Physical performance and cardiovascular responses to an acute bout of heavy resistance circuit training versus traditional strength training
National Strength and Conditioning Association
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Exercise, Biomedical and Health Science
Circuit training effectively reduces the time devoted to strength training while allowing an adequate training volume to be achieved. Nonetheless, circuit training has traditionally been performed using relatively low loads for a relatively high number of repetitions, which is not conducive to maximal muscle size and strength gain. This investigation compared physical performance parameters and cardiovascular load during heavy-resistance circuit (HRC) training to the responses during a traditional, passive rest strength training set (TS). Ten healthy subjects (age, 26 ± 1.6 years; weight, 80.2 ± 8.78 kg) with strength training experience volunteered for the study. Testing was performed once weekly for 3 weeks. On day 1, subjects were familiarized with the test and training exercises. On the subsequent 2 test days, subjects performed 1 of 2 strength training programs: HRC (5 sets × (bench press + leg extensions + ankle extensions); 35-second interset rest; 6 repetition maximum [6RM] loads) or TS (5 sets × bench press; 3-minute interset rest, 6RM loads). The data confirm that the maximum and average bar velocity and power and the number of repetitions performed of the bench press in the 2 conditions was the same; however, the average heart rate was significantly greater in the HRC compared to the TS condition (HRC = 129 ± 15.6 beats·min-1, ~71% maximum heart rate (HRmax), TS = 113 ± 13.1 beats·min-1, ~62% HRmax; P < 0.05). Thus, HRC sets are quantitatively similar to traditional strength training sets, but the cardiovascular load is substantially greater. HRC may be an effective training strategy for the promotion of both strength and cardiovascular adaptations.