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Incorporating Conditioning Into a Routine


So I was thinking about dropping some body fat in the next weeks so I figured I would star adding some conditioning into my 5 day split. Right now it goes something like this:

DAY 1: Quads/Biceps Isolation
DAY 2: Chest/Calves
DAY 3: Vertical Pull/Abs
DAY 4: Rest
DAY 5: Hams/Triceps
DAY 6: Horizontal Pull/Shoulders
DAY 7: Rest

I tired to put isolation exercises as far away form compound movements that could be affected by them as far as I could (is this the best way to go or is it better to schedule isolation exercises for a muscle together with compound movements that also work it (for example chest/triceps, back/biceps,...)).

So the (other) question is how to incorporate some conditioning into the routine. I wanted to start with 2 sessions a week and add some more as progress demands.

1) Would it be better to do something like farmer walks, small circuits, etc at the end of the workouts? if so, which workouts would be suitable for this?


2) Would it be best to schedule conditioning drills on the other two (rest) days?

I would appreciate any advice regarding this issues. Any input would be helpful


Try doing a few rounds of a circuit after your lifting is done. You could also do some sprints (40 yd repeats, ladder, etc.), or what you mentioned. Make it challenging enough to get a benefit from it. You can do pretty much any type of conditioning after lifting(I wouldn't do LSD type stuff, but you get the picture).

For more ideas, look in the workout logs forum , and check out 'Alpha Work II'. He does something called 'Inserts and Extracts', where he does some type of conditioning before AND after each workout. I've been doing it(usually run out of time or energy before I do the extract, but I get the Insert in) for a while, and my conditioning went up real quick, along with leaning out a bit and looking a bit more muscular.


Thanks man. Which of the workout days would you say are better suited for some conditioning work afterwards? Does it make a difference?


Thanks man. So which of my workout days would you say are better suited for some post-lifting conditioning? Would it make a difference?


Are you planning to reduce calories? Do you just want to loose fat or also improve conditioning/performance ?


Yes, I'm going to star dieting too. Basically the diet would consist of three solid meals and pre and post-workout shakes. Carbs only at breakfast and pre-workout at first with the possibility of cutting breakfast carbs as progress stalls. I'm not counting cals or macro nutrients but I do measure carb quantities.

The main goal right now is fat loss but the improved conditioning is a big bonus since I'm also interested in boosting work capacity.

Is the approach different for each goal?


the two aren't entirely exclusive, but with conditioning exercises you do run the risk of loosing muscle mass while dieting. I would say that the safest way to loose fat without loosing muscle is just to reduce training volume (maintaining intensity) to something like 2-3 lifts per major group, reduce calories to slightly below maintenance and jog or walk for cardio. Adjust calories and cardio based on the weight you're loosing. If you loose less than 1 lb in a week, cut cals by 300-500 or add 30 mins of cardio, between 1-2lbs a week is a good target to loose, and if you loose more than 2, reduce cardio or add back some calories. More intense conditioning exercises (like resistance circuits, intervals, sprinting, etc.) will be better for improving work capacity but if you do them while you're dieting you may find you'll loose more muscle and the fatigue may accumulate and effect your weight training.


Great advise! Thanks man. I will adjust my routine following your advise. Now that I think about it, it does make much more sense to leave conditioning exercises for periods where caloric intake is not so reduced.

So, when one wants to improve work capacity and overall conditioning is a caloric surplus necessary or do you keep calories at maintenance?

Also, what kind of split would you recommend while dieting?


I would say yes. Size + activity level = necessary calories (put as simply as possible) This idea gives you the answer to a few scenarios. If you want your size to increase, the necessary calories goes up, if you're activity increases then either calories go up or size comes down (think about cutting cals/cardio for fat loss) Where it gets complicated is with muscle sparring during fat loss and fat accumulation during muscle gain. I have my theories about those things but I think it's sort of individual.

For training I would say the most important things are keeping the intensity up and reducing the total volume. You'll want to use exercises that let you move the most weight. Train heavy 3 days a week. On leg day do wide stance squats and go heavy. Warm up for 2-3 sets then do 2-3 sets in the 4-6 rep range. You're not going to failure necessarily, just add weight if you get 6, go lower if you don't make 4. After that do 3-4 sets of hack squats and romanian deads, 6-8 reps each. For back I would use low power pulls (i think there's a vid in the ibb workouts), pull ups and barbell rows. Same idea as before, low volume and high intensity. The last day I would use inc. db press, dips, push press and lateral raises.


Then why are you doing a 5 day split body builder routine?


I believe he meant he has been doing the split to gain mass, now he wants to lean out and was wondering what to change/add etc.


Well, originally I was thinking I would stay with the 5 day split since it seems to work really well for me, but now I know it might not be the best way to go when trying to lose fat.


Give stuff a try. The best advice anyone can give you without knowing any of your body comp or strength stats is to give 3 days/week total body training a try. As you progress, and feel up to it, add some cardio where you see fit. If you hate running, take some morning walks. Take a break from the isolation movements and hit the big compound movements...deadlift, front squat, lunges, push press, pull ups, etc. I always had success with incorporating a lot of single leg work, too, because it always felt more metabolically challenging since your sets take twice as long.

Eat alot of protein and fats, restrict carbs as much as possible. Try it out, see how your body responds. Since you've been body part split training, you'll probably see quick results from a drastic change in stimulus.


Thanks for the advise. So how would a sample workout look like? one exercise per movement pattern (vertical push, vertical pull, horizontal push and pull, hams, cuads) ore is that too much? Also, what kind of set/rep scheme?

Again, thanks for your help.


That's a very loaded question, and it would be naive of me to try to give you what you're looking for without knowing your body comp and strength stats, as well as your level of conditioning. The best thing you can do is not try to write your own program if you're unfamiliar with the style of training. Check out the cutting part of a basic program like Nate Green's "Built for Show" or Cosgrove's "New Rules of Lifting." You can find both books really cheap on amazon, and probably at your local library. Both books serve to be 100 times better advice than anyone could give you on this forum. With both programs, though, I can guarantee you'll find 3x/week TBT.