Alright so if you have been hanging out around my blog for a while then you know that originally I started off with a brand called Intellectual Fitness which was based around the idea of training in the smartest way possible. And the about a year or so ago I rebranded the site into Freeborn Training Systems because I wanted to create something a bit more personal and because I just didn't think Intellectual Fitness was something that would ever truly be understood just from reading the name. However throughout this rebranding I have kept the tagline for my brand the same because it represents everything I think training should and can be: practical, purposeful, and effective.
That being said one of the biggest parts of a training program is conditioning. It can actually, in my opinion, be one of the biggest determinants to the overall success of a program. Yet time and time again it seems that most people carry out conditioning with no other purpose but to make themselves as hot, bothered, and sweaty as possible (somewhere somebody is making a dirty joke after reading that). Which in my opinion is a pour approach to conditioning.
Now while conditioning will in fact make you tired and sweaty, it should also support the overall goal of your program whether that be strength, hypertrophy, fat-loss, or developing your ninja skills (I won't judge you).
This is one of the features that separates a mediocre program from a excellent program.
In addition to supporting the goal of the program I like conditioning to be an opportunity to do productive work not just repetitive motions at varying speeds. Conditioning is a great opportunity to work on variety of movement, get extra practice at the technique of a life you struggle with, or work on some problem areas restricting your movement capacity.
In other words the conditioning has more purpose than just doing burpees for minutes on end.
Now don't get me wrong I understand that there are times when you have to do long drawn out aerobic conditioning for any number of reasons, but aside from this instance you can make just about any conditioning purposeful and goal oriented.
I don't have enough time nor do I think a blog is the best place to talk through how you should condition for each goal, why you should condition for each goal this way, and how to make the conditioning purposeful I do want to provide you with an example of this concept in action.
Let's say a program is created for some who is trying to maximize or improve their strength level. The important consideration here than is to make sure the conditioning is not interfering with the stimuluses being applied to produce strength adaptations. This means the conditioning should not be long in duration nor should it make the athlete sore. In addition the conditioning should give the trainee time to move through a variety of movement patterns as it is likely that the program centers around just a few specific lifts which the trainee is trying to improve his strength on. And to through in my own personal touch I would like the conditioning to although the trainee to work on some mobility restrictions. This conditioning should be done on the off days that the trainee does not plan on lifting weights.
Now that you have an outline and some goals for what the conditioning should accomplish you can make much more intelligent decisions about what the conditioning will look like and consist of.
If this was a program I wrote for someone I would more than likely accomplish all of this by using circuits that consist of mobility drills and some strength exercises that reinforce the gained mobility with light weight and controlled tempos. These circuits could be done for a prescribed number of rounds with a prescribed rest period between each round or one could set a timer for 10 to 20 minutes and perform an as many rounds as possible type of workout or density training type workout. Below are two videos of such circuits that could be used.
One important thing though for the conditioning would be staying away from exercises that have a large and taxing eccentric motion as this typically produces the greatest amount of soreness and will hinder the trainee while performing the strength training he needs to to accomplish his goal.
I hope this gives you some motivation to make your conditioning more purposeful and some ideas on how to go about doing so.
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training