For 15 or so years, I followed the traditional split-routine; working two or three muscle groups per day, one day per week (or, in some weeks, two times). This muscle-building routine is tried and true, being followed, and championed, by some of the greatest bodybuilders in the world.
But, what I failed to realize for 15 years is that a bodybuilding split routine was not right for me; a guy who simply wanted to get into great shape, not compete on stage in a flex-off. Then, as of last year, I finally listened to advice that I had been giving to so many others that I had worked out with and/or trained, and that was to try a circuit training routine.
Since switching to a circuit routine, I walk out of the gym each day feeling like I actually worked out, rather than simply feeling slightly swollen and pumped. The sweat cascades down the side of my face and soaks its way through my shirt, my muscles feel so challenged that they quiver, and my heart races faster than an Indy car.
The bottom line: It feels right. In less than a year’s time, I have seen my body actually evolve; something that I questioned was even possible after so many years of not achieving my desired results.
Typically, if I had read this very article in the past, I would have dismissed such a workout as being something that may work well for someone else, but it couldn’t possibly challenge someone who has been lifting weights for fifteen years. More or less, that’s why I never bothered to try a circuit training routine — my own hubris stood in the way.
Results Speak Louder Than Words
Now, one year later and with a six-pack that you can actually see, I regret having been such a stubborn fool for so many years prior.
One thing to bear in mind — by no means are the circuit training exercises and workouts to which I refer easy. And, you still lift weights while performing them. Possibly even very heavy weights that you can only lift for 4 to 6 reps.
No matter which circuit you choose to try, the key to the workout itself is to keep your heart rate up from start to finish. To do so, this means that you will not be taking any breaks in between sets (or, at most, you will take 15 seconds). Also, finishing or touching-up exercises like bicep curls, tricep extensions, etc. — consider those a thing of the past.
Instead, you will focus on exercises that utilize several major muscle groups, such as the pull-up, bench press, squat, deadlift, and others. You answered Yes to the survey questions for a reason, and that reason is that you and the people around you at the gym have not seen any significant gains in the past six months because you keep performing the same damn workout. And, chances are, it’s a split routine.
Maybe, just maybe, you can take a chance on something. Try spending the next 3 months performing a resistance-based circuit training workout. Then, go back to my survey questions. Chances are, you will at least be able to answer No to the question about your own physique. As for the other guys in the gym — well, that’s up to you if you want to share your secret.