Conditioning is important regardless of who you are or what your goal.
We often associate the need for conditioning with endurance athletes (runners, triathletes etc) or team sport athletes (football, rugby, hockey, basketball etc). It is very common in combat sports (BJJ, boxing, MMA etc)
However even strength & power athletes (strongman, weightlifting, powerlifting, shot-put, discuss etc) need a good dose of conditioning in their plan.
For me, conditioning is structured work that involves the individual training to/or near failure without complete recovery in between repetitions so that they can enhance work capacity and produce force repetitively without significant breakdown in performance.
Specific conditioning for the sport is necessary and of course important, particularly nearer to the time of competition. However it is the non-specific conditioning that really builds the foundations that allow the individual take advantage of the specific work later on in the preparation phase.
I see far too many coaches and athletes fall into the 'specificity trap' when it comes to writing and executing their training plans.
Without general preparatory, non-specific conditioning work, you run the risk of injury and reduce the adaptations from specific work nearer to the time of competition.
Now all of the sports listed above require very different approaches. Should you want more information about an individual sport then reach out to me, it'd be a pleasure to help you... but for the purpose of this blog post, the point I am trying to make is that conditioning work should be as varied as possible whilst being non-specific, up until a few months out from competition.
The more conditioning / general fitness work you do, the more volume and intensity you'll be able to tolerate in the future. You'll be able to train harder without fatiguing as easily.
The conditioning session example below is short, intense and can be easily implemented at the end of a strength training session.
It is great for further developing back and leg strength, repetitive explosive full body power and can really help with general fitness for a lot of sports and even regular gym members.
On The Minute for 12 Minutes
You're going to perform a prescribed number of reps as fast as you can, starting on the minute mark for each minute, for 12 minutes.
The faster you complete the reps, the more recovery you get, for example, if it takes you 12 seconds to complete the prescribed repetitions then you'll get 48 seconds rest before the start of the next minute.
This session involves 2 exercises
You're going to perform 2x DBall Ground to Platform lifts on every even minute (0:00, 2:00, 4:00 and so on)
Youre going to perform 10x Barbell GHD Back Extensions on every odd minute (1:00, 3:00, 5:00 and so on)
As we are doing 12 minutes, you will finish having completed 6 rounds of each exercise.
Here are the exercises:
A1: DBall Ground to Platform
The key here is to try and stay as tall and upright as possible whilst ensuring you're lifting with your legs.
We're only doing 2 reps here so you want the weight to be heavy. In this video, the DBall weighs 70kg, which is between 80-90% of the lad's bodyweight you see here performing the drill.
The height of the box is 42 inches - the standard platform height for Atlas Stone Loads in strongman
To ensure the ball remains high on the chest as you stand to lift it to the platform, ensure you keep your chin on the ball after the initial pick. As you stand, keep your chin in contact with the ball and you'll find it stays nice and high on your chest, making it easier to lift up onto a high box.
A2: Barbell GHD Back Extensions (knees locked)
I emphasise knees locked here as I often ask the individual to slightly unlock the knee to place more emphasis on the hamstring. In this instance, however, I want the knees to be locked so that we can build back and glute strength.
In short, the session can be written as follows:
On the Minute for 12 Minutes
• Evens: DBall Ground to Platform x2
• Odds: Barbell GHD Back Extensions x10
As said you want the Dball to be heavy. At least 80% of your own bodyweight ideally
If you don't have a DBall then there are plenty of options. You could use sandbags, a rucksack filled with sand and water bottles etc, or even one of my favourites, the Zercher Squat
If you'd like to train like this, then get in touch! We have space available at Cheshire Barbell, whether that be in-person or online.
We are also currently offering Online Programmes from as little as £9.99 per month