Lisa Wolfe is a personal trainer, and this little volume is a good start at circuit training.
The idea of circuit training is for you to do a small number of repetition of many different exercises, usually alternating between ones focused on cardiovascular condition and strength. With the strength exercises you start with the largest and most important muscles – your legs and back, then progress to biceps and triceps.
Therefore, a good circuit gives you a full body workout.
Because you usually go from exercise to exercise without a rest, the entire sequence itself seems to me to have more cardiovascular benefits than any submission could have.
Part of the idea is that although your legs are tired, you can still work out your arms. When you finish you either start over, begin a new circuit – or collapse in total fatigue.
This book contains a number of different exercises which she explains and illustrates with photographs of herself performing them. Most of them are calisthenics. Some of them require some equipment, though nothing fancy or expensive.
Then the final few pages actually list some suggested circuits using the exercises.
Plus, she offers a lot of suggestions for adapting the circles towards your individual needs. And taking up circuits at the gym using the equipment there. And in a swimming pool. However, she does not describe those exercises or circuits, possibly leaving them for future books.
I for one hate the idea of going to a gym and lifting weight and expensive exercise equipment. From my research, those are prescriptions for injuries and nonfunctional muscle development. I do not need to show off my muscles. I need strength to get through this life, and I would not mind looking leaner and huskier as well – but not if the price is torn rotator cuffs and other joint problems.
So I appreciate the range of bodyweight exercises, although none of those given are particularly problematic (okay, she does include single leg squats and pushups).
I'm skeptical that doing these for just a short time will do much to develop strength. She does explain Fartlek circuit training, where you do as much at each station as you can before going on to the next. Now that's the way to workout.
I suspect the primary benefit to circuit training is the cardiovascular adjustment needed to keep exercising for thirty minutes or so without stopping.
Of course, you can get that just from jogging – but not the varied muscle training.
This book will not satisfy hardcore exercise fans or serious athletes, but it's a gentle introduction to circuit training for the busy ordinary people it was aimed at.