Circuit Training

Circuit training is one of the best forms of physical exercise for maintaining and increasing overall fitness. A well designed circuit will provide a great cardiovascular workout, strengthening the heart and lungs in the process, whilst also improving muscle endurance and building functional strength. This unique combination, of fat burning and muscle building, which singular exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming or weights cannot give, will help to sculpt a lean defined physique.


Benefits of circuit training:


  • They can be tailored to a specific sport, increasing the individual’s fitness and skill at the same time.

  • Circuits can provide a good means of testing fitness, or used for competition amongst multiple trainers.

  • They are bewilderingly versatile; the amount of layouts and exercises that can be included should ensure that the trainer has a new and different session every week for life.

  • Circuits allow the trainer to cram a lot into a small space of time, making them perfect for the person who is busy.

  • And finally, as already stated, circuits are excellent at burning fat and sculpting lean, defined muscle.


What is a circuit?

A circuit could be defined simply as a physical training session that incorporates multiple exercises with little to no rest. The exercises that can be included within a circuit are entirely limited by the imagination of the trainer. You will notice on looking through the circuits that comprise this book, that they contain body weight exercises – press-ups, sit-ups, burpees – cardiovascular exercises – such as running, cycling, rowing – and free weights both endurance – low weight high repetitions – and strength – high weight low repetitions. All this and more can be included into one session making for something very challenging and interesting.

  • Fitness enthusiasts of all levels who desire a challenge – the circuits within this book are more than adequate, due to their innovative designs, cross-training nature and ‘time to beat’, to provide a challenge for individuals of all and any type of exercise discipline and fitness level.

  • Trainers who have lost motivation and inspiration – loss of motivation is usually down to a lack of direction. Not having a training goal or something to aim for can be deadly. Here, within this book, you will find your lost motivation and I am positive that these circuits will provide you with a source of inspiration and aid you in discovering a new direction within physical fitness.

  • Individuals preparing for Armed Forces training – if you are currently training for Armed Forces selection you will undoubtedly know that a high level of all-round fitness is absolutely essential. Well, the 50 delights presented here are perfectly designed for your physical training needs, and I would know as I was once a member of the Royal Marines Commandos. Therefore I fully understand what it takes to pass the physical selection process.


  • People/trainers who want to improve their all-round fitness level whilst having fun – as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, circuit training is the holy grail of cross-training and it is the best possible way to achieve all-round fitness. Completing at least two circuits a week will improve your overall fitness – I can’t guarantee the fun bit though.

  • Boxers, martial artists and mixed martial artists – individuals who practice and/or compete in the aforementioned arts need cardiovascular fitness, muscle endurance and strength. If a mixed martial artist, for example, is lacking in one of these areas they are sure to be exposed at some point during their fight career. Using these circuits as pre-fight/competition training will help to ensure that this is not you.

Why I have included a time to beat

I find it quite frustrating when there are circuits featured within a physical training book, or magazine, which are not accompanied with a time to compete against. How does one know if one has achieved a good time or not if there is nothing to compare it against? One doesn’t is the answer. And it is for this reason why I, unlike so many other authors of fitness books, have included my times for each circuit. This not only demonstrates that I practice what I preach, but it provides you with something to aim for, which is vitally important.


Why is my time a good standard to aim for? Good question you at the back. I am not going to spend this paragraph bragging about the fact that I have ran marathons, half marathons, ultra long distance marathons, triathlons and completed for fun a five hour multi stage fitness challenge, a 24 hour nonstop fitness challenge, and that I was one of the youngest recruits ever to pass Royal Marines Commando basic training, which is considered the toughest in the world, with the original troop. No, I utterly refuse to brag or mention any of the great achievements above. Instead what I am going to do, because I’m confident in my supreme level of fitness, is let the ‘Time to beat’ of each of the 50 circuits do the talking.


Explanation of the circuit layout

To save confusion, I have provided you with a brief explanation of the circuit layout and how you should perform them. Of course, you do not have to follow this advice and make each one your own.  

  • Spend a little time familiarising yourself with the layout so that you do not either miss something out, or worse, include more into the main session, as this will affect your chances of beating the time.

  • Underneath the title will be a bit of chit chat regarding the circuit and how it stimulates the body.

  • Below the chit chat you will find out How it works: this is a brief explanation of how the circuit works and how it should be completed. Included within this (underneath and labelled key points) you will find a bullet pointed breakdown of all the key information within the circuit explanation.


  • Mandatory warm-up = you must complete the mandatory warm-up before starting the main session. Remember though, the mandatory warm-up is NOT included within the ‘Time to beat’.


  • Session = this is the bit that you have to attack with all of your heart and sole as it is timed. The exercises within the session will be numbered and sometimes bullet pointed. Whatever exercises are underneath ‘Session’ have to be finished before you stop the clock.


  • Cool-down = some, not all, of the sessions will include a ‘cool-down’ section – this must be done. The cool-down is NOT included within the overall time.


  • Totals = here I have tallied up either the total distance covered, total repetitions performed, total kilograms lifted and time to beat – or a combination of the four.

  • General advice/rules = is exactly that, advice on the circuit; i.e. how a certain exercise is to be performed for example, or rules, such as no standing up on the cycling phase or arms fully straight on the pull-ups etc.

Circuit Modification

The circuits have been pitted at an advanced level. However, this does not mean that they cannot be accessed by intermediate trainers or beginners. All the circuits can be modified or adapted to suit your current fitness level and any exercise that features within a circuit can be substituted for one that is more preferable.

You will notice on opening the circuits that they are set at an advanced level. There is a reason for this. If the circuits were easy then advanced and possibly intermediate trainers would not derive much benefit from them. However, circuits set at an advanced level will provide something for all levels of fitness – let me explain.


A beginner may look at one of the many amazing circuits within and think that it is above their current level of fitness. A person who thinks this should a) slap the back of their hand for thinking something is above them, and b) slap their face for not using their imagination – nature fought hard for that unimaginably complex brain. All the beginner, or intermediate, trainer would do is simply reduce the weights/reps and times to suit what they are currently capable of. Then, as their fitness starts to improve, every time the circuit is re-attempted the weights/reps and times could be increased in accordance. This would be done until the circuit is completed to the exact standards laid out; in doing this one circuit could provide multiple sessions.


All of the circuits were completed in a public gym/leisure complex making them more accessible to a wider audience. 


A quick word on the circuits before you start

The circuits are in no specific order in relation to the time they took to finish or how physically demanding I considered them to be. They were written when my mind randomly conceived them and written up and completed the next day. 


© 2020 Created by A. J. Priest & L. J. Allen

Hungry 4 Fitness

  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram