T Nation

Conditioning for Neurotype 1B?

Hi Coach, i hope you and the family are well. What are the general guidelines with regards to conditioning for the Neurotype 1B e.g Intensity, frequency and modalities?

I’m really curious about this too.


“Traditional ESW”

Alactic sprints

Type 1B are normally very good athletes: high skill level, fast, explosive, strong. They can actually build a decent base of aerobic capacity (although it will rarely be their strength), but one of their main issue is their tolerance for lactic acid. Of all the Neurotypes, they have the least tolerance for it and take the biggest recovery hit from training in a lactate state. Jessica Coté-Beaudoin is a Crossfit athlete I worked with for 4 years, one of the most gifted athletes I’ve seen: former national level gymnast, amazing on the Olympic lifts (195lbs snatch, 250lbs jerk) and pretty strong. Through proper training, she was able to build decent cardio (low intensity) but despite being in great shape and highly conditioned, she just could not tolerate lactic acid. When she was forced to do tons of lactic work to solve the issue, she over trained badly (she was basically breaking down from day to day). Note that I was only coaching her on the Olympic lifts, not doing her whole programming.

I’ve worked with another CrossFit athlete who was also like that. She was in great shape, very good cardio but as soon as she had some lactic acid build-up, you lost her.

These guys are built for speed. The best type of conditioning for them is short duration sprints. Normally, I would recommend around 12s but they could go as long as 20 seconds, so long as there is absolutely no lactate build-up. As soon as they feel some lactic acid, they should stop the set. That’s why I like to use ample rest intervals with them. For example, 12s of sprinting / 90s of rest. If they rest for too long though, they can get out of the zone. Since they are not as negatively affected by adrenalin as Type 1A, I like to have them do active recovery with things like band pull-aparts or even some abs work between sets of sprints. I recommend not going longer than about 15 minutes of work so roughly 6-10 sprints per session.

“Resisted ESW”

Prowler/Sled sprints/battle ropes/sledgehammer striking/KB swings in alactic zone

Here, the key word is acceleration. Anything that can be done hard and fast, they will respond well to. Any type of sprinting (prowler, sled, Assault bike), striking or KB swings will be effective, as long as they do not build up lactic acid (see above). They can do medleys of several exercises targeting different regions to minimize lactic acid build up. Something like:

A1. Prowler sprint 10s

Rest 45s

A2 . Sledhammer striking 12s

Rest 45s

A3. KB swing 20s

Rest 75s

For 4-6 rounds

Or they can do a single modality for parameters similar to the traditional ESW (10-20s on / 75-90s off or active rest).

Another good option is the use of weightlifting complexes. The classic example being “The Bear”:

Power clean + Front squat + Push press (or strict press)/bring bar behind neck, back squat, press/push press behind the neck

But you can come up with tons of different combinations. For example:

2 power cleans + 2 push presses + 2 front squats


2 power snatches + 2 power cleans + 2 power jerks


Here I would also recommend keeping the sets at less than 30s to prevent lactic acid accumulation.

One final approach that works well is the upper/lower alternating EMOM for 4-5 reps. You combine one upper body lift and one lower body lift using an EMOM (every minute on the minute) approach with odd minutes being the upper body lift and the even minutes being the lower body lift. Roughly 70-75% of your max is used on those lifts.

For example:

When the clock hits…

0:00 … do 4-5 military presses

1:00 … do 4-5 front squats

2:00 … do 4-5 military presses

3:00 … do 4-5 front squats

Etc. For 10-15 minutes.

“Worst choice”

Anything that puts them in the lactic zone

Lactic acid training can be a powerful tool to get leaner. For one thing, it can spike growth hormone levels to a significant degree. For a type 1B, it is not a good modality partly because their brain hates being in that zone, but mostly because it takes a lot for them to recover from that type of work. So much so that it could negatively impact their day-to-day performance.

I gave the example of Jess earlier. A few years ago, she was coming back from her best performance, 3rd at regionals (behind Camille Leblanc-Bazinet and Michelle Letendre). That year, she actually focused heavily on the Olympic lifts since she was training with me four times. The next season, she was a favorite to do really well, but her weightlifting volume dropped down and her coach drastically increased her lactic acid work since it was her weakness. The result is that she spent the last 4 months prior to the open in a state of borderline depression. It would take everything to get up to train. When the open started, she performed dismally: she was in the 200th after two WODs. She was broken down and crying all the time. I told her to stop training completely for the last 3 weeks of the open, doing only the WOD and not doing anything for the rest of the week other than mobility work. Well, she was able to work back up and qualified for regionals. Her coach at the time thought that she was lazy and hard to coach. He didn’t understand the impact that lactate work can have on a Type 1B. When Type 1Bs are under too much lactic acid for too long they just shut down, it has nothing to do with will power. Three years ago, at regionals, Jess injured her shoulder badly in one WOD. I thought that there was no way she could go on. The upcoming WOD was ring muscle ups and clean ladder, two of her best movements. She was treated by my friend Sebastien Lemire and went on to complete the WOD in horrible pain … and not only did she win it, she had the best time in the world! That’s not a lazy or mentally weak person!

Ask any track and field coach working with sprinters and he will tell you that NOTHING requires more recovery than lactate work. Not surprisingly, most natural sprinters are Type 1B. If you need to develop lactic capacity, you might need to use some in your training, but if your goal is only to get leaner it is not worth it.

Another very popular method that will not work well for Type 1B is the Tabata method. Intervals of 20 seconds of hard work/10 sec off x 8 minutes.


Hello CT, In the case of neurotype 2b, how would it look?

Thank you so much for that wealth of information. Could a Type 1B also use tempo intervals Ala Charlie Francis, by keeping the intensity low e.g between 60 - 75% so not to accumulate lactic acid?

how not to get in the lactic zone doing crossfit WOD ?

yes, absolutely

By using proper pacing

Going back to the original post, are the frequency and volume recommendations for conditioning the same as regular training? 5-6 day a week? And ideally short conditioning sessions?

It depends on the volume/frequency of training.

The answer would be no.

1B CAN train 5-6 days a week. It doesn’t mean that they always should and even if they do. That doesn mean 5-6x everything. It means 5-6 training days per week. Maybe 4 lifting and 1-2 conditioning sessions. Or 5 lifting workouts with a small amount of conditioning in 2-3 of them and one conditioning day.

That makes sense thank you. Especially since I think I have a tendency to want to kill every single workout and then I end up burning myself out.