Posts Tagged ‘conditioning’


I’m going to start off this post by warning you, the reader, that this is going to be a rare post which focuses on an experience which occurred in my life this week, rather than a strictly informative post.

I generally get about 5-7 days of resistance training in a week (some conditioning, some strength/power training, the breakdown of which is based on which training phase I’m in). Generally I workout on my own, which suits me nicely. I don’t have to worry about another person’s schedule. I get to program the way I want. I have my own quiet time with my thoughts.

But sometimes I find it difficult to push myself in conditioning. Since I do all my own programming and am not directly monitored by a coach, it would be really easy for me to skip workouts here and there, or to dog it. I’m proud to say that I can’t remember the last time I skipped a workout simply because I didn’t want to do it. But, the bottom line is, it’s harder to push yourself when you’re on your own than it is when a parter is there spurring you on.

For those of you who don’t know, the CrossFit open started recently. 2 workouts have been released, 13.1 and 13.2. I decided that I wanted to do all the workouts this year, but that I would modify certain workouts if necessary. Since I am very much against high rep Olympic lifting, I had to modify 13.1, which was a burpee and snatch workout. Today I did the 13.2 workout with no modifications. It was as follows:

5 x 115# shoulder-to-overhead
10 x 115# deadlift
15 x 24 inch box jumps
(as many reps as possible in 10 mins)

I work and workout at a YMCA gym. There are a few CrossFitters around the gym, including a guy who I will call “Tony”. Tony trains at a CrossFit gym, and mostly comes to the Y to do midday stretching. He has completed at least one Ironman that I know of, and several distance runs. We chat from time to time about our workouts. I mentioned to him before I started my workout today that I was going to do 13.2. He gave me a few tips having already done the workout himself at his CrossFit gym.

After chatting about the workout for a few minutes, we went our separate ways. I did my lacrosse ball work, foam rolling, and dynamic stretching. Since I was planning on doing the workout by myself, I collected a pile of 2.5# plates which I intended to use to help myself remember how many rounds I had completed.

I wasn’t too worried about this workout. It looked waaaay easier on paper than 13.1. 10 minutes is short, and I knew 115# wouldn’t be a problem for me to throw around. About 2 minutes into the workout I realized that it was going to be more challenging than I thought. “Ah well,” I said to myself. “You’re used to pushing yourself through conditioning, you’ll getter done”. Just as I was making this realization that the workout was going to be a lot more challenging than I thought, something really cool happened.

Tony, unprompted, came up and started to coach me through. He stayed for the last 8 minutes of the workout. He helped move the bar and count the reps, but most of all he helped push me through. Telling me to pick the bar up again. Telling me I was allowed to take 5 breaths and then start a new round. Having not had anyone there to push me through a workout in a long time, I couldn’t believe how much it helped. I listened to him, and definitely pushed harder than I would have had I been alone.

It really meant a lot to me that he did that, and as much as I blast CrossFit in some of my posts, as far as I have seen supporting your fellow exercisers during workouts is commonplace in CrossFit. I finished the workout surpassing the goal I had set for myself (scored 220 for those of you know know the workout), and I know Tony was a large part of that.

The whole ordeal just reminded me how important good training partners are. They will push you further, help you to correct things, and keep you motivated. We should all go into our workouts with the “all go” philosophy in mind, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t all benefit from some encouragement.


I guess this post is ultimately a love letter to training parters. If you are part of a team or training group, don’t underestimate how much your encouragement and kind words help your teammates. On the other side of the coin, realize that your success is due in part to their presence. Take care of your training partners, and be a good training partner yourself. Even if your sport, like mine, is an individual competition rather than a team one, your training partners do a lot more than you might realize to help you succeed. #allgo


Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your conditioning programming (as opposed to strength/power programming) has to be super fancy. Especially if you are focusing on energy systems rather than muscular endurance, you don’t need to have a workout containing 12 different complicated movements. In fact, having too many complex movements in a workout where you will be trying to complete them while extremely fatigued can be a recipe for an injury. Keep it simple. Focus on a small number of movements in a workout, and try to choose options where either a) form breakdown is not extreme (ie box jumps), or b) form breakdown will not result in a huge potential for injury (ie burpees). #allgo

Had a bit of a challenge programming conditioning today for myself. My legs were dead from a thruster conditioning session yesterday and heavy power cleans and front squats the day before. I don’t like upper-body focused conditioning sessions because they are just plain easier than ones which use the lower body, especially when it comes to aerobic demand. Worked out this little number.

7 rounds for time (no breaks) of:
row 500 meters,
6 barbell push press at 135

Once all rounds have been completed, immediately do 30 box jump burpees with no rest.

This conditioning session was a little longer and a little easier than the ones which I ususally do, but it was a good way to give my legs a bit of a break while still getting in a decent workout. For the record, next time I think I might try 165 on the PP. Felt like I could have pushed a bit harder there. Enjoy! #allgo

Today’s Conditioning

Posted: February 25, 2013 in Programming
Tags: , ,

Simple, but effective. I was definitely dry-heaving for the first time in a while after this one.

