Circuits… Yes or No? Part 5
Lets use the last blog n this series to go into more details on my system for running circuits. After all, as a coach your main aim has to be improving your clients, not destroying them. I believe there are some simple steps that you can take that can have your circuit classes not only giving the clients what they want, but what they need!
- Limit classes to no more than 15: There needs to be a happy medium between giving quality and running a functioning business. 99% of trainers are in this job for the right reasons, they want to help others but it can be hard to refuse business, so what happens is they try and accommodate clients and add more stations. It is easy to push people and have them sweating but addressing movement problems becomes an issue. By limiting the numbers of our groups to 15, it allows us to address more peoples issues and a better chance of explaining the movements to the entire group.
- Keep classes short in duration: The problem with limiting numbers is you have to do double the work. Not necessarily. Circuit classes should be looked on as a way to get beginners into exercise. The idea that you need to work for an hour is flawed. It comes for the same school of thought as you must do reps of 10. The length of time required to improve the body will vary from individual to individual but I can guarantee that for beginners, 30 minutes of work 3 is more than enough to begin with. Think of someone with ginger hair sitting out in the sun. After about 15 minutes, they have triggered a melanin response. The Minimum Effective Dose. Anything over that is overkill and just going to lead to burning. Same for training. If the Minimum Effective Dose required to trigger a response is 25-30 minutes, then anything over that is just causing damage and having no positive response on the body. Another reason I don’t believe in pushing to failure is that allows the Central Nervous System (CNS) to accept the workload and not treat it as a threat. This allows for you to be able to complete more classes throughout the week and not feel drained. More classes with less reps but BETTER QUALITY reps equates to more total volume lifted over that week.
- Keep the exercises as simple as possible and limited to the ones used most often: This again goes back to the fact that many joining a circuit class will not have used their body to its fullest for quite some time. It is common to find that simple movements for those training regularly can be challenging for the beginner. At Primal Strength & Movement we keep things as simple as possible
- Repeat these exercises over and over again. “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times -Bruce Lee- A powerful quote with a lot of truth in it. In order to become proficient in a movement, you must repeat it over and over and over. It is simple, you should not load dysfunctional movement, so to give a beginner who has not yet mastered a bodyweight squat or hinge, a weight and ask them to do the exercise correctly is, in my opinion, the sign of bad coaching. The intelligent thing to do is start each person with the easiest movement and progress the individual as they master each level, i.e. chop & pop, Goatbag swing, deadlift, Swing, Single arm swing etc etc. It is worth repeating, a circuit cals should always have the aim of teaching movements so as other options like Small Group Training become less intimidating. The other reason I like to repeat the same exercises over and over is that is is an easy way of measuring progress. If by the end of the circuit program you are able to lift more weight with as good technique, or complete more reps and feel less fatigued at the end of the session, you then know you have improved.
- Mobility is key: Todays modern lifestyle has lead to literally MILLIONS of us lacking basic mobility. Over time this leads to a whole host of medical issues. Movement is medicine and if you aren’t moving, you are dying! Increasing the ROM (range of movement) in the joints can help almost everyone to enjoy pain free lives. It is my opinion that the standard way of coaching circuits is flawed, stretch before, workout, stretch at end. I prefer to have the mobility work as part of the workout for two reasons:
- It means everyone accumulates a lot of time spent mobilising
- It allows us to add the best bang for buck exercises for the biggest problem areas. i.e. T spine, hips, shoulders, ankles.
We believe that everyone can become stronger and move freely through lifting weights, improving their mobility and unlocking new movement patterns. Barbells, kettlebells, bodyweight and movement form the basis of our methods. The purpose of our programming is to improve you, not destroy you. We believe in better: Move better, look better, feel better.
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