No announcement yet.

Question on weights training

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Question on weights training

    Hi there,

    Recently in my training program I have been experimenting with doing short circuits or rounds. The way I do this is to select 3-5 different exercises with a designated amount of reps depending on the goal of the workout. If we were focusing on endurance we would do 15 reps on an exercise, move to the next one with little-no rest, 15 reps and continue until we have completed the circuit. We will do the circuit 3 times.

    I have attempted two different variations of this training and I was wondering if anyone had some knowledge on which would produce the best results.

    The variation would be to chose 3-5 exercises all from the same muscle group. So we would work on chest and triceps, 3-5 different exercises for 3 rounds. This means your muscles get fatigued quite quickly so by the end of the rounds you’re are using a lot less weight and often failing to make your target reps (unless you take the weight down even more). Then we would do a round on back and bicep, then shoulders and legs. This is a body builder split but we would do it all in one workout. It is essentially a full body workout but split into groups.

    The second variation would be to vary the 3-5 exercises depending on general muscle groups e.g. exercise one would be dumbbell press, then move on to lat pull downs, then move on to flies, then move on to a shoulder exercise. This way we are alternating the muscle groups and giving each group a short time to rest between sets. The advantage of this kind of workout is that you seem to get more reps in at a higher weight because your muscles don’t feel as fatigued as if you were to focus a whole circuit on one muscle group.

    So which of these two will give you the most significant progress. Maybe they both have their merits or disadvantages. Any info would be greatly received.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Dan_The_Man View Post
    So which of these two will give you the most significant progress. Maybe they both have their merits or disadvantages. Any info would be greatly received.
    Your statement above, "Maybe they both have their merits or disadvantages" is a smart one. Often, it's not a matter so much of right and wrong, but advantages and disadvantages, and also a matter of "this workout is fine -- but is not correctly targeted to my training objectives". Which means, since you do not discuss your training objectives at all, it will be hard for anyone to say if your workout is optimized for you. In fact, instead of arguing which circuit style workout is best for you, it might be that you shouldn't be doing a circuit style workout at all --I dunno, since I don't know what you're trying to do.

    But some general, broad statements. Your first workout, single muscle group per round, will emphasize increases in muscular endurance over increases in max strength, for the exactly the reasons you cite: those muscles and the CNS pathways will get tired, the weight you'll use will go down, etc. You may still be working both strength and endurance -- it's not an either/or thing -- it's a matter of where the gains will be more concentrated. In the other method, where you change targets in the circuit, you'll be able to do higher weights, you'll work max strength relatively more and endurance relatively less.

    So, is endurance a little more important to you? Then use the first method. Max strength a little more? Use the second method. Both? Change it up between workouts. Also, consider hybrid methods: on Monday you do the first type circuit that emphasizes endurance, then Tuesday you do a full body max strength workout (no circuit), rest Wednesday, endurance circuit Thursday, max strength Friday, etc.

    The big red flag for me for your workouts is that, if you're targeting martial arts type attributes, I would strongly counsel avoiding bodypart splits and isolation type exercises (except in rare cases like injury or imbalances), and stick with complex, realistic movements. My last circuit looked like this:

    4 3-minute rounds, separated by 1 minute rests.

    Each round looks like:
    30s burpees
    30s pushups
    30s sledgehammer righty
    30s sledgehammer lefty
    30s body rows
    30s dips
    I like that circuit because it has everything: strength movements, endurance movements, explosive movements. And it demolishes the entire body, and your cardio. I believe a circuit for martial fitness should look much more like this, than one that uses bodypart splits or isolation movements like lat pulldowns or flies. Easy enough to come up with a similar one that uses all weightlifting movements if you don't want to do burpees or sledgehammer in your circuits.

    To me, if you're doing circuit workouts, you should also consider doing max strength/explosiveness workouts on other days.


    • #3
      What you're describing sound similar to a training concept called Metabolic Conditioning. The term covers a wide variety of training methods and can be used to sport specific energy system conditioning or for weight loss.

      I personally work with a large number of people who are interested in losing weight so I generally use between 3-5 exercises and have then circulate though the circuit for between 10-20 minutes depending on their level of conditioning. A typical circuit I would use would be as follows:

      Squat Row 8 reps
      Push Up 8 reps
      Bulgarian Squat 8 reps per side
      1 Arm Row 8 reps per side
      Kettelbell swing 8 reps

      With this particular cycle, I would have a client cycle through for about 20 minutes using a weight that allows little more than 8 reps. Cycles like this generally increase EPOC "Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption" or metabolic rate as well as depleting Glycogen which increase the release of hormones in the body known as Catecholamines, several of which are known to increase fat burning.

      You could probably do something similar for 1 muscle group but is seems like overkill... especially since the prime movers would most likely not be given ample time to recover between sets. If you're trying to focus on only one muscle group at a time I'd suggest compound sets: 2 exercise for a specific muscle group done back to back with little or no rest. An example would be bench press followed by peck deck. If you're focusing on muscle growth keep each set between 8-12 reps and use a tempo the keeps the muscles under tension for between 20-60 seconds. After completing both exercises rest for between 45-90 seconds to allow the lactic acid to flush enough from the working muscles to perform another set.


      • #4
        Hi there,

        I should have mentioned that I am a martial artist. This means that I am aiming for all the attributes a good fighter has - a good mix of strength, power and endurance. My main focus is really on power.

        The work outs that I described are only going to make up a small part of my overall programme. At the moment me and my friend are in the process of creating a workout so I am just trying to gain some knowledge so that we can create the best programme possible.

        Do you have any suggestions on some good workouts and a good plan for the next 6 months?


        • #5
          My main focus is really on power
          Unless you're a beginner, none of the exercises you've mentioned will produce big increases in power. Ross Enamait's Infinite Intensity will give you a basic foundation in how to develop strength, endurance, and power simultaneously, describe exercises and routines to develop each, and includes a 50-day program that you can follow exactly or modify to fit you needs. It is focused on fighters. I highly recommend it for you, given your stated goals versus the routines you've described.