This article is about a great training method called "circuit training". The fantastic gym, or should I say, non-gym, Planet Fitness, has an area specifically for circuit training called their 30 minute express circuit.
There are 20 numbered stations; 10 are step platforms and 10 are various machines for strength training. Some of the typical strength training machines are:
Above your head or on the wall is a timer with a light. The idea is when the green light is on you do 1 minute of exercise. Then the red light will come on for 30 seconds, and you make the transition to the next station in order.
Here are some photos of what these areas look like in some different Planet Fitness locations:
They have some general advice on some posters on how to use the circuit, but here's how I'm using it. For stepping, I usually just do the basic step up/step down; nothing fancy. For the strength training machines, I choose a weight such that it is very challenging to lift at a slowish speed for 1 minute of time under tension. If I reach temporary muscle failure in that minute, next time I workout, I reduce the weight by 5lbs for that exercise. Otherwise, I increase the weight by 5lbs for that exercise for the next time I workout.
Here is a screenshot of my spreadsheet to keep track of the machines and weight used.
I think that having an area specifically reserved for circuit training (with real strength training machines with weight stacks) is fantastic. In other gyms, one typically cannot "reserve" many machines or areas at once, nor is keeping track of the time and transition between exercises done for you. I doubt many gym-goers are aware of the huge benefits of circuit training for strength and "cardio". Planet Fitness got it right with this.
I hope you found this information useful and that it helps with your exercise goals. Check out Planet Fitness while you're at it.
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