Get Fit with These Pro Conditioning Tips
Need some help getting motivated to condition and actually complete your routine? Who doesn’t? Try these conditioning tips from a pro that will help you get motivated and ensure that you get the most out of your workout!
Expert conditioning tips to help you get in shape
We all know that cardio is important for both our health and for performance. Some people love to ride bikes, run, or swim for long distances. That’s fine, if that’s your thing.
For some people, doing cardio is like eating Kale. It’s not a question of whether or not we’re supposed to do cardio, it’s whether or not we will.
I have worked with tons of different athletes from different sports and at different skill levels. All of our athletes did conditioning work even though most of them didn’t enjoy it. I’m going to share some tips that helped get them through their workout.
Hopefully it will help you get your butt in gear and get you doing some conditioning work.
1. Find Support
Our rule as strength and conditioning coaches was: no one conditions alone. That means that if we had an athlete who was dragging behind the group and ended up doing conditioning work alone, we had to join them.
As coaches who had an extensive training background, we knew that conditioning sucked, and it sucks even more to do it alone.
I implore you to find someone to do your conditioning work with. It really helps to have someone to complain to, someone who understands what you’re going through in the moment.
You will also have someone to push you if you’re having an off day. Plus, it never hurts to have a little friendly competition to make you work a little harder.
Another option is to time your workout and try to beat that time the next workout, even if it’s only by a second.
This way you have something to push you to get a little better, otherwise you will end up finding an excuse not to push yourself.
2. Don’t Do Traditional Cardio
Like I mentioned earlier, traditional endurance training isn’t for everyone.
Some people will not enjoy traditional jogging or swimming, and that’s fine. I recommend a circuit for most people. Find three or four exercises that get your heart rate up and do them back to back. For example:
- Jump rope for 30 seconds
- 10 Burpees
- 20 Kettlebell swings
- Rope slams for 20 seconds
Repeat that three times and then rest. I love circuits because they keep things interesting. Each exercise presents its own challenge and works slightly different muscles. The great thing is that you’re stressing your cardiovascular system the entire time even if you are using different muscles.
You will get the benefits of cardiovascular training without having to do one monotonous activity for a long time.
This is also nice because your body doesn’t overuse one movement pattern. If you run a lot you start to get predictable running injuries from overuse. If you are constantly switching up your exercises in a circuit you are less likely to get these overuse injuries.
Finally, you don’t have to work out for quite as long. You can get a great circuit workout done in 30 minutes. That way you can spend less time in the gym and more time doing other things that you love to do.
3. Improve Your Breathing
The ability to breathe is something that most people don’t think about. Many people don’t realize that there is an optimal way to breathe, especially when you are working out.
Many people get so focused on breathing as heavy and as quickly as possible that they forget to regulate their breathing.
When you are doing cardio make sure that you breathe all the way out.
That’s right, some people really don’t fully exhale. This is a less efficient way to breathe because you are not getting as much carbon dioxide out as you could. We breathe faster not only to get more oxygen but to get rid of carbon dioxide that builds up when we exercise.
It’s important to push all of your air out so that you can fully empty your lungs and get more oxygen in. So, focus on the exhale, breathe out for an extra second than you normally would, and the inhale will take care of itself.
Remember, when you start huffing and puffing, focus on breathing out!
4. Don’t Forget Weight Lifting Exercises
Some of the hardest conditioning drills that I’ve ever done involved weights. A set of 20 reps on squats will leave you gasping for air. Upper body exercises are decent for this type of training, but you will mostly want to focus on lower body or total body exercises.
Doing light squats or deadlifts for sets of 20 is a workout in and of itself. Another option is to do something like lunges for 20 reps each leg. You can also do something called a complex, which is kind of like circuit training.
Grab a barbell and do: 10 deadlifts, 10 cleans, and 10 presses, all with really light weight. That’s no joke!
Try out some of these tips and see if you can make conditioning more fun. Remember to try to find a partner that you can do your workouts with (or compete with).
If you do exercises that you enjoy, rather than exercises you hate, you will have a better chance of sticking with them. So go find exercises and circuits that you enjoy!
- Your Garage Gym Quad Workout - February 5, 2016
- 4 Conditioning Tips from a Strength and Conditioning Pro - August 17, 2015