Circuit training is a great way for seniors – or anybody else, for that matter – to get in a good quality workout and maximize time available for exercise.

In short, circuit training is a method of weight or strength training that maximizes your time and effort, and is great for weight loss, and gaining or preserving muscle mass and overall strength.

So what is it?

Basically, what circuit training means is performing various upper body and lower body strength exercises, one after the other, with little to no rest in between sets.

One way to do it is like this:

A chest exercise like bench press and a leg exercise like step-ups. Do a set of bench press immediately followed by a set of step-ups. Back to the bench press and then another set of step-ups. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions each like this.

Then move to a back exercise, like cable rows, and an arm exercise like dumbbell curls. Do 3 sets each, 10 repetitions per set, moving continuously back and forth between exercises.

Next, a shoulder exercise, like shoulder press, and maybe another arm exercise, like triceps press. Same as the other movements – 3 sets of 10 repetitions each; no rest between sets (except briefly to catch your breath, if needed).

Each one of those “supersets” described above will take between 5 and 10 minutes each. Probably in the neighborhood of 20 minutes total.
You can do these and other exercises for the same muscle groups on various machines and using “free weights” (dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells). If you don’t have an experienced workout partner or somebody else to help out, it’s not a bad idea at all to ask for professional help to get you started.

Now, to wrap things up, you should do some light stretching and some balance work.

When you are performing step-ups, for example, you can incorporate a balance component by standing on one foot for a moment as you step up onto the platform. An exercise called lunges requires a certain level of strength and balance, so lunges are a great exercise. Also, practicing various yoga poses like standing on one foot.

Make sure when you do balance exercises that you have something nearby to reach out and hold onto for stability, if needed.

Finish up with some light upper and lower body stretching to help improve and maintain flexibility. It also just plain feels good to stretch.

Because of its continuous movement, circuit training is as beneficial – some say even more so – than cardio training (using a treadmill or elliptical machine, for example). And you can pack an excellent workout into 30 to 40 minutes, easy.

There are many, many different ways to do a circuit training routine. One you can do at home is shown below.

Find one you like and try it out.

You can do it!

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