My Top 3 Conditioning Exercises

You should all know by now that I can’t stand cardio equipment like treadmills and elipitcals. They destroy your knees, tighten your hamstrings, cause crowbar hips, and are more boring then a Sunday game of scrabble with your grandmother.

I want to share three of my favorite conditioning exercises. First, here are three reasons why I prefer them over traditional cardio equipment:

1. Cost-How much does a treadmill cost today? I will tell you, between $500-$25,000 dollars. Yes, there are treadmills that sell for $25,000. The best thing about these conditioning exercises, the most your going to have to spend is $300 for a good sled.

2. Time-I always say it is more about intensity, not the duration. If you are leisurely jogging on the eliptical, shortening your hammys each stride, your not going to get much out of it. However, if you are racing back in forth pushing a plate in a group motivating each other, with maximal effort, you’re going to get a lot out of it!

3. Fun-Who wants to stare at wall, magazine, or television as they run in place? With these conditioning exercises you’re challenging yourself, competing against others, and after you puke up your lunch, you had some fun with it.

Now, here are three of my favorite conditioning exercises:

1. Sled Push: There is no better way to end a great workout then to push the sled a few times. The sled works the body in several ways. It obviously is a conditioning exercise because your sprinting up and down the track, pushing it as hard as you can. It is HIGHLY sports transferable as you develop incredible leg strength, drive, and power. My favorite way to push the sled is in a “suicide” format. For example, push it 5 yards, then back to the starting point. Then push it 10 yards, and back to the starting point. Push it 15 yards, and return to the starting point. Can you make it to the 25 yard mark? Are you working harder, burning more calories, and developing more skills compared to running a treadmill? I’ll let you answer after you give it a try.

2. Plate Races: Plate races are very similar to sled pushes, the only difference being you can add weight to a sled. Plate pushes can be done on turf, or if you wrap the plate in a towel it can be done a basketball court. I typically use plate pushes over sled pushes when I am coaching large groups as you can give everyone a 45lb plate, and not have to worry about purchasing 8 or 10 sleds. Same techniques apply like staying low, driving your knees to your chest and your toes into the group. As long as they have good technique this is a great finisher for groups, as you have them do X number of laps in a race style format. Some say this is more challenging then a sled push because you are lower to the ground. I will leave that for you to experiment with. The question that I can answer is, does this compare to a run on the treadmill? Hell No!

3. Metabolic Circuits: These are a great way to get conditioned while still doing resistance training. Metabolic circuits are just a group of exercises done in interval style fashion with minimal rest. Here would be an example:

KB Swings
Renegade Rows
BB Push Press
Medicine Ball Overhead Slam

Complete each exercise for 30 seconds before immediately moving onto the next exercise. Rest 2 minutes at the end of the circuit, and repeat for 3-5 rounds.

How is that treadmill looking?

My goal here is not to dis cardio equipment, because it does have its place in the fitness world. However, with Spurling Training Systems focus on athletes and high performance training, treadmills are better used for coat racks. I hope I opened up your mind a little to the world of conditioning, and I challenge you to try these exercises next time your in the gym.

I have some exciting news that I will be unveiling this week on the Facebook page so be sure to subscribe if you have not already, and stay tuned!

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact Spurling Training Systems.

Stay Fit,

Doug Spurling, CSCS, NSCA-CPT
Spurling Training Systems, LLC


About Spurling Training Systems

At Spurling Training Systems, our focus is on providing a superior athletic conditioning experience. The combination of expert training, time spent understanding your specific goals and customized program development is what makes Spurling Training Systems a unique and effective training experience for athletes of all ages, levels and abilities. Doug is the founder and owner of Spurling Training Systems. He graduated from University of New England with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Exercise Science. He has several years of experience as both a personal trainer for general fitness and a strength and conditioning coach for athletes. His certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) include Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and Certified Personal Trainer (CPT).
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