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How to Start a Circuit Training Fitness Class

What is Circuit Training?

Circuit training is a form of exercise that involves stations throughout the exercise space, where each station has its own equipment and/or specified exercise to be performed at that station. For example, a circuit workout may have ten stations. Station 1 has your participants performing jumping jacks. Station 2 is squats; station 3 is jumping rope, station 4 is bicep curls, and the list goes on. It keeps participants engaged and allows you to come around to each individual station to monitor the participant's performance, form, and even push them a little to improve their fitness level.

This Hub will cover:

  • Why you should consider teaching circuit training
  • What you'll need to get started
  • Four easy steps to getting your class up and running
How many times can you go around in 30 minutes?

How many times can you go around in 30 minutes?

Why Teach Circuit Training Classes?

There are several reasons teaching circuit training is a great alternative to traditional group training where there is an instructor going through all of the exercises with participants following along.

  1. Flexibility -- you are able to walk around and correct form on each individual as they are performing the exercises. Although you can't see everyone at the same time, you are able to provide much more personal attention to your class participants.
  2. Saves energy -- at first you might break a sweat running around and making sure no one is killing themselves, but once you get the hang of how you run your classes, things get a little easier. So teaching several classes a day becomes more possible than when you had to actually do the workout!
  3. Fun! It is fun for the participants to go through the circuits. They are able to focus more on correct form as well, and because they're not having to pay attention to choreography or to what the instructor is saying, they are even able to talk to each other. Soon, your group will form a bond that helps you keep your class growing and thriving. They hold each other accountable for coming to class!
  4. More earning potential. Because you have lower overhead (you need less equipment), you get to keep more of the money that you earn. Gyms may pay between $15 and $25 per class, but with group training, you can earn so much more.
  5. Less Choreography. There is virtually no choreography involved in circuit training classes. If you're a personal trainer looking to earn more money on the side, starting circuit training classes in your community would be easy to do for you because you don't need to worry about choreography.

What you'll need (besides space):

Here's what you'll need to get started teaching circuit training classes:

  1. Equipment. Teaching circuit training allows you to have less equipment than teaching classes where you lead the entire class through the workout. Depending on the size of your class, you'll need just enough equipment to furnish the exercises at each of your stations in the circuit.
  2. Stopwatch. Participants perform each exercise for a set amount of time. That amount is up to you, but my usual formula is 60-60-30. We perform two rounds of the circuit for 60 seconds each time with a 2 minute break for water in between, then comes the "Lightning Round" where we do one more revolution through the circuit, this time for just 30 seconds. Make sure to keep as accurate of time as possible. Participants are known to get cranky if you make them go longer than the time you promised them!
  3. Signage. I have created signs for my workouts. Each station has a full sheet of paper inside a clear sheet protector, where I have written the name of the exercise and included a picture of someone performing that exercise. The sheet protector comes in handy, too, because I have been known to grab a dry erase marker and add on variations to the exercise to make them a little harder from time to time.
  4. Music. Don't make your participants work out in silence with your voice! It is so boring. Music doesn't need to be expensive and because your class is not choreographed, the music is simple. Just grab a portable speaker set, an A/V cord, and your smart phone or mp3 player, and use pandora or your own songs for background music. Using pandora also allows you to quickly change the station when going from high intensity to the cooldown.
  5. Voice Amplifier (optional). If you have a lot of participants or if you're doing circuit training outdoors, you may want to invest a little more money into a portable voice amplifier. You can wear it around your waist and it comes with a little headset to amplify your voice.

Music/Voice Amplification Options

Steps to getting your class off the ground

1. Network. Find local studios, chiropractor's offices, dance halls, church buildings, clubhouses-- anywhere there are people and a lot of empty space is a place you could host your class. If you network well, you can sometimes score a deal with the owner to help you advertise at no additional cost. I was able to have a dance instructor near me email everyone on her email list that I was starting a new class in the studio. That's exactly how I grew my class.

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2. Plan. For some of us, this is always step one. Networking is part of planning, though, too! If you're going to start an exercise class, boot camp, or workout in your neighborhood, you need to know what kind of workout you want to teach. If you're not very good at choreographed workouts like Bodypump and Zumba, Circuit training may be a perfect fit for you.

3. Gather Equipment You can find equipment for your circuit training class anywhere--discount stores like Ross or TJ Maxx often have weighted balls, bands, and jump ropes for discounted prices. Amazon also offers great prices on sets of resistance bands that are easy to transport from home if you're unable to store your equipment at the facility.

4. Advertise. You can advertise your class on craigslist, inside the facility, in your neighborhood newsletter, the nearby supermarket, restaurants, and of course, over the internet using social networking. Word of mouth is going to allow your class to flourish the most, though, so pour everything you have into the clients that come to your circuit training class.

Great Tools for Circuit Training Workouts


Jeannine on March 22, 2013:

This is awesome! The confirmation that I needed to get started once I complete my certification. I felt overwhelmed by the aerobic dance routines, but Circuit training is a perfet fit for me. Thanks

Caitlin Pyle (author) from Orlando, FL on April 05, 2012:

Thank you! I am glad you found it useful. I enjoy teaching circuit training.

Khal Blogo from A gas station on the yellow brick road on April 04, 2012:

Great hub. Voted up and useful.

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