Sports Medicine

, Volume 47, Issue 12, pp 2553–2568 | Cite as

Effectiveness of Resistance Circuit-Based Training for Maximum Oxygen Uptake and Upper-Body One-Repetition Maximum Improvements: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

  • Francisco Antonio Muñoz-Martínez
  • Jacobo Á. Rubio-Arias
  • Domingo Jesús Ramos-Campo
  • Pedro E. Alcaraz
Systematic Review



It is well known that concurrent increases in both maximal strength and aerobic capacity are associated with improvements in sports performance as well as overall health. One of the most popular training methods used for achieving these objectives is resistance circuit-based training.


The objective of the present systematic review with a meta-analysis was to evaluate published studies that have investigated the effects of resistance circuit-based training on maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum of the upper-body strength (bench press exercise) in healthy adults.


The following electronic databases were searched from January to June 2016: PubMed, Web of Science and Cochrane. Studies were included if they met the following criteria: (1) examined healthy adults aged between 18 and 65 years; (2) met the characteristics of resistance circuit-based training; and (3) analysed the outcome variables of maximum oxygen uptake using a gas analyser and/or one-repetition maximum bench press.


Of the 100 articles found from the database search and after all duplicates were removed, eight articles were analysed for maximum oxygen uptake. Of 118 healthy adults who performed resistance circuit-based training, maximum oxygen uptake was evaluated before and after the training programme. Additionally, from the 308 articles found for one-repetition maximum, eight articles were analysed. The bench press one-repetition maximum load, of 237 healthy adults who performed resistance circuit-based training, was evaluated before and after the training programme. Significant increases in maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum bench press were observed following resistance circuit-based training. Additionally, significant differences in maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum bench press were found between the resistance circuit-based training and control groups.


The meta-analysis showed that resistance circuit-based training, independent of the protocol used in the studies, is effective in increasing maximum oxygen uptake and one-repetition maximum bench press in healthy adults. However, its effect appears to be larger depending on the population and training characteristics. For large effects in maximum oxygen uptake, the programme should include ~14–30 sessions for ~6–12 weeks, with each session lasting at least ~20–30 min, at intensities between ~60 and 90% one-repetition maximum. For large effects in one-repetition maximum bench press, the data indicate that intensity should be ~30–60% one-repetition maximum, with sessions lasting at least ~22.5–60 min. However, the lower participant’s baseline fitness level may explain the lighter optimal loads used in the circuit training studies where greater strength gains were reported.


Compliance with Ethical Standards


No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this article.

Conflict of Interest

Francisco Antonio Muñoz-Martínez, Jacobo Á. Rubio-Arias, Domingo Jesús Ramos-Campo and Pedro E. Alcaraz have no conflicts of interest directly relevant to the content of this review.


