Putting A New Spin On Circuit Classes
“Circuit classes continue to be one of the best ways to reach a diverse membership base,” says Jay Blahnik, IDEA’s Inspire the World to Fitness™ spokesperson. “Beginners love circuits because they don’t have to be an expert at any one particular move or exercise. And advanced folks love (these kinds of classes) because they are a sure-fire way to get a great workout. When you aren’t sure what kind of class to add to your programming schedule, a circuit class is a dependable way to meet your member’s needs.”
Aileen Sherton has been teaching circuit classes for 12 years and is constantly developing new formats at the Sports Club/Irvine and Crunch Fitness in Mission Viejo, California. “I keep my classes current by changing the exercises (performed) at the stations and by incorporating the latest equipment,” she says. A disadvantage to the standard circuit format in the past was the time lost in rotating stations and setting up new equipment. My students now have several pieces of equipment at each station so they can move from one exercise to the next with little or no downtime.”
At POW!, a mixed martial arts and fitness facility in Chicago, Katalin Zamiar has also tweaked her original circuit formula to suit her current crop of clients. She says the difference between her old and new circuit classes is “in the formatting and equipment used.” For example, Zamair currently offers a circuit class called “Freemotion and Boxing,” which expands on a traditional circuit model by combing sport-specific and core strength drills with professional boxing combos and drills.
Time is of the essence for clients at FitLife in Fairport, New York. That’s why the programming director, Carol Murphy, offers a 45-minute workout called “Total Body Conditioning” which she says “appeals to busy clients and is less intimidating to newcomers” than an hour-long session would be. She also plans to introduce a 30-minute circuit formula called “FitQuick” to attract the sedentary population. “We will offer 12 strength stations and four cardio stations, and then we will vary the circuit. Participants will spend one minute at each strength station and three minutes at each cardio station.”
At the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton, Florida, director Juan Carlos Santana offers circuit training as a profitable adjunct to sports conditioning. His FITMOVES™ circuit class features functional training for all sports. “It has it all,” says Santana, “strength, stability, agility, cardio, power and balance. All sports are based on the ability to move with control. We train the body; the sport takes care of itself.”
The comments of Blahnik, Sheron, Zamiar, Murphy and Santana appear in the article, “Circuit Classes Come Full Circle” found in the November-December 2003 issue of IDEA Health & Fitness Source.
Station Equipment & Props
In the past,
most circuit classes offered a limited inventory of equipment, like steps,
slides, bands/tubing and hand weights. Nowadays, circuit classes feature
a wide array of innovative equipment and props, including the following:
• balance/wobble boards
• body bars
• core boards
• hula hoops
• jump ropes
• kickboxing equipment
• medicine and stability balls
IDEA is the world's leading membership organization of health and fitness professionals with more than 19,000 members in over 80 countries. Since 1982, IDEA has provided health and fitness professionals with pertinent information, educational opportunities, career development programs and industry leadership while helping them enhance the quality of life worldwide through safe, effective fitness and healthy lifestyle programs. For more information on IDEA events, publications, educational products, member services or other activities, visit the IDEA website at: www.IDEAfit.com.