In order to gain lean muscle mass, an overloading stimulus must be applied to the muscle. This means that you must place greater stress on a muscle today then you did in your last workout.
A second requirement for greater muscle gain is sufficient volume. Volume refers to the total amount of work you perform – the combination of exercises, sets and repetitions.
Rest is also an important aspect of mass gain. You must rest both during the workout, in between sets and exercises, and after your workout. The rest after your workout is more important then rest during your workout.
Finally, you must eat enough, and enough of the right foods to fully recover and grow from your workout. If these four aspects are not taken care of, you will not be able to pack on sufficient amounts of muscle.
Does Circuit Training Help you Put on Muscle?
Lets look at each of the training principles presented earlier to answer this question. Circuit training does provide an alternative method to place greater stress on your body, especially when one does not have access to heavier weights.
Sometimes, simply lifting heavier weights will not work, since your body requires both aerobic capacity and raw strength in order to lift an object. Hence, occasionally even a strong athlete must perform circuit training in order to improve their aerobic capacity.
But the real plus point with Circuit Training is that it allows you to perform more work, or volume, within a shorter period of time. We’ve all seen bodybuilders lift weight endlessly in the gym.
One of my bodybuilder friends used to spend 2-3 hours at the gym per day. But once he got a full-time job, this was next to impossible for him to do. For the average person, an abbreviated circuit-style workout may be a more practical method of packing on muscle.
It won’t turn you into Mr. Olympia, but it will make you bigger then you are currently.
The last aspect is rest. Rest is usually frowned upon in a Circuit routine. However, if your goal is to pack on muscle, you should rest a few second in between each exercise.
30-60 seconds of rest is more than enough. Most bodybuilders spend up to 3-5 minutes sitting around and “resting.”
With these points in mind, Circuit training seems like a very valuable method in packing on a decent amount of muscle mass. My suggestion is to always use a modified approach to Circuit training: focus on lifting heavy, resting (but not too much), and keep your overall volume in check.