Q+A: What does current research say about high-intensity circuit training?

What does current research say about high-intensity circuit training?


Can we cut daily workout times in half and still meet weight loss goals?

The 40-week study recruited 49 inactive but healthy premeno­pausal women aged 33–45 who were either obese or overweight. Three groups were established at random: control (C), training (TR) and training-detraining (TRD). For the first 20 weeks, the TR and TRD groups did HICT, performing 10–12 exercises 3 days a week and progressing from 23- to 41-minute training sessions. For the second 20 weeks, the TR group kept training, but the TRD group stopped. The scientists measured weight, waist-to-hip ratio, metabolic rate, percentage of body fat, aerobic capacity and strength in all groups before, during (week 20) and after (week 40) the training.

After 20 weeks of training, the TR and TRD groups both showed significant improvements in all health and performance measure­ments. The TR group continued to improve through the 40-week mark—boosting strength and endurance, reducing body and fat mass, and cutting exercise time in half. While the TRD group’s gains retreated sharply after training ended, their health and performance measures stayed above baseline despite 20 weeks of inactivity.

REFERENCE: Batrakoulis, A., et al. 2018. High intensity, circuit-type integrated neuromuscular training alters energy balance and reduces body mass and fat in obese women: A 10-month training-detraining randomized controlled trial. PLOS ONE, 13 (8), e0202390.

Meet our experts

AFM_Author_Nunez TONY P. NUÑEZ, PHD, is an assistant professor in exercise science at Metropolitan State University of Denver. He is an active researcher and presenter in the exercise physiology and fitness field.

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