Circuit Training During Taekwondo

Sean Marie Prythyll Patnubay
4 min readSep 7, 2021

A commentary by Sean Marie Prythyll A. Patnubay | November 8, 2020

Some screenshots during the course

During training sessions at the ​do jang, we would execute a series of consecutive timed exercises one after the other to Mulan’s Make a Man Out of You or Milo’s Go, go, Milo Champion. We get down to business because we need cross-training exercises like circuit training to be incorporated into our Taekwondo program to improve on ourselves.

Moreover, it is good that we can change the focus of circuit training to meet our needs like 1) flexibility, 2) weight loss, 3) cost-effectiveness, 4) time-efficiency, and 5) addressing some key weaknesses that are specific to our sport.

Stretching and flexibility has always been a regular part of our training as Taekwondo jins and it is a welcome advantage that circuit training aids us in this. As you may know, Taekwondo has really high kicks with splits and it really focuses on speed and accuracy.

Another advantage of cross-training Taekwondo and circuit training is that it helps us lose weight along with a healthy diet. Circuit training targets areas like our core, arms, legs, glutes, and back. This is definitely beneficial to us jins since we compete in weight classes. There are times when we have to achieve certain kilograms so the team can have a good line up.

Circuit training is also very cost-effective since there is minimal equipment required. We appreciate this because the equipment for Taekwondo is already steep to begin with from the uniforms to the gear. Since circuit training can be done either outdoors or indoors, it has also been really COVID-friendly. Even before, we hardly had to add anything to our existing equipment in the gym like the rubber mats.

It also helps that circuit training is very time-efficient. We get maximum results in minimum time. This is really great since the other areas of Taekwondo are also already very time consuming.

Finally, I can say that circuit training really helped us in addressing areas that we can work on or in short, our weaknesses. Because circuit training is flexible, we can adjust some exercises to be done at the start so we still have energy to finish the rest. Personally, I think my upper body strength needs special attention.

However, there are still some limitations that we need to recognize despite the merits that circuit training provides in terms of 1) strength, 2) endurance, 3) form, 4) fatigue, and 5) injury.

While we cannot deny that circuit training helps our muscles, it is still not ideal for improving strength. We still need to supplement this with other workouts since Taekwondo is about power and speed.

In addition to this, circuit training does not really prepare us for long endurance events. Maybe it is a bit helpful since matches are only usually for a few minutes but we cannot rely solely on it. Moreover, we still have belt promotions to consider which can go on for hours especially if the belt is higher. Therefore, circuit training is definitely not enough.

In terms of form, it is difficult as well to maintain a proper form throughout the circuit training since it is usually fast-paced and quantity-based (or maybe that is just me). This is a bit worrisome since we also have poomsae in Taekwondo which focuses on form and the proper execution so we have to be really careful that we do not form bad habits from circuit training or slack off because of the repetitions. I think that there is also the pressure we get from our teammates because we try to move as one unit as much as possible. This could either be a good or bad thing for us but it really depends on the person.
As I mentioned earlier, repetition is tiring and we know this for a fact since​poomsae training (forms) is more tiring than kyorugi (sparring). In light of this, it is best that we make sure that our routine does not work on the same muscle groups on consecutive days since there is a potential for fatigue in doing circuit training.

Because of the abovementioned, there is also a higher risk of injury even if it is also a great choice for exercising through injuries. One has to be sure that one is doing the right thing at the right time to avoid such instances. This is why I am thankful that I have a good coach to guide me through the process but I feel like there could be more.

This is why I chose to take this class so I can gain a better understanding of circuit training to get its advantages while being wary of its disadvantages. I hope that this will be a fruitful quarter for me especially in terms of fitness.