It is a common practice to give begginers doing 2-3 sets of whole body circuits (consisting of 9-12 exercises) with minimal load when they engage first time in the gym. Last year I was oponent of any circuit-type training, but now I re-evaluated my opinions on this. The huge impact on „hating“ circuits was from Mel Siff Supertraining book, in which he stated that they are over-rated, and that with them you cannot develop nor strength nor endurance. He proposed something called interval circuit training (correct me if I am wrong).
But today my opinions are changing (again, god damn! Is there any end of this process!?). Doing stage training with core exercises (main) folowed by interval circuit type training of supplementary/prehab exercises is optimal solution. After all, combining tempo session with circuits of calistenics, medball , prehab movements is a great stuff!
First time I engaged in the gym, I did stage program (1week of 1x25reps, 2 w of 2x20reps, 3w of 3x15, 4w of 4x10reps, and then hitting the real thing 1-5 reps). I know it sucks! Yes, I was doing 20 reps of DL! But we all learn on errors, right?
Today, I work with begginers and,believe it or not, I give them circuit type program! With complex movements like DL, squats, I give them a 3-4 sets of 3-5 reps with short recovey (30sec-1min) with the bar only, and with other exercises we do about 15 reps. The goal here is TECHNIQUE LEARNING and not loading, so there is at least 5 reps buffer to failure. The main thing I use circut type training with begginers (3-4weeks) is because it is proven that random practice (circuits) have better skill acquisition than blocked pactice (stages). This is from ’Motor Learning and Performane’ from Schmidt (2004). This is the only reason why I use them – because begginers will going to learn faster their technique!
After some time, we go to stage program, decreasing exercise numbers in workout, increasing load, decreasing reps and increasing sets! But we still use prehab circuit at the workout end.
Afer hitting max effort phase after some time (2-3 months, but this depends on age, with childerns this is 2-3 years!), it is imposible to work all the movements at max effort, so number of exercises are reduces keeping 3-4 core (main) ones, but also doing accesory/supplemetal ones with prehab ones.
I have also read that you cannot train both strength and endurance at the same time successfully through circuit trainning, although it was from a different source (Russian dude). For my weight lifting I do stage based.
I have never heard of interval circuit training, but we do do circuit training for strength endurance, body weight stuff (push-ups), earlier in the season.
As form is probly the most important think its good that your making them learn that first. I don’t know whether circuit training the accessory lifts, and doing stage based for the core (main) lifts is a good idea or not. Have you used this interval training before, and how successful is it for its purpose?
It is the same as ordinary circuit, just with larger rests between exercises and circuits. Ordinary circuits rush the athlte to “jump” from one exercise to another, and thus deteoriate his form…
I used it with with my training: stages for core, circuits for prehab movement and maybe sometimes for auxilary exercises. This provide little variety. Also, Scott Vass has recomended simmilar approach when working with soccer team last season! Also, this allows faster training finish if you lack some time…
My main reason, why should circuts used with begginers is to allow faster skill acquistion…
In regards to your first post, you are right that kids will just about adapt to anything and everything all at once. Like you said, as long as they learn technique, then you are doing a good job.
There are more than one way to skin a cat, and it seems that you’ve found a solid one.