How to do circuit training in a busy gym

machines1aGetting fit has become quite a popular pastime recently and the New Year’s Resolution crowd will be along shortly making your gym unbearably busy.

As you’re probably aware, circuit training, particularly with weights, is one of the best ways of burning fat and pushing your fitness levels to new extremes.

The purpose of this article is to give you a few ideas of how to train hard if you cannot avoid the busiest times in your gym. So here are my tips in no particular order:

  • You may incorporate a barbell as part of your training; in your typical gym, there may only be 2-3 barbells and you’ll find it difficult to hold on to one during peak times so consider using fixed dumbbells instead.
  • When using dumbbells, consider varying the sizes with reps so if you have to use a heavier dumbbell then do fewer reps and similarly if you have to use a lighter dumbbell, do more reps, for instance, if you normally use 10kg for 15 reps try 7.5kg for 20 reps. Obviously, there might be a limit to the size that you can realistically use but by having this option, it might mean you don’t have to wait so long for your next set in the circuit.
  • Consider High Intensity Interval Training – for instance, 30 seconds of exercise, 30 seconds rest for 10 minutes. If someone wants to do a set with the dumbbells you’re using then they have a 30 second window. Of course, if they take longer, let them. Your next 30 seconds begins when they finish. This delay would add a bit of variation and you might even make a new training buddy!
  • Try compound exercises – exercises which use the whole body and therefore burn more fat: dumbbell push press, dumbbell hang cleans, dumbbell high pulls and dumbbell swings are just a few.
  • Check out Starting Strength for more info on compound lifting

  • If you cannot find the right weight for your strength, try bodyweight exercises – it may require a bit of ingenuity but for circuit training/fat burning purposes, you won’t necessarily need to use heavy equipment. Instead of bench pressing, try push ups or one handed push ups; instead of squats, try shrimp squats or lunges; instead of shoulder presses try V push ups.

With these simple changes to your routine, you can avoid the frustration that is guaranteed in January!