  1. 1.
    Buchheit M, Laursen PB. High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle. Part I: cardiopulmonary emphasis. Sports Med. 2013;43(5):313–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Buchheit M, Laursen PB. High-intensity interval training, solutions to the programming puzzle. Part II: anaerobic energy, neuromuscular load and practical applications. Sports Med. 2013;43(10):927–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ferrari Bravo D, Impellizzeri FM, Rampinini E, et al. Sprint vs. interval training in football. Int J Sports Med. 2008;29(8):668–74.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Silva JR, Nassis GP, Rebelo A. Strength training in soccer with a specific focus on highly trained players. Sports Med Open. 2015;1(1):17.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Hoff J, Helgerud J. Endurance and strength training for soccer players: physiological considerations. Sports Med. 2004;34(3):165–80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cormie P, McGuigan MR, Newton RU. Developing maximal neuromuscular power. Part 1: biological basis of maximal power production. Sports Med. 2011;41(1):17–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    de Lacey J, Brughelli M, McGuigan M, et al. The effects of tapering on power-force-velocity profiling and jump performance in professional rugby league players. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(12):3567–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hartmann H, Wirth K, Keiner M, et al. Short-term periodization models: effects on strength and speed-strength performance. Sports Med. 2015;45(10):1373–86.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Haugen T, Tonnessen E, Oksenholt O, et al. Sprint conditioning of junior soccer players: effects of training intensity and technique supervision. PLoS One. 2015;10(3):e0121827.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Marwick TH, Hordern MD, Miller T, et al. Exercise training for type 2 diabetes mellitus: impact on cardiovascular risk: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;119(25):3244–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Haskell WL, Lee IM, Pate RR, et al. Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007;39(8):1423–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011;43(7):1334–59.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Fernhall B, et al. Exercise and type 2 diabetes: the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(12):e147–67.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Medicine ACoS. ACSM’s guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. 9th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2013.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Cadore EL, Pinto RS, Bottaro M, et al. Strength and endurance training prescription in healthy and frail elderly. Aging Dis. 2014;5(3):183–95.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Romero-Arenas S, Martinez-Pascual M, Alcaraz PE. Impact of resistance circuit training on neuromuscular, cardiorespiratory and body composition adaptations in the elderly. Aging Dis. 2013;4(5):256–63.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Busch AJ, Webber SC, Richards RS, et al. Resistance exercise training for fibromyalgia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;(12):CD010884. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD010884.
  18. 18.
    Cheema BS, Chan D, Fahey P, et al. Effect of progressive resistance training on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy, muscular strength and health-related quality of life in patients with chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med. 2014;44(8):1125–38.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cheema BS, Kilbreath SL, Fahey PP, et al. Safety and efficacy of progressive resistance training in breast cancer: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2014;148(2):249–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Heiestad H, Rustaden AM, Bo K, et al. Effect of regular resistance training on motivation, self-perceived health, and quality of life in previously inactive overweight women: a randomized, controlled trial. Biomed Res Int. 2016;2016:3815976.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bassett DR Jr, Howley ET. Limiting factors for maximum oxygen uptake and determinants of endurance performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32(1):70–84.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mooses M, Hackney AC. Anthropometrics and body composition in East African runners: potential impact on performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2016;15:1–27.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Schmidtbleicher D. Strength training (part 2): structural analysis of motor strength qualities and its application to training. Sci Period Res Tech Sport. 1985;4:1–10.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gotshalk LA, Berger RA, Kraemer WJ. Cardiovascular responses to a high-volume continuous circuit resistance training protocol. J Strength Cond Res. 2004;18(4):760–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Brown LE. Strength training United Kingdom, 2nd edn. Human Kinetics; 2007. p. 143–4.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gettman LR, Pollock ML. Circuit weight training: a critical review of its physiological benefits. Phys Sportsmed. 1981;9(1):44–60.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Alcaraz PE, Perez-Gomez J, Chavarrias M, et al. Similarity in adaptations to high-resistance circuit vs. traditional strength training in resistance-trained men. J Strength Cond Res. 2011;25(9):2519–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Paoli A, Pacelli F, Bargossi AM, et al. Effects of three distinct protocols of fitness training on body composition, strength and blood lactate. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2010;50(1):43–51.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Alcaraz PE, Sanchez-Lorente J, Blazevich AJ. Physical performance and cardiovascular responses to an acute bout of heavy resistance circuit training versus traditional strength training. J Strength Cond Res. 2008;22(3):667–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Hurley BF, Seals DR, Ehsani AA, et al. Effects of high-intensity strength training on cardiovascular function. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1984;16(5):483–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Braun WA, Hawthorne WE, Markofski MM. Acute EPOC response in women to circuit training and treadmill exercise of matched oxygen consumption. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2005;94(5–6):500–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Gettman LR, Ward P, Hagan RD. A comparison of combined running and weight training with circuit weight training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1982;14(3):229–34.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Petersen SR, Haennel RG, Kappagoda CT, et al. The influence of high-velocity circuit resistance training on VO2max and cardiac output. Can J Sport Sci. 1989;14(3):158–63.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Allen TE, Byrd RJ, Smith DP. Hemodynamic consequences of circuit weight training. Res Q. 1976;47(3):229–306.