Do you hate cardio and aerobic training? The repetitive, sweaty, tedious nature of this kind of exercise can turn a lot of people away. Most people just can’t stay motivated doing jumping jacks, running on treadmills, or riding in a hurry to nowhere on a stationary bicycle. The disdain for this kind of exercise is understandable, but the problem is that people assume this is a prerequisite. When discouraged by the unpleasantness of cardio and aerobics, people abandon the whole thing with an “eh screw it” sentiment.
Fortunately, there is an alternative that’s more engaging and more effective. Unfortunately, few people seem to be as aware of this alternative. We want to remedy this problem, and so we shall. Let’s talk about an excellent alternative to aerobics and cardio – the dynamic circuit.
This isn’t a computer part, nor a piece of exercise equipment, but a different take on exercise management. Cardio and aerobics are high-intensity, repetitive actions. However, dynamic circuits are flowing motions that transition from upper to lower body, and back, with little to no intervals of rest nor breaks.
The advantages of this are many. For one, it’s much more engaging than mindless and stationary repetition. While it’s more impactful and demanding of the body, the variation and locomotion involved can kind of disguise that fact. This is a good psych trick to keep you motivated and from becoming bored nor frustrated.
It can also allow for a lot more variation. We’re going to go over a handful of these circuits in a minute. The great thing is that you can mix and match, as long as the transitions work together, and you evenly focus on lower and upper body through the routines.
Another added benefit is that these also provide some good stretching, and work your mind, with coordination and attention to the motion being important. The lack of significant rest between these sessions can also help enhance stick-to-itiveness, endurance, and focus.
Does this sound like something you’d be more into than the monotony and boredom of classic cardio and aerobics? Well, that’s great, let’s take a look at a few of the most common ones. These aren’t the only ones going, and if you have a little knowledge of fitness, you can, of course, formulate your own variations or completely new routines. These are good starting points.
Before we get into them, one caveat. A lot of these may not be the best idea for people with back or joint issues, as they do involve a lot of stretching, awkward positions, and demanding movements. Rheumatoid arthritis, spinal problems, heart conditions, and other health issues can be very incompatible with dynamic circuit training.
Body Weight Turkish Get-Up
Start on your back with one arm held up, one leg bent. Shift your weight to your other side, gradually pushing yourself up. Get to your feet while still holding your weight on your other arm, before getting to a one-knee stance, your held out arm now vertical above you. Get to your feet to complete the circuit. Do multiple reps, alternating sides. You can kind of reverse to get back to the starting position if you like.
Inchworm Walkouts to Reverse Lungs with Arms Overhead
You don’t start on the ground with this one, and it’s a lot easier as a beginner technique. With your feet hips apart, bend at the waist and place your hands on the floor. Walk forward on your hands with your feet stationary. Hold this for five to ten seconds, before getting back to a standing position. Hold your hands overhead vertically, and bend to a one-knee position, but don’t let your knee touch the ground, bending on the ball of your back-stretched foot.
Side Lunge to Single-leg Balance
This exercise is one that you never get down on the ground for, which for people who have a hard time getting off the ground, makes it ideal. Start once more with your feet hip-width apart, and step to the right. When your foot touches the ground, push weight onto this hip. Reach with your left hand to your right foot, bending and outstretching your left leg through the whole motion. When getting back to a standing position, lift your right leg up, achieving a balance.
Do about twelve reps of this, six for each side for properly balanced effectiveness.
Squat to Pushup
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart, pushing your hips back into a standard squat, arms stretched forward from your chest. Bend at your waist, placing your hands on the floor. Slide into a pushup position and complete a pushup. You can do several pushups between each squat, but making each rep a single motion of each is easier and safer overall.
Transverse Lunge with Reach to Foot
Once more with your feet hip-width apart, step back with your right foot, and rotate on your hip. This movement should result in you now being at the four o’clock position. Reach down next, touching your right foot with your left arm, your right hand reaching behind you and up ward (which will require you to rotate your hip more). Use your right foot to push yourself back to your standing position. You want twelve to fifteen reps for this one, and you’ll want to be especially slow and deliberate, so you don’t agitate your hip or shoulders.
Side Plank with Rotation
This exercise is only recommended for those without shoulder or back problems because it involves planking and you can hurt yourself very, very badly with this one.
Begin on your side with your legs atop one another. Rest on your elbow with your arm bent so your forearm points away from you. Bend your other arm at the elbow so that your hand touches your cheek or the back of your head. Bend at the hip and lower back, so you face downward, legs still in place, supporting arm still in place, but your bent elbow touches the ground.
Alternate sides, and don’t exceed about eight reps with this one, and never start your routine with this one.
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