I'm just beginning training to get burn fat and train in two different sports (Judo and Tennis). I was wondering what were the pros and cons of completing, say 3, sets before going onto the next workout vs. interval training.
This question requires a general answer since the two types of training, as they are, can have many variations in training parameters.
By doing circuit training you can complete the training session in a shorter time while maintaining the intensity: by working out another muscle group while the first one rests you effectively shorten the time spent working out. Shortening the time of a training session leads to lower levels of cortisol post-exercise, which shortens the recovery time between sessions.
Circuit training puts a greater total stress on the body (partly due to shorter rest periods, but even with equally long rest periods) since more muscles are in a fatigued state at the same time. This can possibly contribute to the stimulation of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone.
Doing complete sets allows for a more complete recovery between sets of the worked out muscle, as well as lowers total body fatigue (build up of lactate etc. in the blood) compared to circuit training. This allows for higher power outputs during lifting, and as such greater gains in strength.
As a sprinter, focusing on pure strength without hypertrophy, I only employ complete sets. However, if striving for hypertrophy, or strength endurance, then circuit training can be of more value.
Advantages of complete sets
- Possibly a higher strength gain
- Lower fatigue, easier to finish
Advantages of circuit training
- Allows for a shorter training time
- Presents a higher training stimulus