Monday, September 19, 2011

Getting Jacked - Part 6 - Conditioning

Big strong

Be in shape

That's everything in a nut shell about my philosophy if I had to REALLY narrow it down.  

Strength without a gas tank is fairly useless to me.  Being able to waddle up to a bar, wheezing and red faced, and squatting whatever, isn't that impressive to me.  Maybe it's because my background is more sports/athletically based than powerlifting based.  

Yes I like and compete in powerlifting, but I personally have always thought strongman to be the better all around strength sport.  Because well, it is.  In my opinion anyway.  

Lots of athletes train strongman style because generally most of them need to be able to move and run and have some coordination and agility.  And conditioning is usually part of strongman training.  

So what is the LRB method for getting into good condition?  Easy.  Steady state AND interval work.  

Conditioning - Free, but not easy

It's been the rave for a while to do sled and prowler work and things like that, but what if you don't have those?  I get asked that a lot.  I have a sled.  It collects dust and cobwebs in my lawn mower shed for the most part.  I don't have a prowler but my buddy does.  I really never go use it.  Why?  Because getting into shape is free.   You walk outside for your steady state and run outside for your interval training.  If you live somewhere like I do, with inclement weather, do your steady state outside and go to the gym for the interval work when the weather sucks total nuts.  Yes running on a treadmill sucks nuts but you do what you gotta do.  Otherwise I am always outside doing my conditioning work.  Unless it's the heavy bag.

Anyway, rather than lay out a template for conditioning I am just going to go over a lot of what I do, why I do it, and what you could do with your conditioning.  

Steady State - 

I really do like steady state in the morning before I eat.  I sometimes do it in the afternoons or late evenings, but doing it in the morning does seem to have a greater fat loss effect, and I tend to feel "good" for the rest of the day.  

What I generally do is have some black coffee and water then head out for 25-45 minutes all depending.  I try to get this work in 3-5 times a week.  Steady state is great for recovery, blood pressure, the heart, and the joints.  One of the things nurses will have you do as soon as you can after surgery (if you have a stay) is to get walking.  Walking is also great for the mind and overall stress relief.  And we talked about that in the article on cortisol and life stress.  Getting out for a 30-45 minute walk to clear your mind can be invigorating.  

If you can't get it in the morning that's fine.  Just get it in 3-5 times a week.  And if you want to get in more, by all means do so.  At the moment, I probably get in something more like 5-9 steady state sessions a week.  On the weekends sometimes I will get in 5 or 6 steady state sessions.  I am trying to rid myself of as much fat as possible at the moment, so I'm getting in the easy stuff as often as I can.

Interval Training - 

I like both hill running and 30-40 yard sprints at about 60-70% speed for interval work.  How much?  Till I think that's enough.  That doesn't mean I run until I'm seeing William Wallace cursing at me.  I generally get the work in, and then do a cool down (yes more steady state) or either some neck and ab work.  

This is what I will tell you about interval work.  Ease into it.

Let me repeat that.  


The best way to sideline yourself with a pulled hammy or overuse injury is to act retarded and go run a ton of sprints or hills.  If you can only run 2, run 2.  Doing interval work isn't a lot different than lifting.  Start light, work your way up, don't rush things.  As far as time between sprints/hills, I use the walk down the hill as the recovery period.  I never stand around until I am recovered.  Now that's just me.  If you run a hill and feel like passing out, wait until you recover and run another.   Don't kill yourself on the hard conditioning work right out of the gate.  And the same way you don't destroy yourself in the gym every single training session, don't destroy yourself every time you set out for some "hard" conditioning.  I call it hard conditioning because its not "easy" (steady state).  

Generally I will do hard conditioning twice a week.  Three times if feel like it.  

One day I will do 30-40 yard sprints.  The other day I will run hills.  I try to get in the 40 yarders after leg day, and I try to get in the hills after back day.  Both of those workouts require the legs and hips to work so I keep the harder conditioning close to those days so there is less hard leg training done in bigger gaps (if that makes sense).  

Again, when I set out to do sprints or hills, I don't know ahead of time how many I will do.  Sometimes I start and tire easily, and just do a few more.  And sometimes I get started and feel great, and go until I get bored or don't want anymore.  I do much more "body listening" when it comes to conditioning.

Sample Conditioning Template -

If I had to lay out a conditioning template, I would say this is how my usual week looks.

Conditioning week -

Monday - a.m. conditioning SS p.m. lifting (sometimes I lift on Tuesday instead, depending on how I feel)

Tuesday - a.m. conditioning SS p.m. lifting (if I didn't lift on Monday) optional p.m. SS

Wednesday - a.m. conditioning SS p.m. lifting (if I lifted on Monday) optional p.m. SS

Thursday - a.m. conditioning SS p.m. interval work

Friday - off

Saturday - a.m. conditioning SS a.m. lifting

Sunday - .a.m. conditioning p.m. interval training

Now let me explain a few things here before someone says they are confused.

I train 3Xweek, however one week it's usually M-W-S and the next week it's T-Thu-Sat.

Generally on heavy back week I go M-W-Sat because that gives me two days of rest between light legs and heavy back.  On light back week I don't pull, or at least not heavy so I will go T-Thu-Sat.  So depending on my leg day the interval training will vary a little bit.  Except for on Sunday.  Sunday I do a steady state in the morning and then the interval work later in the day.

On Saturday I do steady state in the morning, then go home and eat breakfast, and head out to lift about 30 minutes later.  I have found this usually makes for a great Saturday training session and I don't feel as "bogged down".

Don't overthink the conditioning.  Just get in steady state 3,5,6 times a week or whatever and some hard conditioning in 2-3 times a week.

If conditioning is your PRIORITY, then drop training back to 2X a week.

"How do I do that on the LRB template?"

Next article.........


  1. This is part of my ongoing whine about this routine - my quads are cramping like mad on "light" leg day - I finished about 4 hours ago and I know I'm in for so much pain tomorrow.

    As a sidenote - have you looked at mobilityWOD - the stretches and massages there are first class, highly recommended by me (there's even the occasional crossfit girl in the vids)


  2. Haven't seen em but I spend a lot of time stretching and rolling after "light" leg days. lol

  3. Paul,

    I coach basketball and it is starting up in about a week. I usually train 3-4 times a week, but when bball starts I can't due to time issues. I am going to try and train twice a week. What are your thoughts on training Saturday and Sunday with both weights and hard conditioning and throughout the rest of the week doing one steady state day?

  4. That will work. That's how JPS trained, minus the conditioning stuff.

  5. excellent post, inspired me to get off my lazy a*** and do a 45 minute walk last night. Felt really good, slept really well. Cheers Vik

  6. Paul,

    Do you do all your hill running/sprints at 60-70%? Which to me equates to a hard run but not going crazy as fast as you can.

    Just trying to make sure I'm following your log correctly.


  7. Yes. A nice solid run. Faster than a jog but definitely not an all out sprint. I will do the last one or two all out then do a 20 minute walk/cool down or so.