|If you are just starting out on your way to build a body like this, there's little doubt that circuit training is worth considering. If you are more advanced and have a priority on strength and muscle gains, things may be different.|
To test, which of the two regimen is "better, the subjects of the study, 34 sedentary young women (20.9 +/- 3.2 years; 167.6 +/- 6.4 cm; 65.0 +-/ 15.2 kg), were assigned to either (a) a combined resistance and aerobic exercise group (COMBINED; n = 17) or (b) a circuit-based whole-body aerobic resistance training circuit group (CIRCUIT; n = 17).
All subjects, regardless of which group (for a detailed description of the training protocols see Figure 1) they'd been assigned to trained 3 days per week for 5 weeks.
|Figure 1: Tabular overviews of the two training protocols; the COMBINED training group did 30 minutes of resistance training followed by 15 minutes of aerobic exercise (Myers. 2015).|Figure 2: Selected study results (Myers.2015).
- peak and relative average power increased to similar extents in both groups, i.e. by 5% (p = 0.027) and 3.2% (p = 0.006), respectively, in the CIRCUIT group and by 5.3% (p = 0.025) and 5.1% (p = 0.003) in the COMBINED training group,
- a slightly greater inter-group difference was observed for the chest and hamstrings 1 repetition maximum (1RM) which improved by 20.6% (p = 0.011) and 8.3% (p = 0.022) in the CIRCUIT and by 35.6% (p , 0.001) and 10.2% (p = 0.004) in the COMBINED group, respectively,
- the most significant advantage of the COMBINED training group, was observed for the back (11.7%; p = 0.017) and quadriceps (9.6%; p = 0.006) 1RM, which did not improve in the CIRCUIT group,
so that it may eventually still be a question of priorities. Or, practically speaking, a decision between a "cardio" and "strength" focus - only the negative effect of COMBINED training on VO2 max may come as a small surprise (small, since 15 minutes of medium intensity exercise are like no cardio).
- Myers TR, Schneider MG, Schmale MS, Hazell TJ. Whole-body aerobic resistance training circuit improves aerobic fitness and muscle strength in sedentary young females. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Jun;29(6):1592-600.