T Nation

Conditioning Suggestions

My current situation:
29 years old, about 86kg (~190lbs), around 9%bf and in a pretty lousy state of cardiovascular fitness.

I’m not concerned about achieving a ridiculous level of fitness, but as someone who works at a gym, I figure I should be fitter than most of the people I write programs for (out of professional pride if nothing else).

I currently weight train 5 days a week (Mon,Tue,Wed,Fri,Sat) , with 2 a day sessions (30mins max) as I feel I can put more effort in per session this way plus have more energy after the workout.

I have all the standard cardio gear available to me, but my achilles is currently playing up so I need to work around this. I can also access 20kg powerbags, a sled (can only drag), kettlebells and medicine balls and a few boxing bags.

Finding time to train is not an issue for me, with the exception that I like to have sunday off for my hangover/indoor soccer.

If I want to improve my fitness while keeping the weights sessions as is, what would people here suggest?

Most days I can find time to nap after a workout if need be and rising early isn’t a problem.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

I think 40-60 minutes at a heart rate between 130 and 150 is good for foundational aerobic conditioning. Sled dragging is great for this; with two plates on it you might start out at just walking (if your conditioning is poor), but will progress to a fast march. You can also add in some rows and presses (if you are using towing straps that you hold as opposed to harness or looped around the belt) or some shoulder pre-hab stuff while you’re doing it, which is good and keeps it from not being so mindlessly boring.

Another alternative is to do forward sled drag variations for 10 minutes, then do some med ball throws, ab work, heavy bag work, etc…, for 5 minutes, then 10 minutes of backwards sled drags and 5 minutes of whatever… then repeat that again. Mostly, that’s just to alleviate boredom as an hour of sled dragging is pretty fucking boring.

I would start by doing that (40-60 mins @ 130-150 bpm) twice a week and then go from there. Obviously, there are more intensive conditioning methods, but I like that as it won’t interfere with strength work and can actually help recovery while improving your aerobic conditioning.

5/3/1 Moving North Of Vag is pretty awesome

Tony Gentilcore Strong & Ripped is pretty good too

what about just adding in some finishers after the programs youre currently doing, like tabatas, farmers walks, sled work etc.?

Cheers guys.

jtrinsey: I think you’d be right with the two dedicated sessions per week, I could a longer session on a thursday, and a shorter one on one of my easier days during the week (which will move around week to week). Add the indoor soccer on a sunday and that’s 3 conditioning type sessions per week.

sjfou: I’ll admit that everything I’ve heard about tabatas scares me, but maybe it’s time to man up and give it a go. With regard to farmers walks, the heaviest I’d be able to go per hand would be about 30kg with the equipment at my gym. Would that be heavy enough? And the idea with the finishers is just to do something hard briefly to kick my ass and get myself breathing hard right?

Will have a look at those articles you mentioned when I have more time.

i still don’t get it. twice a day, 5 days a week, plus weekend soccer. you must be damn fit?

[quote]HotGymGuy wrote:
sjfou: I’ll admit that everything I’ve heard about tabatas scares me, but maybe it’s time to man up and give it a go. With regard to farmers walks, the heaviest I’d be able to go per hand would be about 30kg with the equipment at my gym. Would that be heavy enough? And the idea with the finishers is just to do something hard briefly to kick my ass and get myself breathing hard right?

[/quote]

just walk longer, further or faster - flip a tyre in the carpark, drag a sled etc. i just carry a tyre in boot & walk outside mid work, smash away with a sledgehammer & walk back in to finish…

[quote]thruxton45 wrote:
i still don’t get it. twice a day, 5 days a week, plus weekend soccer. you must be damn fit?[/quote]

If you saw how I play indoor soccer, you’d never accuse me of being fit! I basically run around for 5 minutes at a time, sub off when I feel like puking, and recover for 3 or 4 minutes. Games only last 30mins also.

Plus my weights sessions are 25-30 mins per session max, so that’s really only 5 hours of weight training a week. Add to that the fact that I usually have the luxury of a siesta after at least one session per day and I think it allows me a lot better recovery than people who have a harder balancing act to deal with in regards to their training.

if your worried about the Tabatas try working into them. I stoled this from Coach Dos’s Power cardio.

Do a 10/20 (work/rest in sec) for the 4min

Do a 15/20 for the 4min

Do a full tabata 20/10 for the 4min

work your way in gradually over the course of a few weeks to a coupls months

also complexes are fun and can add nice variety

good luck

Sprints
Burpees
HIIT
Tabatas
Complexes

Burpees.

Try to EVENTUALLY work up to 100 burpees for time. If you’re as unfit as you say you are then there’s no way you could do 100, but 4 rounds of 25 would be a good place to start, and work up til you can do 100 straight. Then start timing yourself, shooting for sub 5 minutes.

Jump Rope Intervals
Burpees
Tabata Front Squats, Tabata Burpees, Tabata Sprints on a treadmill
Complexes
Kettlebell Swings/Snatches(snatch conditiong not for the beginning KB’r)
Sled Dragging
Car Pushing
Hill Sprints

I do all conditioning as finishers. I pick almost at random what I’m going to do to finish my workout. It takes me from a “maybe I don’t need a shower” sort of sweat all the way to “did that guy just get out of the pool?” sort of sweat

Drop a couple of the strength sessions each week and chuck in sme metabolic conditioning. My most productive metabolic pairing routine is below and is something I regularly return to when fat loss/conditioning is my main objective:

A1) BB Step-up with reverse lunge x6 (per leg)
A2) DB Renegade row x6 (per side)

60s RI. I’ll do 5 rounds. My BPM will be anything from 174 to 182. If you’re pushed for time, space, equipment, etc, a pairing is much less fuss and seems just as effective.

Given your own circumstances, you could even try this routine split through the day, e.g. morning: 3 rounds; evening: 3 rounds.

You’ll find demonstrations of both these exercises on the site if you don’t know them. You can make them harder still by varying other factors, e.g. doing the lunge part of the A1 while your leading foot is still on the box, and doing a push up while holding the DBs following each renegade row rep. Can’t recommend it enough.

Not trying to be a dick, but if you are asking randoms on an internet board for conditioning ideas, then what in the blue blazes are you doing writing programs for people at the gym you work at? Nothing wrong with trying to learn more, but it seems to me that a personal trainer should have a pretty good idea of good conditioning techniques.

[quote]boatguy wrote:
Not trying to be a dick, but if you are asking randoms on an internet board for conditioning ideas, then what in the blue blazes are you doing writing programs for people at the gym you work at? Nothing wrong with trying to learn more, but it seems to me that a personal trainer should have a pretty good idea of good conditioning techniques.[/quote]

Fair point. My recommendations for conditioning are generally fairly standard advice regarding steady-state cardio or intervals, as I only have an hour once-off with people and most of them have never been in a gym before, so the resistance training side of things takes most of my time (basically ensuring that they are performing their exercises in a non-retarded fashion).
This is also influenced by the fact that I believe resistance training is going to have more effect on body-recomposition than cardio nine times out of ten.

I guess now I’m just trying to improve what is a weak-point in both my programming and personal fitness, using myself as the guinea pig.