Circuit Training For Beginners: A Handy Guide

circuit training for beginners

As a beginner in the gym and fitness world, you may wonder how to begin training or what kind of training you should invest your time in. There are plenty of classes offered at Village Gym, and a plethora of online resources to get you started on your fitness journey - but if you’re uncertain about your fitness goals, how do you start?

Circuit training is often the answer. This type of training is ideal for those just starting out for various reasons. Let’s delve into circuit training for beginners!

What is Circuit Training?

For those brand new to the fitness world, we need to start by understanding what circuit training is and what it is used for.

Circuit training has been used by professional athletes for well over a century to train their bodies for their respective sports. Its versatility makes it a fantastic way for anyone - professional athlete or not - to refine their fitness. However, it wasn’t until after a series of articles published in the 1950s by British Scientists R.E. Morgan and G.T. Anderson that circuit training rose to popularity among the general population.

In its most basic form, circuit training is the act of engaging in ‘sets’ of exercises, with short break intervals in between each set. This is designed to allow you to work multiple muscle groups in a variety of different ways.

For example, after warming up, a circuit may consist of:

  • Three sets of 10 dumbbell curl repetitions, with a 30 second break between each set.

  • Three sets of 10 weighted leg press repetitions, with a 30 second break between each set.

  • Three sets of 15 weighted sit ups, with a 30 second break between each set.

By the end of this circuit, a person will have worked:

  • Their biceps and triceps

  • Quads and calves

  • Core muscles

Benefits of Circuit Training for Beginners

For beginners, a circuit training program tailored to your fitness level is effective for a variety of reasons:

  • It provides development in a range of muscle groups.

  • It sets realistic and achievable targets for each workout session.

  • It allows you to make effective use of your time in the gym, without much time wastage.

  • Helps a beginner to develop a baseline from which to improve as weeks and months pass.

In addition to these health benefits, circuit training also helps you to develop your knowledge base on a range of topics in the fitness world. You’ll be able to:

  • Develop an understanding of the different workout machines offered in gyms.

  • Develop an understanding of the different bodily muscle groups.

  • Understand the most effective methods for your body to train each muscle group towards your long term goals.

  • Understand what areas of fitness you’re naturally more adept at, and which areas will need further development or more attention.

Cons of Circuit Training for Beginners

beginner circuit training

While circuit training is a great program to be involved with as a beginner, it does present some drawbacks to be aware of. For instance:

  • Circuit training usually requires access to gym equipment. This can be expensive to invest in if you’re not a member of a gym.

  • Circuit training can be difficult to start with, as a decent level of stamina is required for most circuit training programs. This is dependent on your goals and what your personal trainer or instructor advises for you.

  • Adequate training is needed to operate most gym equipment effectively to minimise the risk of injury.

However, while these cons are noteworthy, there’s plenty that can be done to overcome them. For instance, consulting with a personal trainer or gym instructor is a great way to prepare yourself to overcome these drawbacks. This will allow you to become more comfortable with circuit training much sooner than if you were to begin tackling circuit training by yourself.

Beginner Cardio Circuit Training

Cardio, or cardiovascular, circuit training is a form of circuit training that you’d perform to improve stamina, lung capacity, and overall fitness levels.

Cardio training, whether it’s circuit training or not, has a focus on exercises such as:

  • Brisk walking

  • Jogging

  • Running

  • Sprinting

  • Cycling

  • Rowing

  • Swimming

And many more types of fitness activities. Cardio is essential for any gym goer, as it improves your stamina and endurance, increasing your ability to work out for longer periods. This, in turn, will help you accomplish more in one gym session.

Many gym goers, particularly those who want to build muscle, often skip over having a cardio focus in their workout regime. A decent level of cardio fitness is essential to your long-term success, no matter what your goals are!

An example of a cardio circuit training session could be:

  • Dynamic stretching as a warm up.

  • 5 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill.