4 rounds, 45 second breaks between each round

Each round is: 2 minutes hard running, 3 minutes of as many cycles as possible of (8 box jumps, 8 inverted rows, 8 push-ups)

Complete all rounds, rest as needed, and then finish off with 3 sets of 12 face pulls.

This is a good one if you have an MMA fight coming up which is 3×5 min rounds. The extra round and the shorter rest breaks of this workout will really hammer you.

The movements are all body weight, which may sound light. The point of this conditioning workout is to push as hard and fast as you can. Even though you are not displacing a substantial load, if you are pushing the pace, it should be extremely demanding. If you are really set on loading the movements, use a 20 lb weight vest for the workout.


Burpees are one of my favourite conditioning tools. They can challenge anyone, no matter what shape they are in. They are a great bodyweight movement with a relatively low risk of injury even when form breaks down due to fatigue. They can even be loaded using a weight vest, and there are countless variations.

I just want to be clear, when I say burpee, I mean “chest to floor” burpee. No straight arms, no partial push-ups.

This conditioning workout is a great one to challenge your aerobic energy system. Because of the nature of the movements, muscular fatigue should not slow you down.

Row 500 meters, 20 burpees
5 rounds for time

There are no rest breaks in this conditioning session. If you have a fight coming up, consider taking a break after each round to better mimic the time parameters of your competition. This will allow you to go slightly harder each round than completing all rounds with no breaks would.

If you have a 3×5 minute MMA fight coming up, the workout could be amended to look like this.

Row 250 meters, 15 burpees (using 20 lb weight vest), row 250 meters, 15 burpees (using 20 lb weight vest), 45 seconds rest
4 rounds for time

Once the burpee/row circuit is done, rest as needed and then finish off with 3 rounds of a remedial circuit: 15 rear delt flies, 12 band pull-aparts, 12 lying dumbbell external rotations with 40 degrees abduction

Good luck! #allgo

Today’s conditioning workout has a grappling focus. Starts off with some strength work, and then finishes with aerobic work.

6 rounds of the Klokov complex, rest as needed between sets.

Klokov complex:

1 deadlift
1 squat clean
1 front squat
1 push press
1 split jerk

Beginner modification:

1 deadlift
1 power clean
1 front squat
1 push press
1 power jerk (or a second push press)

After all 6 rounds have been completed, rest for 3 minutes, and then do 50 box jump burpees. Box 24 inches.

Rest as needed, and then finish off with 4 sets of 10 of some kind of light rowing variation.

Just headed out to do this one myself. #allgo


Programmed this conditioning workout yesterday. Got some ideas from a couple of other workouts I found on line and adapted them. I call this one “The Muay Thai Shredder” because, well, I think it’s great conditioning for muay thai. It demands a lot of your legs, core, shoulders, chest, and triceps: all muscles that are important in muay thai or kickboxing. The focus of the workout is two-fold.

The first focus is to train your body to bring your resting heart-rate down quickly. Whenever I do solo boxing or muay thai work, I always set the clock for 45 second breaks rather than 1 minute. Shorter rest breaks mean your body is trained to recover in a time shorter than that which you are actually allotted in a match.

The second focus is to increase the muscular endurance of the muscles I listed earlier which are key in a muay thai or kickboxing match. The better your muscular endurance is in your shoulders, the more snap your punches will have in the last round, and the higher your hands will stay. The better conditioned your legs, the faster your kicks will be deep into the match, and the more active you will be in regards to footwork.

20 front squats with 75# barbell, 10 hand-release push-ups, 30 seconds rest

Complete 10 rounds for time.

A few pointers…

1) Feel free to scale the front squat weight. If you are light and more of an endurance athlete, you might want to use something a little lighter. If you are a heavyweight who has a max front squat of 315#, maybe up it a bit. For reference purposes, I am about 210# with a max front squat of about 250#.

2) Even though the workout is for time, don’t skimp on the rest periods. Take the full 30 seconds. For this workout, it is better to go hard every round and take the rest break than to have no designated rest periods and take smaller, more frequent rests.

3) When you are squatting, your hamstrings need to cover your calves. Ass to grass squat. If you don’t have the mobility to do this, try sliding some 5# plates under your heals for the time being. If you still don’t have the mobility, you aren’t ready for this workout.

4) K1 matches are either 3×3 min rounds or 5×3 minute rounds. This conditioning session may last longer than 11 or 19 minutes depending on the kind of shape you’re in. Think of the first 5 rounds as a warm up. Yes, they will be challenging, and no, I’m not telling you to slack during them. What I mean is that part of the point of the first 5 rounds is to fatigue you for the last 5. Vince Lombardi once said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all”. You will be tired going into the last 5 rounds. Provided you really work hard, conditioning workouts such as this one will teach you how to push yourself even under extreme fatigue. I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I finished a sparring session as tired as I was at the end of this workout. Enjoy! #allgo