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Interval training and Circuit training are both smart ways to exercise if you want to burn more fat and get into great shape. But if you pit interval training vs circuit training, which one is better?

What is interval training?

Interval training is a style of exercise that involves cycling through multiple levels of effort or intensity. This type of exercise keeps your heart rate elevated, and burns more fat in less time.

Interval training is generally an anaerobic form of conditioning, which means that your body isn’t using oxygen to produce energy like it does during more traditional steady-state cardiovascular exercise.

Doing intervals is a great way to improve your physical conditioning and athletic work capacity.

Interval workouts have been shown to burn more calories than traditional workouts. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, HIIT workouts tend to burn up to 15 percent more calories compared to other workouts of similar length, due to the calories you burn after you’re finished with exercise session.

Common interval training styles are:

  • Tabata: Maximum effort for 20 seconds, then recover for 10 seconds before repeating the exercise move again.
  • AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible): You attempt as many repetitions of an exercise you can do in a given period of time.
  • HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training): Maximum effort during quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short (sometimes active) rest periods.

Since interval training is tough on the cardio-respiratory system, it trains your body to handle aerobic exercise better too.

What is circuit training?

circuit training

Instead of repeating the same exercise — or alternating between two exercises — circuit training involves rotating through a group of different exercises (usually multiple times through the circuit).

The best kinds of circuit training workouts involve multi-joint or multi-movement exercises that target multiple muscle groups at once.

Circuit training keeps your body moving and keeps your heart rate elevated just like interval training. But circuit training alternates the body parts you’re working, so each muscle group gets to rest a bit while you do other exercises.

A good circuit training workout will include all 6 of the major exercise moves:

  1. Triple extension (squats, lunges, step ups)
  2. Push (pushups or bench presses)
  3. Pull (rows, chin-ups, or reverse flys)
  4. Core (planks, situps, Paloff press)
  5. Overhead (shoulder press or lateral raise)
  6. Posterior Chain (Romanian deadlift, hamstring bridge, kettlebell swings)

Circuit training is a useful tool when you have a group of people in a single exercise space. No wasting time waiting around!


need a personal trainerIf you want to work with a personal trainer on some interval training or circuit training for yourself, contact Basics and Beyond right now!

We can train you in Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Antioch, or in your home.

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