Tip: Use Conditioning to Build Muscle

Hey meathead, if you're not accustomed to raising your heart rate, get started with one of these options.

You Can't Get Better Without Conditioning

When your conditioning is on point, a significant amount of power can be generated throughout most, if not all, of the training session. This means more volume with more pounds on the bar, in the same amount of time you were training before.

Being in good condition is an important part of getting better. The ability to do a significant amount of work in a training session will pay dividends in both the strength and hypertrophy departments. Even if you aren't in the business of trying to get leaner, then conditioning should STILL be a part of your programming.

Let's say you've been a 3-rep sloth for months on end. You're the guy who thinks, "Anything more than 5 reps is cardio." What should you do?

If you haven't been doing any conditioning, build your base on walking. Now, I'm talking about a brisk walk at a meaningful pace, not that shit you see old people doing in the mall before the stores have even opened. There should be some knee to chest action going on here.

A simple and easy way to approach walking is to find a distance to walk and just decrease the amount of time it takes you make that trek. Leave your house, walk 10 minutes, check the spot you made it to in 10 minutes, then walk home. From there, simply work on decreasing the amount of time it takes you go the same distance without actually sprinting at any point on each walk.

Once you go from 20 minutes to around 15, throw in a casual run at some point along the walk. Again, casual. So basically, a bit of a jog. It doesn't have to be a long jaunt. Just get it in. After a few weeks of this, throw another one into your walk.

Once you're able to do this same distance in 10-12 minutes, you're ready to actually implement an interval plan that will really increase your work capacity and translate into far more productive weight room sessions.

This is a very easy plan to apply to your training. It can be done twice a week on non-weight training days.

  • Week 1: 10 sprints @ 60% speed @ 40 yards
  • Week 2: 10 sprints @ 70% speed @ 40 yards
  • Week 3: 12 sprints @ 70% speed @ 40 yards
  • Week 4: 15 sprints @ 75% speed @ 40 yards
  • Week 5: 20 sprints @ 80% speed @ 40 yards
  • Week 6: 20 sprints @ 85% speed @ 40 yards

Your "rest" is simply the 40 yard walk back to start. Then you sprint again.

Remember your purpose here. You're not trying out for the NFL. Nor are you trying to prepare for the 100-meter dash in the Olympics. The purpose is to simply increase your conditioning so that weight room work becomes far easier to recover from.

You don't need to do more conditioning over time either. You simply need to get in good enough shape and maintain a level of conditioning that complements your lifting.

However, if you do want to increase the amount of conditioning work from week 6 on out, then simply increase the number of sprints you do, or the distance you're sprinting. I don't advise full-out 100% sprints as it's a nice recipe for an injury. But you can do these uphill which actually makes them slightly safer by shortening the stride length and lessening the chance for a pulled hammy.

The sled or Prowler or bike all work as well. You can use the same outline above for the sled or Prowler with some minor adjustments. For the stationary bike, my recommendation is even easier.

  • Go 15 seconds as fast as possible.
  • Followed by 45 seconds of easy pedaling.
  • Repeat 12-15 times.