  • 15 minutes of light jogging on a treadmill.

  • 5 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill.

  • 15 minutes of light jogging on a treadmill.

  • Cool down by walking at a slow pace for 2-3 minutes.

Beginner Strength Circuit Training

Strength training, or muscular strength training, is a kind of training that you’d do if you want to improve how strong your different muscle groups are.

Strength training consists of exercises such as:

  • Bicep and Tricep curls

  • Push ups & weighted push ups

  • Sit ups & weighted sit ups

  • Squats & weighted squats

  • Calf raises

  • Leg Press

  • Chest Press

  • Shoulder Press

  • Hip abduction and Adduction

  • Pull ups

And many, many more kinds of exercises. Strength training is great for helping you improve muscle mass while losing weight, tone your muscles, and improve your overall general fitness.

Incorporating strength training into your fitness routine will be beneficial to you, no matter your long-term goals and will help you take a more holistic approach to your bodily fitness. A beginner strength training circuit could be:

  • Static stretching to warm up.

  • A quick 5 minute jog to heat up your muscle groups.

  • 3 x 10 repetitions using dumbbells and the bicep curl (at a high weight you’re comfortable with).

  • 3 x 10 sit up repetitions (or a weight sit up using a light weight you're comfortable with, if you want it to be more challenging).

  • 3 x 10 leg press (at a comfortable, but high weight).

  • 3 x 10 repetitions on the chest press machine at a comfortable, but high weight. Alternatively you can do 3 x 10 repetitions of push ups.

  • 3 x 10 squats (or weight squats using a light weight you’re comfortable with).

  • 3 x 10 repetitions using the shoulder press at a high but comfortable weight.

  • 2-3 minute walk to cool down.

Beginner Muscular Endurance Circuit Training

beginner muscular endurance circuit training

Muscular endurance training is the other kind of muscular training. This type of training has a focus on improving the resilience of your muscle groups. Think of it like cardio, but for your muscles (where muscular strength would be like speed or sprint training).

Muscular endurance exercises are the same as muscular strength exercises, the only difference being the weight that you use and the repetitions you’ll do.

For example, the above muscular strength circuit can easily be modified for muscular endurance by doing:

  • Static stretching to warm up.

  • A quick 5 minute jog to heat up your muscle groups.

  • 3 x 20 repetitions using dumbbells and the bicep curl (at a low weight you’re comfortable with).

  • 3 x 20 sit up repetitions.

  • 3 x 20 leg press (at a comfortable, but low weight).

  • 3 x 20 repetitions on the chest press machine at a comfortable, but low weight. Alternatively, you can do 3 x 15 repetitions of push ups.

  • 3 x 20 squats.

  • 3 x 20 repetitions using the shoulder press at a low but comfortable weight.

  • 2-3 minute walk to cool down.

Start Circuit Training with Village Gym

When it comes to starting your fitness journey with circuit training, you’ll want to make sure you have everything you need to succeed. At Village Gym we have all kinds of state-of-the-art workout equipment in all of our gyms up and down the nation making our gyms the perfect environment to circuit training. 

We also run fitness classes that feature circuit training techniques, such as Les Mills GRIT Cardio or Les Mills GRIT Strength.

Join today and begin working towards your fitness goals at your local Village Gym.

FAQs About Circuit Training for Beginners

How long should a beginner do circuit training?

For a circuit training session, if you are a complete beginner, you should aim to complete your circuit in around 20 to 30 minutes.

Is circuit training 3 times a week enough?

Yes. Generally, if you are new to fitness, you should aim to train a minimum of 3 times a week and up to 5 times a week to ensure you can progress towards your fitness goals.If you do plan on training more than 3 times a week, it is advised you consult with a personal trainer.

Do you lose weight with circuit training?

Yes. Circuit training excels at helping you improve multiple areas of bodily fitness with each session. For this reason, circuit training is often thought of as being one of the best ways to lose weight as a beginner.


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