Benefits Of Circuit Training
Studies have shown that circuit training can significantly boost running performance. For example, a 2003 review article by Alan Jung at the University of Alabama found that circuit training can maintain heart rates at near 80 percent of maximum (aerobic development occurs between 78 and 85 percent of maximum heart rate). Furthermore, studies conducted on untrained individuals found improvements in time-to-exhaustion on a treadmill test, V02max and the lactate threshold.
The National Athletic Health Institute conducted a study on the effectiveness of circuit training in the late 1970’s. While the specific circuit routine performed by participants did not include any running, just strength exercises performed on a 30-second circuit with no rest, the researchers saw amazing results: after 10 weeks, participants gained about three pounds of muscle and lost about two pounds of fat. Both men and women achieved reductions in skin-fold thickness and increased overall muscular strength. More importantly, participants improved running time to exhaustion on a treadmill by 5 to 6 percent and saw an 11-percent increase in VO2max — without doing any running.
Finally, circuit training helps you become a better overall athlete. Rather than being a runner who can only move in one plane of motion, circuit training develops balance, strength, athleticism, and flexibility. While this might not seem like a running-specific benefit, having poor athleticism increases the risk of running-related injuries. For example, not being proficient in the frontal plan will result in weak hips and adductors, which is often the cause of IT band problems.