How to Build Conditioning?

Not the biggest fan of cardio or conditioning. In the last 2 weeks I have been noticing that my capacity to handle some work outs to be pretty bad. Squat night last night about took me out… I am assuming its because of my conditioning because I refuse to do that crap. However, I need to apparently. What are some less suck ways of getting some meaningful cardio in to build up some endurance?

EMOM (every minute on the minute) sets, or cluster sets where you do sets of 2-5 reps with maximal force and short breaks between sets. You never get 100% fatigued, but you never get 100% recovered and this builds conditioning.

You can do circuits with assistance work. One exercise after another, after another with no rest between exercises. Like situps, then leg curls then leg extensions. Your abs can rest when you do hams and quads, but your lungs have to work the whole time.

You could do 5-6 sled drags or prowler pushes that last for a minute or 2 minutes. Not like running a marathon, but longer exertion than lifting weights.

Walking up steep hills is cool too.


If your workout structure allows for it you could superset all of your main movements with assistance movements. I’ve been doing that with all of my 5/3/1 sets for a few weeks and have already noticed a marked difference. I don’t do any cardio other than 2-3 hours of table tennis and maybe a 1-hour walk a week.

EMOMs like he stated above are great.

Sprints man, suck it up and do them.

Try heavy carrying loads, farmer carry’s or a trap bar.

Brute force sand bags, you’ll condition yourself and build muscle by lifting one, placing them over head, on your shoulders, or many other ways and carrying it (x) amount of distance as fast as you can.

This is a good idea. Throw in a little EMOM finisher here and there. Good thing I garage lift…never liked the idea of barfing in an actual gym.

I do loaded carries with a trap bar but maybe I should go for distance with that instead of weight. Or go for weight and superset with something… All of these ideas are making my lungs hurt.

I built a gym in my basement exactly 19 months ago and have never looked back. Yeah, there’s things I can’t do, but avoiding typical wannabe-alpha gym dudes and never having to wait on anything is priceless. The trick is to either have or develop the intrinsic motivation to push yourself when there’s nothing at stake but your own self-respect. That has its merits in all aspects of life, though.

Rippetoe said strength is the best conditioning. Being strong makes everything easier

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Rippetoe was pretty silly when he said that.

Seen a lot of strong dudes fade hard in a medley.


One of his stupider suggestions, which is saying something.


Try adding some barbel complexes to the end of a session or on a conditioning day. Pick a number of movements and do them back to back without putting the bar down. Rest long enough to get breathing back a little and start again. Do as many rounds as your conditioning or time allows.
I like;
SLDL, bent row, power cleans, front squat, overhead press, back squat.
10 reps per exercise, 4 rounds.

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Nice. I’ll give this a go too. Thanks.

There’s some truth in there though. I’ve noticed it myself but still don’t neglect other forms of conditioning.

Some, yeah, but it is very small.

If you are in bad shape and weak, getting stronger will get you in better shape than staying in bad shape and weak, but it is a poor strategy if your goal is better conditioning.

And given that Mark has never trained any athlete of note, he was once again operating way outside his wheelhouse.

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Except that he did not say that. What he said was:
“For novice athletes, or for recruits with many other things to learn, strength training improves this aspect of fitness as efficiently as conditioning programs that take much more time and produce no useful strength improvement.
The Prowler is the finest conditioning device ever invented, I assure you. Nothing else approaches its effectiveness. But for these people, barbell training works better.
So the Prowler and all other conditioning activities can wait until after the strength base is developed. It only takes a few months to get much stronger, unless you fuck up and interfere with the process by losing sight of the priority.”

He was very, very clear throughout that entire article that he was speaking about training efficiency for beginners and untrained people. The approach as a training method can be debatable, but attacking it based on misquote and misapplied use is silly.


Plenty of the biggest answers were given already. Using more supersets it an easy way to move more during a session. Dedicated workouts like complexes take more planning to fit into your routine and are more intense, but are also very effective.

I’ve always liked tacking on 15-20 minutes of max incline treadmill walking (emphases on max incline and walking, not running at 8% incline or something) at the end of a few sessions a week.

It could also be as simple as including more sets in the 10-15 rep range throughout the week, either as finishers, drop sets, or accessory work with big compound lifts (as opposed to isolation-focused accessory work).


I’ll see if I can find where I read that. I may have misread it, too.

One of his stupider suggestions, which is saying something.

This applies to his full quote, I just didn’t include it all

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You disagree with his prowler assessment?

Guess again, Einstein.

I was asking a legitimate question, douchebag. Get a grip dude.