This article brings you 4 conditioning workouts for all-round fitness. These workouts have been designed to develop strength, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular performance. They include a mixture of exercises and training tools to stimulate every facet of your physicality.
Furthermore, because strength and conditioning workouts include cardiovascular exercises, they also facilitate fat loss while improving muscle definition.
However, if you’re new to training, you might be left scratching your head over what fitness conditioning means. Though it is a term banded about a lot in the fitness community, few can accurately explain what it means.
To clear away some of the confusion, we have answered frequently asked conditioning questions. Hopefully, our answers will help you understand what a conditioning workout looks like and why they are important.
Conditioning workouts FAQ
What does conditioning mean?
Simply put, 'strength and conditioning training' refers to an exercise approach that places emphasis on developing strength, muscular endurance, and physical fitness. To engage in strength and conditioning training you need to design workouts that incorporate elements from all the components of fitness.
What is physical fitness and conditioning?
The primary components of physical fitness conditioning are strength, muscular endurance, cardio, and flexibility. If you want to improve your physical conditioning you will have to focus on developing complete body fitness. This means training in equal measures the main components of fitness outlined above.
In addition, you will also have to make room for technique development and flexibility exercises. Remember, conditioning is about enhancing complete body fitness while also pursuing mastery over exercise techniques.
What are good conditioning exercises?
To improve all-round fitness conditioning, you should organise your workouts so that they include resistance, body weight, and cardiovascular exercises. Aim to participate in at least two conditioning workouts per week.
What are the advantages of conditioning?
Conditioning workouts develop all-round fitness which brings about a balanced physicality. In our article The 5 Advantages of Circuit Training we explain how narrow training focus can foster fitness imbalances. This can be seen in the muscled bodybuilder who, although possesses an abundance of strength, lacks both muscular endurance and cardio.
Fitness imbalances are best to avoid for reasons obvious – what’s the point of being super strong but at the same time super unfit? One sure way to avoid imbalances is to include circuit training and conditioning workouts into your exercise regime. Both circuit training and conditioning workouts integrate multiple components of fitness.
Workouts that incorporate a wide range of fitness components will help shape a balanced physicality.
The benefits of conditioning workouts
Improved physical performance
Increased strength and muscular endurance
Increased explosive power
Reduction in body fat and weight loss
Improved muscular tonality
Increased heart rate develops cardiovascular efficiency while also strengthening the cardiac muscle
Potentially fewer injuries
What are the 3 benefits of having a strength and conditioning program?
Increased lean muscle mass. Muscle mass decreases (atrophy) as we get older. However, strength and conditioning training can slow the process enabling us to maintain strength and size in our advanced years.
Improved bone density. Participating in regular physical exercises increases bone strength. The impact of exercises such as running and plyometric jumping has a compacting effect on our bones.
Develops the range of movement (ROM) around a joint – aka increased flexibility. All strength and conditioning programs include flexibility and stretching exercises. By improving ROM we reduce injury susceptibility while also facilitating general mobility.
Does conditioning build muscle?
Yes … but not in abundance. If your ambition is to become a monstrous hulk all puffed up like a pork pie, then forget about conditioning training. Conditioning workouts place heavy emphasis on muscular endurance and cardiovascular training both of which are to bodybuilders what water was to the Wicked Witch of the West.
But if you want to sculpt a lean defined physique that looks as good as it performs, conditioning training can help you achieve this ambition. How though? As you will see will no doubt notice with the 4 workouts below, conditioning training includes a blended mix of resistance, calisthenics, and cardio.
This is the perfect training recipe for building muscle, lowering body fat, and developing all-round fitness.
Does conditioning burn fat?
Research has repeatedly shown that varying intensity training routines comprised of a blended mix of exercise modalities, stimulate metabolic activity and the burning of fat.
So, if you begin developing a strength and conditioning program you should over time notice a decrease in body fat.
But, as research also consistently shows, one of the most effective methods of reducing body fat is transitioning to a plant-based diet. If you can do both, implement a conditioning program and adopt plant-based dietary principles, you will be on your way to healthy body weight.
4 Strength Conditioning Workouts
The 4 conditioning workouts below include a diverse mix of exercises and components of fitness. Furthermore, each workout has been designed around a theme. As well as giving the workouts structure the themes also improve training focus. When you’ve got a clear logical training session to follow it enables you to get into the zone which maximises performance.
You will notice that the 4 workouts begin with a cardiovascular exercise. This constitutes the warm-up and thus should not be skipped.
Workout #1: Kettlebell and Bodyweight Conditioning
2000-metres rowing warm-up
5 x 10reps Kettlebell swings
5 x 10reps plyo box jumps
5 x 10reps kettlebell pulls
5 x 10reps press-ups
5 x 10reps kettlebell thrusters
5 x 5reps pull-ups
5-mile run (steady pace)
Workout #2: Cardio and Calisthenics Pyramid
10 down to 1 press-up
10 down to 1 box jumps
10 down to 1 air squats
10 down to 1 plank (count the reps as seconds)
Workout #3: Barbell and Resistance Band
1000-metre rowing warm-up
5 x 250m row intervals (60% of max effort)
5 x 100m row intervals (80% of max effort)
3 x 10reps deadlifts
3 x 15reps resistance band press-ups
3 x 10reps bent-over rows
3 x 15reps resistance band upright rows
3 x 10reps barbell hang cleans
3 x 15reps resistance band lateral raises
3 x 10reps front squats
3 x 15 reps resistance band wood chops
3 x 10reps standing shoulder press
Workout #4: Dumbbell into Barbell Deadlifts
5000-metres rowing warm-up
5 x 15reps dumbbell squats
2 x 10reps barbell deadlifts (60% of max effort)
5 x 15reps dumbbell bent-over rows
2 x 8reps barbell deadlifts (70% of max effort)
5 x 15reps dumbbell step-ups
2 x 6reps barbell deadlifts (80% of max effort)
5 x 15reps dumbbell lateral raises
2 x 4reps barbell deadlifts (90% of max effort)
5 x 15reps dumbbell thrusters
2 x 2reps barbell deadlifts (100% of max effort)
Enjoyed these workouts? Have they left you hungry for more? The Hungry4Fitness Book of Circuits Vol. 1 contains 50 complete circuits and workouts.
Circuit training is one of the best forms of physical exercise for maintaining and increasing overall fitness. A well-designed circuit will provide a great cardiovascular workout, strengthening the heart and lungs in the process, whilst also improving muscle endurance and developing functional strength. This unique combination, of fat burning and muscle building, which singular exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming or weights cannot give, will help to sculpt a lean defined physique.
(As we are very interested in user experience here at Hungry4Fitness, we would be very grateful if you could take a few seconds out of your day to leave a comment. Thanks in advance!)
Adam Priest, former Royal Marines Commando, is a personal trainer, lecturer, boxing and Thai boxing enthusiast.