Circuit training has gone in and out of fashion, several times over the years. Sometimes, it is perceived to be the greatest workout technique ever, while at other times, it is seen as ineffective and old fashioned. The truth of the matter, however, is that circuit training – like any other fitness technique – can be very effective when used correctly or in a non-abusive way.
So, what is Circuit Training?
Circuit training is a combination of different types of exercises that are performed one after the other. Circuit training stands out from other training exercises because its exercises tend to flow into each other, and there is often little or no time at all to rest, in between them. For example, you could have a circuit training that goes intermittently like this: 10 push-ups, into 10 squats, into 10 lunges, into 10 crunches, all without any rest. Sometimes, there could be a rest period between these exercises, but it will be deliberately kept short so you can only catch your breath and nothing more.
Circuit training can essentially be tweaked to suit different goals. So, if you are looking at building strong muscles, your circuit could involve resistance exercises that concentrate on form and tempo, rather than on speed. On the other hand, if you are focused on burning maximal calories, you’d concentrate on keeping the intensity high and using more cardio-based exercises. For example Burpees, mountain climbers, running on the spot, or step-ups.
Generally, circuit training usually consists of aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
Anaerobic Exercises: Also referred to as strength training, they are exercises that require a short burst of energy for movement. Their purpose majorly is to help build and tone muscles. Think of push-ups and pull-ups.
Aerobic Exercises: The word “Aerobic” means “needs oxygen.” This tells you that getting into these types of exercises makes your heart rate go higher, inducing the need for more energy. Running, biking or jumping jacks would be great examples of aerobic exercise.
With circuit training, one’s expected to do both categories of exercises. And since you aren’t stopping much in between these exercises, your heart rate goes higher – and you’ll need more oxygen.
A typical circuit training should work each section of the body individually. It includes:
Upper-body (Push-ups, Bench dips, back extensions, medicine ball chest pass, bench press, inclined press-up, etc)
Core & trunk (Sit-ups, stomach crunch, back extension chest raise, etc)
Lower-body (Squat jumps, compass jumps, astride jumps, step-ups, shuttle runs, hopping shuttles, bench squats, etc)
*Total-body (Burpees, treadmills, squat thrusts, skipping, jogging, etc)
Benefits that accrue from circuit training include:
- Maximum results in minimum time.
Nobody has hours a day to spend in the gym – except fitness trainers. Circuit training is the perfect workout for a time-deprived workout. You can set up as many or as few exercises as you’d like, and then continue through the circuit until your time runs out. Whether you have 15 minutes or an hour, you can always fit-in an effective, total-body workout, with circuit training.
- You get the best of two worlds
Circuit training offers the best of both worlds i.e cardio and weight exercises, by allowing you to combine intervals of high-intensity cardio with heavy weight lifting for a comprehensive and effective fitness session.
- Helps soar your metabolism
With circuit training, you can tune your fat-burning furnace into high gears. All thanks to the many high-intensity interval training and heavy weight lifting, you’ll be able to cut down on more calories in 20 minutes than you would in an entire hour of reading a magazine.
What to look out for In A Heart Rate Monitor For Circuit Training
When it comes to heart rate monitors, there are several products available on the market. This multiplicity of choices can often confuse a prospective buyer. So, how do you choose the best heart rate monitor for circuit training? Well, there are a lot of factors to consider when shopping for an excellent heart rate monitor for circuit training. We’ve helped you put together some of the most important factors to consider, on this list.
It makes no sense to carry around a heart rate monitor whose screen isn’t so visible, all day. It’s recommended that you go for heartbeat monitors with clear, bigger displays, as that makes reading easier.
This factor comes down to personal preference, but before you buy, consider whether you’d be more comfortable with a slim strap or a wider one. Most modern heart rate monitors come with more than one strap with different width.
Yes, we know that heart rate monitors display heartbeat rates in real-time. But did you know that beyond this fundamental function, most modern heart rate monitors perform some other cool functionalities. It thus becomes paramount that you decide on the features that are must-have to you and make a heart rate monitor choice that fits those needs. Some of the features that heart rate monitor come with include:
As fitness wearables, heart rate monitors also sometimes help in tracking distance or steps covered by a user. This helps to easily calculate how many calories have been burnt.
Having adequate sleep is essential for every human, young or old. An important feature that New Gen heart rate monitors come with, is sleep tracking. With this functionality in a fitness tracker, a user can determine how well-rested he or she is, and how much rest they need for their age.
Accuracy and Real-time Responsiveness
In choosing the best heart rate monitor out of an array that’s available on the market, you should consider the fitness wear’s accuracy and real-time responsiveness. Some heart rate monitors are notable for long delays in reporting heartbeat readings as you work out. Ideally, the heart rate monitor should be able to continuously track your heartbeat rate, and display the same, as your heartbeat rate spontaneously moves up and down.
Having a great and excellent heart rate monitor is cool – accepted. But such an excellent device would be useless if it dies so easily. You won’t be in a position to get the most out of a great fitness device that powers off after a short while of usage.
Of course, most of these fitness trackers have a rechargeable battery. Still, it makes more sense to go for a heart rate monitor that wouldn’t easily run down battery-wise, and keep you in the dark about your heart rate when you need it the most.
