“Conditioning” is a very vague term — and it is for the better, given the scientists’ lack of understanding of endurance, its different facets, and the variables affecting it.
Fighters and other hard-living types love killing themselves in the glycolytic pathway. Because burn is painful and plain sucks. But this is far from the only way to “condition.” Enter the alactacid pathway plus aerobic recovery. (Learn the basic science in the StrongFirst Roadwork blog.)
The Strength Aerobics Circuit for Conditioning
“Enjoy” this “strength aerobics” circuit by Alexey Senart, SFG Team Leader. Take a kettlebell you can comfortably press ten times or so and do:
- 1 left-hand clean
- 1 left-hand military press
- 1 left-hand front squat (change stance if needed before squatting)
- Park the bell
- Shake off the tension with “fast and loose” drills
- Repeat on the right
Easy so far, right?
Shake off the tension with “fast and loose” drills, and keep going. Select a pace you can sustain for a long time (a metronome might be helpful), and carry on. For ten, twenty, even thirty minutes.
Alexey has found this to be a perfect “field” workout for those who frequently have to travel, be on military deployment, or on vacation with one bell in the trunk. You will maintain most of your strength while greatly enhancing your work capacity. I suggest alternating the above with Simple & Sinister day to day.
And if you are not traveling, have access to heavy kettlebells, and prioritize strength in your training, use the above workout as the light day for your presses and squats.
Bodyweight Conditioning Workout
If you prefer “conditioning” with bodyweight, try the following workout Steve Maxwell and I designed for our students at a bodyweight course we were teaching almost a decade ago:
- One-arm pushup, left x 1 rep
- One-arm pushup, right x 1 rep
- Pullup with the palms facing and the fists touching each other, emphasizing the left x 1 rep
- Pullup with the palms facing and the fists touching each other, emphasizing the right x 1 rep
- Pistol, left x 1 rep
- Pistol, right x 1 rep
I go, you go — the 1:1 work rest ratio. Shake off the tension while your training partner is working. Ladder the works for 2 and then 3 reps — and start over. Three rounds of 1, 2, 3 will get your attention.
At that event, we selected the strongest students in attendance—Yoana Teran (today SFG Team Leader) and Sarah Cheatham (formerly a Senior instructor in my old organization)—and put them through the paces. Although stronger than most men and exceptionally conditioned with kettlebells, the ladies had to sweat to get through the circuit. Even without the “burn” that traditionally accompanies “conditioning” circuits.
Android work capacity to you!
You can’t alternate with S&S unless you own S&S.
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