Conditioning Over Cardio
Not many people walk into the gym, kick the door down pumped for doing cardio.
I mean, what is sexy about riding the elliptical, walking the treadmill, or sitting the bike for hours on end?
Although steady state cardio is not the most exciting, it does have it's place in a sound program; low intensity cardio facilitates the growth of capillaries that encourage more blood flow that aids in recovery while giving your soft and connective tissues a break from the ground and pound of consistent weight training.
However, the benefits of conditioning in your training can be tremendous. If you have limited time to be in the gym (like most do), you want to be the most efficient with your time as possible. Alongside time management, if you're trying to pack on more muscle or maintain muscle in a caloric deficit, conditioning will be your best bet. Training at high intensities for repeated short periods increase muscular adaptation, better recruits fast twitch fibers, and is extremely effective at provoking a fat burning response.
The following are a few of my favorite ways to condition in a short period of time.
1. Sled Push/Pulls
Sled pushes will challenge your entire body and provide an intense from your shoulders all the way down to your legs. Very easy to use, straighten your arms and drive the sled for a short burst of time. A few training examples are as follows:
- Down and Backs: If you have the luxury of indoor turf, drive the sled the full length and back. Rest 20 seconds in between each down and back. Repeat for 5 rounds.
- Push/Pull: Like the down and back, push the sled the full length and return the sled by dragging the sled backwards. Great way to activate your quads and get your heart rate through the roof. Rest for 20 seconds. Repeat for 5 rounds.
- 3-2-1's: These are fairly brutal so try at your own risk. Load the sled with a reasonable weight (about 7 RPE) and perform 3 rounds with 1 minute rest in between. The only rule of the sled push in 3-2-1's is to keep the sled moving at your maximum effort the entire time. First round is 3 minutes constant push followed by a 1 minute rest. Repeat for 2 minutes and then finally for a minute. Very challenging!
2. Med Ball Circuits
Medicine balls are easily utilized for dynamic movements that are fairly safe to use. When used explosively in repetitive states, they can provide a great cardiovascular stimulus. Try the following circuit:
10 reps of the following for 5 rounds. 30 second break between rounds. Do all with as much explosiveness as possible.
- Regular slams
- Side Tosses (each side)
- Med Ball Burpee
- Wall Ball
3. EMOM Dumbbell Thrusters
All you will need are a couple dumbbells and a few feet of space to knock these out. EMOM stands for Every Minute on the Minute in which you perform a specified amount of reps within a minute. You perform the reps and rest until the next minute interval arrives.
To perform a dumbbell thruster, you simply put two dumbbells on your shoulders and come to a full squat. Complete the squat and press the dumbbells over your head.
For this series of conditioning, perform 12 Dumbbell Thrusters EMOM for 10 minutes.
Get Out and Condition
The above are my three go-to's for conditioning workouts when crunched for time. There quick, very easy to implement, and get the job done. Give them a shot and let me know how you respond!