Circuit training is a type of workout that involves doing a series of exercises in a specific order, with little to no rest in between. It has gained popularity in recent years due to its effectiveness in burning calories, improving endurance, and building muscular strength. However, some people have doubts about the effectiveness of circuit training for building strength. In this article, we will delve into whether circuit training is good for strength or not.

What is circuit training?

Circuit training involves doing a variety of exercises, typically 8-12, in a specific order for a set amount of time or reps. A circuit can include exercises that target different body parts or movements, such as upper body, lower body, core, and cardio. The objective of circuit training is to work multiple muscle groups and improve overall fitness in a short period of time.

How does circuit training work?

Circuit training is believed to work by increasing the intensity and volume of each exercise, which stimulates the muscles to adapt and grow stronger. By doing multiple exercises in quick succession, you increase your heart rate and burn more calories than traditional strength training or cardio. Additionally, the lack of rest between exercises challenges the body’s cardiovascular system and improves endurance.

Is circuit training good for building strength?

Circuit training can be effective in building strength, especially if the exercises are challenging and target multiple muscle groups. However, the amount of strength gained from circuit training may not be as significant as traditional strength training. According to research, circuit training can lead to a 5-13% improvement in strength, compared to a 30-40% improvement from traditional strength training.

Benefits of circuit training for strength:

Despite the lower gains in strength, circuit training offers several benefits for strength development. Here are a few:

Benefits of circuit training for strength:
Targets multiple muscle groups
Improves overall fitness and endurance
Requires little to no equipment
Variety of exercises keeps workouts interesting

How to make circuit training more effective for strength:

If you’re looking to increase your strength through circuit training, here are a few tips:

How to make circuit training more effective for strength:
Add weight to exercises
Increase reps or time for each exercise
Focus on compound exercises
Use progressive overload

Compound exercises:

Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that engage multiple muscle groups at once. They are essential for building strength and muscle mass. Some examples of compound exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench press, and pull-ups. By incorporating these exercises into your circuit training, you can increase strength gains and improve overall fitness.

Progressive overload:

Progressive overload is the gradual increase in the amount of weight, reps, or time you use during an exercise. By gradually increasing the demand on your muscles, you force them to adapt and grow stronger. This principle applies to circuit training as well. By increasing the weight, reps, or time for each exercise, you can increase strength gains and improve overall fitness.

Circuit training vs. traditional strength training:

While circuit training offers several benefits for building strength, traditional strength training is still the gold standard for strength development. Traditional strength training involves lifting heavy weights for a low number of reps, with rest periods in between sets. This type of training leads to the most significant gains in strength and muscle mass.


In conclusion, circuit training can be an effective way to build strength, especially for beginners or those looking to mix up their workout routine. It offers a variety of exercises, targets multiple muscle groups, and improves overall fitness and endurance. However, if your primary goal is to build significant strength and muscle mass, traditional strength training is still the way to go. Incorporating compound exercises and using progressive overload can help make circuit training more effective for strength development.