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. As a quick aside, if you prefer working out at home for whatever reason, check out HOME WORKOUT CIRCUIT TRAINING: 6 week exercise band workout & bodyweight training for fat loss, strength and muscle tone for good information on circuit training.
At Planet Fitness, 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 anywhere from 5lbs to 15lbs for that exercise (it depends what the smallest increment is for that particular exercise/machine). Otherwise, I increase the weight by the smallest increment 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 and their Amazon store while you're at it.
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