May 112010
 

In working out, there is a large difference between training for strength, and training for better conditioning. In the first case, you’re simply working to attain stronger, more effective muscles. This can simply mean that you’re getting better at performing a specific strength-related exercise, for example. But when it comes to conditioning, you’re actually training your body in a way that gives you actually applicable strength – one that you can make use of in either everyday situations, or in a sport that you’re practising.

In most cases, you’d see the two types of workout separated – that is, the trainee is either working for strength, or for conditioning. You can normally find athletes using conditioning routines when an important event in their professional career approaches. Sometimes though, it can be useful to combine the two types of workout, so that you can have something that’s both good for your health all around, as well as practical in everyday use terms.

To do that, you’d generally want to start with a normal workout for strength, one that builds your muscles in the basic manner – this will include all sorts of exercises, building such a routine is far beyond the scope of this article. The important thing to remember is that you need to be building this just like you’d build a regular workout program for hitting the gym weekly.

Afterwards, you should start including elements for conditioning training in that program – those don’t need to be that many, but it’s important that they’re present in most of your workout days, so that you get enough – and proper – conditioning training. For example, if you like to jog (and you should, if you want to stay healthy in general), you should try “injecting” some short sprinting sessions in your regular jog. That is, when you notice your energy is starting to wear down, pick up the pace and go in a all-out sprint until you’re exhausted completely.

You’ll probably find that you are nearly collapsing on the ground after around 10 seconds on the first few tries, but as you do it more and more, you’ll start feeling less and less troubled by it – eventually reaching a point where you can steadily sprint for a good duration without getting tired at all. This will attribute to your conditioning a great deal, as you’ll be preparing your body for an actual real-world situation where running might be needed, be it because you need it for your work or because you’re a, say, footballer.

Of course, this was just an example – the actual conditioning you’ll be doing depends solely on the purpose you need it for (work, sports, etc). Whatever it is though, just make sure you push yourself to your body’s absolute limits, until you’re extremely tired – this is what conditioning is all about, and it’s how you’re going to become better and better each time you do it.

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