure out when they should go to the next set. You will also see people moving from one machine to the next in an attempt to increase their heart rate with circuit training. Let me briefly explain what station training is and the differences between it and circuit training. I will also discuss how this can benefit your workouts.
What Is Circuit Training?
Circuit training can be defined as programmed resistance training, where exercises are set up in a circuit fashion. Participants move from one station to the next without stopping. The participant is considered to have completed the “one circuit” after completing all the exercises.
Circuit training comes with many benefits and is designed to increase heart rate, allowing the body to burn more calories than just station training. Research shows that circuit training can burn between 10-15% and 15% more calories than station training.
Circuit training is more effective than station training because it increases heart rate, ventilation, and substrate (food/fuel) usage. Station training will not have the same cardiovascular effects as circuit training. Circuit training can induce a “residual,” post-workout calorie-burning effect.
This is because your metabolism is accelerated and then kept tight wound for many hours. Recent research has disproved these claims, so we can’t help but wonder what our post-workout “burn” is.
Circuit training has the downside of causing your body to respond differently to training stimuli. This means that your body is sensitive to time limits, which will dictate your hormonal response. Let’s say you are doing a back-squat (one of the most popular exercises) and that you are circuiting.
The Human Growth Hormone, a powerful fat-burning hormone, will be lost. Research clearly shows that you cannot get a shot at Growth Hormone by setting up an exercise program with less than one minute between each set of squats. Circuit training is not possible because it typically takes around 5-8 minutes per station due to all the other exercises.
About Station Training
Programmable resistance training (station training) is a method of training that uses the selected exercises in “stations.” You complete one set of an exercise, then you wait for a predetermined rest period (based upon your goals), and then you repeat the exercise.
You can structure a station-based workout in many ways. One option is to do one set of exercises with a rest period. Another option is to super set, which involves doing one set and another that targets the opposite muscle group.
Station training has the advantage of allowing you to control how your hormones respond to exercise. Station training can create a resistance training program for athletes, such as football players or bodybuilders who are looking to build muscle.
Between sets, your rest times should not exceed one minute. This is because your body will release more Growth Hormones and Testosterone than if you were doing circuit training and only visiting the squat rack once every eight minutes. The body is sensitive about time limits. When a muscle group is “assaulted,” it releases certain hormones. It is important to take breaks.
What Are the Advantages of Circuit Training?
- Cardiovascular conditioning: Increased heart rate
- A higher caloric expenditure (more calories consumed)
- Workouts can be done faster
- An increase in sweating that helps eliminate harmful toxins from the body
- An increase in perceived exertion. This basically means you feel like you’re working harder than station training, even though you technically aren’t.
- Work faster and get more done.
What Are the Disadvantage of Circuit Training?
- Circuit training is not the best option if your goal isn’t general fat-burning, fitness, or muscle building for sport.
- Circuit training activates the aerobic systems, which promotes glucocorticoid (cortisone, cortisone, etc.) These hormones can be counterproductive for strength development and maximum muscular development in sports or bodybuilding.
- It isn’t easy to keep an entire circuit to oneself, as people from typical gyms will be able to invade your circuit in under a minute. It is important to go to the gym during non-busy hours.
- Your strength, muscle growth, and endurance will not go far if you plateau.
Here is a basic guide to the differences between Circuit and Station training. Circuit training is gaining popularity for a good reason. It’s fast-paced, makes you sweat, and takes half the time to complete.
You should avoid circuit training if you are an athlete who needs to develop maximum muscle mass. No matter what situation you are in, I hope you found his article helpful in determining your best strategy. It’s good to live!