Circuit Training at Home

January 28, 2009 10:12:05 AM PST
Studies have shown that interval training combining strength training and cardiovascular activity at different intensities provides a more time-efficient workout than participating in traditional aerobic and weight training sessions. With an increase in popularity of circuit training, many gyms are even setting up their own circuits to allow their members an easy path to fitness. But you don't have to join a gym or pay a personal trainer to get the benefits of circuit training, says Sean Armstead of Phenomenal Fitness . He has created a circuit program you can do at home.

To start you'll need some simple equipment that isn't expensive or that you may already have at home: skip rope, stationary bike, treadmill, or cross-trainer, plus one Stability Ball

Begin by engaging in a predetermined timed cardio (1-5 minutes) interval; after an adequate warm-up. The cardio effort should place stimulating demand on your energy systems.

Follow that with exercise one, then repeat cardio interval, move on to exercise 2, return to cardio interval, then onto exercise 3. Finally, you finish where you began with a brisk and challenging cardio effort. Pace yourself, the goal is to not rest (unless needed for safety and common sense) until you complete each exercise using the stability ball and cardio interval.

1. Stability ball push-up (optional), pushback, knee tuck

Hands on the floor, shoulder width apart and directly aligned with shoulders. Depending on upper body and core strength; feet, shins or knees on the ball. (Execute a pushup, resume the plank,) push backwards then pull forwards (while maintain tension in the glutes and lower midsection) to resume the plank. While applying tension to the ball with the knees, tuck toward the chest without altering the hand shoulder vertical alignment. Resume the original plank position

· shoulders and triceps
· core (target lower abs)
· hips (glutes)
· thighs
· overall balance and stability

2. Stability ball overhead side bend

While holding stability ball overhead with well aligned body segments (wrists, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle vertical alignment) move through the midsection side to side. Smooth continuous motion. Knees can be bent. Alternating side bending

· lateral core muscles
· triceps and shoulders

3. Stability ball hip back extension

Lying belly down on the stability ball with feet wider than shoulder width (ideally against the base of a wall). Drive hips into the ball while extending thru the hips secondly thru the low back. Most of the muscle tension going thru the butt muscles. Avoid excessive tension in the low back, prioritize tension in the glutes. As you extend thru the hips maintain good posture in upper body (shoulder blades down with normal spine position)

· Glutes
· Low back
· Stabilizing muscles of middle back

For more information, contact Sean Armstead at Phenomenal Fitness