T Nation

Spicing Up Energy Systems Work

My training in terms of energy systems work (cardio, GPP, call it whatever you want) is getting a little stale. What are some things that can be done to spice it up?

Things I’ve done so far:

stairmaster, burpees, shuttle runs, skipping rope, dumbbell swings. These are all done for intervals. What are some things that can be done with a minimum of equipment that have not yet been mentioned, or some new spins on the activities already mentioned?

I’m fortunate enough to have a training facility with a tire flipping section there’s a 450, 550, and 800lb tire. These are unbelievable for GPP work, they even help develop explosiveness too.

It’s apparently quite easy to get these tires, free of charge. Call around to your local scrapyards and truck service centers and I’d say you’re bound to find guys just looking to dump their old tires on someone. Good luck!


. For My “Cardio” I have recently started doing, what I call my “Work Capacity and conditioning (aka GPP) Training Circuit Matrix”. The general idea I got from the IntoCombat folks who train Boxers, MMA, etc.

Basically it is Circuits of 4 exercises/stations done for a set time done as quickly as possible maintaining good form and making it through each period without needing rest. I use 5 Circuits (Lower Body, Upper Body, Core/Rotational, Speed/Agility, and Sport Specific). Each can be done 2 or 3 times/rounds. Any exercise can be used as long it fits the frame work. 

Medicine balls, light dumbbells, bodyweight, Old School Calisthenics, jump ropes, Light weight Complexes, agility ladders, hurdles, stability balls, plyometric boxes, etc. all work fine. Currently I do each station for 20 seconds on/ 10 seconds off with 1 minute rest between rounds and 2 minutes between circuits. The matrix is completely scalable, by changing exercise selection, number of rounds, length of exercise, length of rest, etc.

I do this twice a week on Tues and Thurs and use two different sets of exercises/matrixes. This is primarily for cardio, so I choose exercises that can be done fairly quickly. Secondary benefits of the circuits include anaerobic endurance, dynamic power, speed, coordination, etc. I weight train on Mon, Wed, Fri and I seem to be able to recover just fine.

The Sport Specific circuit is just heavy bag work I do for fun, if you compete in some sport Im sure there are some aerobic exercises/ drills for that sport that you could use.

I know my description may sound confusing so I have included a link to my log for this. The log is in Excel format. The third worksheet is a blank.


I also have included a partial picture of it below (hopefully)


Ninthwave, that was a great suggestion! That is definitely something I can use. I like the good amount of variety.


anyone have any more ideas?