Feb 15, 2018Setting Up Circuits
Circuit training offers a challenging and efficient way for athletes to develop endurance, strength, flexibility, and coordination. It is also an extremely versatile training method that can be adapted to the needs of every sport. In order to get the most out of using circuits, here are some tips to keep in mind.
According to Sports Fitness Advisor, designing the right circuit course can help athletes in a variety of ways. Whatever the area you are hoping to improve (strength, endurance, etc.) there is likely a course that can help make that happen. These exercises are also a great way to supplement weightroom workouts with something fun and refreshing.
The typical circuit structure consists of 10 exercise/stations completed for 60 seconds in sequence with 30-60 seconds of rest in between. This is one model to go off of, but there are many other options to choose from that might be better for your athletes’ specific needs. When designing a course, be sure to consider what exactly you’re hoping to train and how this relates to your sport.
If you are hoping to develop all around fitness, Sports Fitness Advisor recommends completing a variety of resistance exercises and high intensity cardiovascular exercises. Resistance bands, medicine balls, and bodyweight exercises are all great for this type of circuit. With around two to four brief session per week, your athletes will be able to improve their overall physical fitness. Similar to resistance training, athletes should be given 48 hours of rest before training the same muscle group. These circuits are also best for off-season training because you don’t want to overload athletes during the season.
For sport specific strength development, it’s important that athletes first go through a phase of basic strength training where they build a base of muscle. This will help prepare their bodies for the strenuous work of the circuit. For these types of circuits, allow for longer rest intervals and don’t make it so intense that form starts to slacken. That means there will be fewer exercises than most circuits. Also, be sure to alternate muscle groups and incorporate exercises that will help athletes correct muscle imbalances that develop from playing their sport.
Muscular endurance is essential in many sports, and circuit training is a great way to develop this trait. To do this, Sports Fitness Advisor suggests keeping rest intervals short, loads light, and quickly alternate between exercises and muscle groups. This allows for more work to be completed for a longer period of time and creates a cardiovascular element. Be sure to consider the demands of the sport and whether athletes are making short, quick sprints, such as a soccer player, or running straight for longs period of time, such as a track or cross-country runner.
Each of these different types of circuits offer a great way to supplement your other training. They are not meant to be the primary way to build strength or endurance, but they can certainly help athletes improve in a number of areas. When designed properly, circuits can also help address muscle imbalances that form when performing the same movements over and over again. Try to find a way to incorporate this training into your strength and conditioning program in order to help your athletes be their best.