Everyone – young and old – wants to look good and appear nicely. There are indeed plenty of heart rate monitors out that are just ugly and heavy. It’s therefore important to be eagle-eyed when shopping, for the best-looking fitness tracker that they’ll love and be proud of, from day to day. Whether you are a male or female, you’ll see plenty of beautiful heart rate monitor designs to choose from.
You don’t want a heart rate monitor that literally pinches you, or do you?
To forestall that, it’s necessary to get a heart rate monitor that’s very comfortable and puts you at ease. A wrist-worn heart rate tracker that you would, for example, have to periodically unstrap, to make your wrist enjoy some fresh air, isn’t worth it. Fitness trackers with paddings or holes in its straps should do just fine.
Why should I Use a Heart Rate Monitor for Circuit Training
Heart rate (HR) and circuit training go hand in hand. Heart rate monitors remain an important tool for tracking heart rate performance. They help to measure a user’s stress response and progress over time. With HR monitoring, you have better physiological and reliable information that you can use to optimize work and rest periods.
Helps to put you within safe limits
Measuring the intensity of your heart rate is also a great way to be sure you won’t overexert yourself ever again. After finding the right heart rate for yourself, you can control the maximum intensity that is right for your body and age group! Yes, as cool as exercises are, overtraining might lead to lowering your motivation and sometimes even to injuries! With heart rate monitor, you’ll be safer during your workouts.
Most heart rate monitors for circuit training on the market track lots of health parameters, asides heart rate monitoring. They collect data on calorie level, blood pressure, sleep patterns, temperature, and many more other health indices that matter. This is because the aforementioned vital signs are indeed very crucial to monitor the health of the users.
Let’s face it: Daily workouts are expected to bring positive improvements on one’s health. So, how do you go about tracking whether there’s been an improvement? Heart rate wearables! These wears help keep records of the duration spent before hitting a particular heart rate level, and whether there were improvements in subsequent sessions. Essentially, these monitors help to facilitate continuous analysis of heart rate improvements or regressions, during workouts.
Best Heart Rate Monitor for Circuit Training
1. Garmin HRM-Tri
Garmin HRM-Tri is a small, light-weight heart rate monitor from the stable of Garmin. Its straps are creatively designed with soft rounded edges and no exposed seams, making them comfortable to use for extended hours of training. It is suitable to be worn when running, cycling and open water swimming. Simply bi-folding it, helps reduce the elastic weight and make sizing easy.
- Item Weight: 2.08 Ounces
- Brand Name: Garmin
- Color: Black
- Comfortability: HRM-Tri is the lightest heart rate monitor yet, from Garmin. Its rounded edges and unexposed seams make the strap comfortable for long hour usage.
- Data storage: The monitor helps to store up to 20 hours of heart rate data during workouts, then forwards it to a compatible device at the end of the session.
- Several functionalities: It provides feedback on the user’s form by measuring cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time when paired with a compatible device
- Longlasting Power- It boasts of juice that can last for up to 10 months (assuming 1 hour/day use). Its battery is also with user-replaceable.
- Pairing: The strap can also be paired with the Garmin Forerunner 920XT multisport watch, for real-time heart rate information
- Rubber closure flap can cut a user to shreds if used on bared, uncovered skin
- It fizzles out at the time for battery replacement
- It remains unusable if it’s not connected to another device
2. Polar Ignite
Polar Ignite is a slim smartwatch. It combines the latest in health tracking sensors, to deliver reliable circuit training heart rate tracking.
- Item weight: 12.8 ounces
- Brand name: Polar
- Due to its lightweight, mildness on the skin and waterproof feature, it can be worn all day long
- It possesses a rechargeable battery that lasts for much longer. A full charge can last for more than 48hours.
- With its Integrated GPS feature, it can keep account of distance covered, speed and location
- Its top-notch suggestive work-out functionality helps take care of your work-out plans & routines
- Asides tracking a user’s heart rate in real-time, the device is also usable for aggregating other data of your work-out including a breakdown of calories burnt.
- Slight Inconsistency in uploading and syncing of data
- Reconfiguration every time at the start of new workouts
- It can’t function unless paired with another device
3. MyZone MZ-3
MZ-3 is an excellent Heart Rate Monitor chest strap that’s perfect for your circuit training. This amazing wear has comfy straps and its data are very reliable.
- Item weight: 5.6 ounces
- Brand name: My Zone
- Model name: MZ-3 (Running belt)
- Can wirelessly connect to third-party apps and devices
- Does live tracking of your heart rate while in circuit training
- Furnishes users with accurate data on calories burnt and other health indices
- Possesses a spectacular and amazing battery life that can last for more than 6 months, after a full charge
- It has a massive in-built memory that can amass up to 16hours of circuit training health tracking data, on a stretch
- It costs a lot to purchase
- Its functionality is mainly restricted to monitoring heart rate
- It takes a while before a connection can be created between the belt and app
- Slow responses in the connected app when viewing work out records.
Exercises kill! Yes, you saw that clearly. Strenuous and overboard circuit training that take your heart rate into levels that are improper for your age group, is dangerous for your health. Its therefore recommended that go pick a heart rate monitor device today and include it in your circuit training lifestyle, before its too late.