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Dudley GA. Metabolic consequences of resistive-type exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1988;20(5 Suppl):S158–61.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Wilmore JH, Parr RB, Girandola RN, et al. Physiological alterations consequent to circuit weight training. Med Sci Sports. 1978;10(2):79–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Hickson RC. Interference of strength development by simultaneously training for strength and endurance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 1980;45(2–3):255–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Hickson RC, Rosenkoetter MA, Brown MM. Strength training effects on aerobic power and short-term endurance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1980;12(5):336–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Wilson JM, Marin PJ, Rhea MR, et al. Concurrent training: a meta-analysis examining interference of aerobic and resistance exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2012;26(8):2293–307.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kraemer WJ, Patton JF, Gordon SE, et al. Compatibility of high-intensity strength and endurance training on hormonal and skeletal muscle adaptations. J Appl Physiol. 1995;78(3):976–89.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Harber MP, Fry AC, Rubin MR, et al. Skeletal muscle and hormonal adaptations to circuit weight training in untrained men. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2004;14(3):176–85.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Liberati A, Altman DG, Tetzlaff J, et al. The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate healthcare interventions: explanation and elaboration. BMJ. 2009;339:b2700.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Maher CG, Sherrington C, Herbert RD, et al. Reliability of the PEDro scale for rating quality of randomized controlled trials. Phys Ther. 2003;83(8):713–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Deeks J, Higgins J, Altman D, et al. Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions version 5.1. 0 (updated March 2011). The Cochrane Collaboration; 2011.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    DerSimonian R, Laird N. Meta-analysis in clinical trials. Control Clin Trials. 1986;7(3):177–88.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Higgins JP, Thompson SG, Deeks JJ, et al. Measuring inconsistency in meta-analyses. BMJ. 2003;327(7414):557–60.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, et al. Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;41(1):3–13.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Bhogal SK, Teasell RW, Foley NC, et al. The PEDro scale provides a more comprehensive measure of methodological quality than the Jadad scale in stroke rehabilitation literature. J Clin Epidemiol. 2005;58(7):668–73.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    de Morton NA. The PEDro scale is a valid measure of the methodological quality of clinical trials: a demographic study. Aust J Physiother. 2009;55(2):129–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Chtara M, Chamari K, Chaouachi M, et al. Effects of intra-session concurrent endurance and strength training sequence on aerobic performance and capacity. Br J Sports Med. 2005;39(8):555–60.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Gettman LR, Ayres JJ, Pollock ML, et al. The effect of circuit weight training on strength, cardiorespiratory function, and body composition of adult men. Med Sci Sports. 1978;10(3):171–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Haennel R, Teo KK, Quinney A, et al. Effects of hydraulic circuit training on cardiovascular function. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1989;21(5):605–12.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Kaikkonen H, Yrjama M, Siljander E, et al. The effect of heart rate controlled low resistance circuit weight training and endurance training on maximal aerobic power in sedentary adults. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2000;10(4):211–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Messier SP, Dill ME. Alterations in strength and maximal oxygen-uptake consequent to nautilus circuit weight training. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1985;56(4):345–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Murray JW, Donlick RG, Haas JD, et al. Effects of a slow speed, high-intensity circuit weight training-program on strength, endurance, aerobic power and body-composition. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1983;15(2):124–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Camargo MD, Stein R, Ribeiro JP, Schvartzman PR, et al. Circuit weight training and cardiac morphology: a trial with magnetic resonance imaging. Br J Sports Med. 2008;42(2):141–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Dorgo S, King GA, Rice CA. The effects of manual resistance training on improving muscular strength and endurance. J Strength Cond Res. 2009;23(1):293–303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Esquivel AA, Welsch MA. High and low volume resistance training and vascular function. Int J Sports Med. 2007;28(3):217–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Mate-Munoz JL, Anton AJM, Jimenez PJ, et al. Effects of instability versus traditional resistance training on strength, power and velocity in untrained men. J Sports Sci Med. 2014;13(3):460–8.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Rahmani-Nia F, Arazi H, Rahimi R, et al. Effects of an eight-week circuit strength training program on the body images and anxiety in untrained college students. Med Dello Sport. 2011;64(3):297–308.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Buskirk E, Taylor HL. Maximal oxygen intake and its relation to body composition, with special reference to chronic physical activity and obesity. J Appl Physiol. 1957;11(1):72–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Kerksick CM, Mayhew JL, Grimstvedt ME, et al. Factors that contribute to and account for strength and work capacity in a large cohort of recreationally trained adult healthy men with high- and low-strength levels. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28(5):1246–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Coffey VG, Hawley JA. The molecular bases of training adaptation. Sports Med. 2007;37(9):737–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Hawley JA, Hargreaves M, Joyner MJ, et al. Integrative biology of exercise. Cell. 2014;159(4):738–49.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Coffey VG, Hawley JA. Concurrent exercise training: do opposites distract? J Physiol. 2017;595(9):2883–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francisco Antonio Muñoz-Martínez
    • 1
  • Jacobo Á. Rubio-Arias
    • 1
    • 2
  • Domingo Jesús Ramos-Campo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pedro E. Alcaraz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.UCAM Research Center for High Performance SportCatholic University San AntonioMurciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences, Faculty of SportsUCAM, Catholic University San AntonioMurciaSpain

Personalised recommendations