Wednesday, September 5, 2012

4 week conditioning question

Hey Paul got a quick question for you. I have 4 weeks coming of an injury of minimal lifting and conditioning to prepare for a football (american of course) training camp to try walk on to represent my country.
My question is what would you do to bring conditioning up as much as possible in that short of time. I know in your book you do not recommend doing to much too soon but for this circumstance what would you do different? Thanks for the book and the blog.

Since you only have 4 weeks to get into shape, it's obvious that conditioning has to be placed on the forefront of your training (duh), with strength taking a back burner for a while.

Limited time always presents issues that require workarounds, and the biggest obstacle in conditioning is usually overuse injuries.  Overuse injuries can come on fairly quickly with conditioning work because of the amount of repetition involved in it.  When you run, your hams, hip flexors, anterior tibalis, etc all do a lot of work in a short period of time.  If there is no break in period for this, then overuse usually occurs.  Sometimes even without a break in period it still happens because running and sprinting can be very taxing on the musculature involved.

Since there is no time for a break in period to get acclimated to a high volume of sprints or hills, prowler, etc my suggestion is to mix in circuits with steady state, and then HIIT.

Week 1 -
A.M. Steady state for 30-45 minutes - 4 days a week

P.M. Interval Sprints - 3 days a week - 60 yards x 4 @ 10 seconds or less per run

Lifting - Circuit 3 days a week -
Squats - 135 pounds x 3,6,9,12,15,12,9,6,3
Push Ups - body x 5,10,15,20,25,20,15,10,5
Chins - body x 3,6,9,12,15,12,9,6,3
Sit Ups - body x 3,6,9,12,15,12,9,6,3

This is simple so I hope I don't get 100000 questions about it.  You do the first round (squatx3, push upx5, chinx3, sit upx3) non-stop.  Rest for 2 minutes and go again, on the next round.

Week 2 -
steady state 5 days a week
intervals 60 yards x 6 @ 10 seconds or less

same circuit

Week 3 -
steady state 6 days a week
intervals 60 yards x 8 @ 10 seconds or less

same circuit

Week 4 -
steady state 6 days a week
intervals 60 yards x 10 @ 8 seconds or less

same circuit

By week 4 you should be in very solid shape.  It doesn't take long to get into this kind of conditioning, so long as you weren't a total slob to begin with.  If so, you'll just have to be humbled I suppose.  This is another reason why it's generally important to keep some baseline of conditioning year round.  So that if something pops up that you want to do, you're not having to bust hump to reach a decent level of conditioning in a short time.  You just keep on doing what you've been doing.

The same for the guys that write me and say they would rather keep some fat on and "feel" strong than do some conditioning work and push back from the table a bit.  It's an excuse to be lazy.  Fat doesn't flex or contract.  It doesn't lift weights.  Plenty of strong guys are strong LEAN.  Carrying extra bodyfat around serves you no purpose.  Get into fucking shape and stop making excuses about how you'd rather be able to lift X amount and carry some fat, than be leaner and "weaker".  If that's the case you're just weak anyway.  Stop making excuses and start making shit happen.


  1. Thanks Paul, yeah I have a fairly good base and still pretty lean ~12% so should get some good results, I will stick to options that limit running for the steady state since I tend to get pretty bad patella tendonitis so will focus on the sprints for running, Thanks a load mate.

  2. Paul, I saw this piece this morning and it reiterates a lot of what you say, so I thought I'd pass it on:

  3. I can't believe you give this shit away for free. Solid advice. Just got your book, going to try following someone else's programming for a change. Looking forward to it.