If you are looking for a new workout challenge, try integrating offset circuit training into your routine. Circuits add variety and fun in between your sets, and circuit training allows you to get more out of your workout in less time by burning more calories in less time. Circuit training is a combination of both cardio and strength. Using different sized weights in each hand makes a strength training circuit an offset circuit.
Circuit training usually includes a group of nine to 12 stations. You perform an exercise at each of these stations for 15- to 45-second intervals; the time depends on your fitness level, where 15 seconds is a beginner level and 45 is advanced. Move from station to station with no more than 30 seconds rest. You can repeat the whole circuit -- all of the station exercises -- one to three times. Use machines, free weights or body weight exercises. For additional variety, you can use a combination of the various options.
You can use the same weight in each hand for a circuit. To perform an offset circuit, you use two different sized weights in either hand for the duration of the circuit in that exercise. When you complete that particular station of the circuit, you switch the different sized weights to the opposing hands for the next set of the circuit. Do this for all of the stations in the circuit.
Offset Example: Shoulder Press
Use two different size dumbbells to add an offset shoulder press to your circuit. For example, use a 5 lb. and 8 lb. dumbbell in either hand. Perform a standing shoulder press by holding each dumbbell at shoulder height, with your palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells upward until they are at arm's length over your head. Lower the weights slowly back to the starting position and repeat. Switch the weights to the opposite hands after you complete the set.
Always make sure to properly warm up and cool down to prevent any injuries. Selecting a comfortable weight for each hand is also important. The weights you choose for each offset exercise should be neither too light nor too heavy for either hand. If a weight is too light, you may not get as much out of the workout as possible; if it is too heavy, you could be at serious risk for an injury, such as a strain or a torn muscle.
Alicia Bell started writing in 2007. She is a kinesiologist, a CanFit Pro Certified Personal Trainer and a NCCP Track and Field Coach. Bill is a regular writer online for Rivalus supplements and her own personal blog. She holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology.