lifting all at once vs in a circuit

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 25, 2014 12:02 AM GMT
    I have a general fitness question in regards to lifting. My lifting routine is very simple. I do 3 sets of 8-10 reps of a particular amount of weight in bench press, shoulders, biceps, and triceps. I'm happy with it, it's a good workout for my fitness level.

    Normally, I do everything at once: 3 sets of chest, then 3 sets of shoulders, 3 sets of bi's, and 3 sets of tri's.

    but today i decided to change it up and did one set of each, then a 2nd set, then a 3rd set. so in total i lifted the same amount, just more in a "circuit" rather than all at once.

    and it killed me! i couldn't do the same amount of weight at the end when i normally can.

    i guess my question is, is there really a difference in methods? is one better than the other? I didn't like that I had to drop the weight down (albeit just a little bit).

    thoughts?
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    Jun 25, 2014 3:08 AM GMT
    Hey man! i'm no expert by any means. But i like to switch it up when it comes to lifting.

    Some weeks I'll do my little circuits. Some weeks i will do it all at once! i personally feel that has really kept my body strong and helped me a lot with gains.

    Of course it;s different for each person and body. But i think switching it up like that is great for making good gains.
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    Jun 25, 2014 4:20 AM GMT
    It depends on how long you are working out and how intensely.

    I'm sure there is a better physiological explanation to say which one is better... but to me the important goal is being fatigued at the end of the workout.

    Also, your legs need some love too. Throw in some squats!
  • twentyfourhou...

    Posts: 243

    Jun 25, 2014 1:02 PM GMT
    Willular, For many years my weightlifting routine was as you described. The only difference was 4 sets of 8-10 reps - two different types of movement for each muscle group. In my opinion, this type of routine (for me) gave me bulk / muscle size. Occasionally I would do a circuit type workout but I lacked endurance and would quickly become fatigued. About 3 years ago, I began to introduce crossfit into my weekly routine so it became 50/50 with weightlifting. Now, I can easily do a "mini" circuit routine. What I mean by mini is that I only go between two different muscle groups (legs / triceps), (chest / biceps), (shoulders / back. With this routine, I have lost strength, bulk, and dropped about 5-8 pounds but gained endurance, flexibility, stamina, and to some degree more definition. In all fairness I also stopped creatine and am getting older.
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    Jun 25, 2014 1:17 PM GMT
    Interesting to read about this weight training circuit because this was promoted in an exercise science textbook that I learned from in college. Wayne Westcott, a fitness authority in academia, promoted this technique on Universal Gym. I followed this and it helped build endurance for me to pass my lifeguard physical (test).
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    Jun 25, 2014 1:27 PM GMT
    The advantage of jumping back and forth between two muscle groups is that you can save time and keep your heart rate elevated. If you do it intensely enough it becomes an interval training workout, as well as a strength workout, which is a great way to increase cardio, burn fat, and promote a hormonal response to increase muscle. I would not do three muscle groups at the same time because it would provide too much rest to the muscles between similar sets. Shorter workouts are better. Once you go over 45 minutes of heavy weights you run the risk of increased cortisol, which increases inflammation and can actually harm rather than help muscle growth.
  • musicdude

    Posts: 734

    Jun 25, 2014 1:48 PM GMT
    Circuits are good for endurance but they are also more recommended for toning and weight lost. If your goal is size then focusing on one muscle group at a time and killing it before moving on to the next is best. Super sets at the end of a muscle group is good for developing strength.
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    Jun 25, 2014 11:30 PM GMT
    I had this same thing happen a few days ago and the only difference in my day was that i had filtered water the day before and i always drink filtered artisan.and the orning that killed me was the morning i drank unfiltered water.
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    Jun 26, 2014 2:17 AM GMT
    great words, guys. thanks!
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    Jun 26, 2014 5:07 AM GMT
    The big thing is to change up your routine once every few months in some way. Sounds like you're doing that.
  • FireDoor211

    Posts: 1030

    Jun 26, 2014 4:18 PM GMT
    musicdude saidCircuits are good for endurance but they are also more recommended for toning and weight lost. If your goal is size then focusing on one muscle group at a time and killing it before moving on to the next is best. Super sets at the end of a muscle group is good for developing strength.


    I guess this explains why I been getting bigger no matter how hard I try. I do three sets on each work out then move on to the next, next time I'll try a circuit.
  • joxguy

    Posts: 236

    Jun 27, 2014 3:39 PM GMT
    When speaking of a circuit it is better to do that with each type of muscle group. Do a circuit with your legs or upper body one day lower the next.

    One suggestion you can try. Go to two sets of 15 reps per routine and make sure that you have a constant movement on the push out and the release. Don't push real hard out and them let the weight come back with not restriction.

    So constant or level pressure out and a level constant pressure back. Resistance on the release will increase your results. You may see you max weight go down because of this change but the results of strength is noticeable too.
  • Danskerb

    Posts: 286

    Jun 28, 2014 5:16 AM GMT
    I find my routine goes the same most days I'm at the gym.... Start with bench press, then decline, flies, incline, flies.... But if I change it up and start from the end of my work out to where I start I'm usually more exhausted. I think it's just because your body isn't expecting it, keep changing things up, your body will love you for it.