T Nation

Conditioning Involving Mostly or Only Upper Body?


#1

Anyone got some advice on high intensity/interval conditioning to do on upper body day? Wouldn't exactly want to run sprints or hills the day before a deadlift or squat day...

I have an old heavy bag (100+ lbs) but the only place I can fit it in is a work shop...one with a concrete floor and no room. I tried a couple rounds yesterday, and ended up backing up into a tractor parked in there and gashed my fucking calf open. Anyways...

What do you guys do in terms of high intensity work that wouldn't fatigue the lower body? Any advice will be greatly appreciated.


#2

Off hand I’d say sledgehammer/maul work (if you focus on swinging faith the upper body), some med ball stuff, swimming with a pull buoy, C2 rower keeping the legs locked out and only using back/arms to name a few.


#3

Rope.


#4

Congas


#5

Thanks guys. I’ll look into getting rope and a sledge. When I was a young boy I had a job one summer splitting wood with nothing but a maul and I remember how fucking taxing that was.


#6

Hitting the heavy bag?


#7

medicine ball throws and slams


#8

This might sound counter intuitive, but the better I got at skipping rope the less it fatigued my legs and the more it fatigued my shoulders. Keeping my feet as close to the ground as possible allowed me to set a much faster pace swinging the rope, also minimized shin splints. I would imagine doing double unders or using a weighted jump rope has a similar effect. Your results may differ, but something to consider


#9

[quote]Facepalm_Death wrote:
This might sound counter intuitive, but the better I got at skipping rope the less it fatigued my legs and the more it fatigued my shoulders. Keeping my feet as close to the ground as possible allowed me to set a much faster pace swinging the rope, also minimized shin splints. I would imagine doing double unders or using a weighted jump rope has a similar effect. Your results may differ, but something to consider[/quote]

x2

Weighted jump ropes destroy my shoulders.


#10

Rope climb is good, just ease into it and don’t expect be Tarzan on the ropes, it’s tough.

Get a 1.5 or 2 inch manilla rope.


#11

[quote]JonSupps wrote:
Rope climb is good, just ease into it and don’t expect be Tarzan on the ropes, it’s tough.

Get a 1.5 or 2 inch manilla rope.

http://www.functionalhandstrength.com/images5/manila_climbingropes3.gif[/quote]

I happen to have fair bit of experience with rope climbing.

Seriously, never ever try to use it for conditioning. A movement can be used for conditioning if a breakdown in technique is not dangerous and you are strong enough to do lots of reps. Since neither is the case for most people - don’t do it. Seriously, you could just as well do deadlifts for conditioning.


#12

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:

[quote]JonSupps wrote:
Rope climb is good, just ease into it and don’t expect be Tarzan on the ropes, it’s tough.

Get a 1.5 or 2 inch manilla rope.

http://www.functionalhandstrength.com/images5/manila_climbingropes3.gif[/quote]

I happen to have fair bit of experience with rope climbing.

Seriously, never ever try to use it for conditioning. A movement can be used for conditioning if a breakdown in technique is not dangerous and you are strong enough to do lots of reps. Since neither is the case for most people - don’t do it. Seriously, you could just as well do deadlifts for conditioning.
[/quote]

Somewhat agree. Battling ropes might be a good way to go for upper body dominant rope based conditioning (never tried them myself).

Rope climbs? Less so. In a sense, I climb rope for a living (tree work). It can be a great workout, but it’s really all legs and abs with some grip elements. A person without at least decent technique will fatigue long before they get a decent conditioning effect, in my experience at least.

OP, I think you’re on track with the sledge hammer and tire thing. Great bang for your buck. Go to a tire shop and pick up an old tire for free, grab a sledge and you’re good to go.


#13

This is an upper body complex that Rob Shaul recently added to Military Athlete. Take a look at it. You might like it.


#14

you could always put the bag on the floor and do some ground and pound. 30 seconds full mount, 30 seconds left side, 30 seconds right side, 30 seconds north/south or something like that. The mix of striking without really being able to use your legs will give your core a go too, not to mention transitioning can be tiring.


#15

Just for upper body, I sometimes do what I like to call ‘angle grinders’.

Example: Start with a bench set to the upright position & crank out a set of 10-15 db presses then, drop the angle of the bench down a notch & immediately repeat…keep going till you are at flat bp position.

Of course this can also be mixed & intensified up a bit by doing antagonistic angle grinders ie: one set of incline presses followed by db bench rows etc.

  • you could mix in some jumping jacks or some other easy-ish full body movement in between ‘angles’.