Circuit training is basically a large range of exercises aimed at improving an athlete’s lactic acid tolerance within specific muscles and for weaker runners, their strength. It differs from weight training in that, typically, the only resistance that is used is the athlete’s own body weight, as opposed to providing resistance using weights machines or free weights. Occasionally a light weight may be used for specific exercises but this would typically involve many more repetitions than in normal weight training.
Dumbbells can be particularly useful in this respect – and also have the benefit that they are cheap to buy and easy to store.
An individual exercise may use a specific range of muscles or perhaps just one muscle – isolating this from the rest of the body to provide improved strength in this area. An example of this could be a calf raise where only the calf muscle is being used.
What Exercises Should I do?
There is a huge range of circuit training exercises that can be performed. In the following pages we describe some of these and give details of how you might alter them according to your experience and ability.
The exercises that you choose to perform and the way in which you choose to do them will determine whether the session is aimed at improving the muscles strength, size or endurance. Generally a circuits session will be a mixture of anaerobic and aerobic training – providing a good base from which to build the rest of your training, no matter what event you are looking to participate in.