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It’s a difficult question to answer. Circuit training — moving quickly from high-rep exercise to exercise with few or no breaks — has been around since 1953.
Yes, the ’50s. The same decade that brought us the Bongo Board.
“Yes, sir. The girls are falling for Bongo in a big way,” someone said in a commercial for the exercise device.
Over the years, circuit training was overshadowed by trendier workouts, like jazzercise, the Jane Fonda workout, the Thighmaster and Zumba.
But it became more of a household name after actor Bruce Lee did a series of circuits with a weight training machine to get in shape for his 1973 film “Enter the Dragon.”
“I think circuits are popular because you can maximize your time in a lot of ways,” Smith said.
Personal trainer Jeff Smith says circuit training has become a bit of a catch-all phrase — no longer just strength-training exercises.
“Depending on how it’s set up, it can be — I mean you can use it for a variety of different means — you know, cardiovascular fitness, strength training, weight loss, body comp issues,” Smith said.
You’ll need to create a circuit around exercises that will help with your goal — whether that’s cardio, adding muscle, losing weight or toning a specific area.
Many studies have looked at the effectiveness of circuit training. Some looked at how it helped obese men lose weight, others looked at how circuit training increased cardiovascular health in the elderly and another found it helps increase muscular endurance in school children.
All were different participants, completing different circuits with the hopes of very different outcomes.
Still, the American College of Sports Medicine points out if you’re looking for a workout you can do in a short time and one that will get your heart pumping, circuit training is a good choice.
This video includes clips from Parade Video, Lorimar Home Video, Thighmaster, Zumba Fitness and Warner Bros. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.
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