There are many ways to get into top notch shape but interval training is one of the best ways.  In a research study conducted by Clark (2010), he found that female soccer players improved their VO2 significantly in 8 weeks by doing interval training.

These soccer players used many different intensities for their interval training (Clark, 2010).  I believe having a mixture of intensities is beneficial, and Clark found the same results in this study (2010).

To start out, you can pick what ever cardio equipment you want: step mill, elliptical, treadmill, or bike for example.  Always start with a solid warm up for 5-10 minutes prior to starting the intervals.  For beginners, I suggest working in a 1:2 work to rest ratio and as the training becomes easier, decrease the work to rest ratio to 1:1.

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Here is the structure for a conditioning training session

and I am going to use the step mill as an example because it is my favorite:

– Warm up 5 minutes at level 6 on the step mill and dynamic warm up
– 1:00 fast at level 10 – I can get 2-3 words out if I were carrying a conversation
– 3:00 as slow as I want to recover at level 5
– 1:00 fast at level 10 – I can get 2-3 works out
– 3:00 as slow as I want to recover at level 5.

Continue this for 20-30 minutes of interval training (the warm up and cool down do not count!).  If you are able to do 30 minutes and feel like you can do more, you aren’t going hard enough during the 1:00 or maybe you ready for a decreased rest time.  It is truly individual so know your body and enjoy!

conditioning workouts2

Sprinting:

Another solid way to conditioning is by performing a sprint workout.  According to Fernandez-Fernandez, J., Zimek, R., Wiewelhove, T., and Ferrauti, A. (2012), researched the effect of both high-intensity interval training and repeated-sprint training on tennis players to find which type of training improves general aerobic fitness.

They found after 6 weeks of training, both groups improved their general aerobic fitness equally but significantly (Fernandez-Fernandez, J., Zimek, R., Wiewelhove, T., & Ferrauti, A 2012). I find sprinting an important and necessary training type for athletes and non-athletes to see high improvements in fitness.

Knowing your body is utterly important.  For this type of training, you can swim, run, bike, step mill, elliptical etc.  Now you are moving a lot faster than your interval training for less time, but rest is still high to allow recovery.

Here is the structure for a training session and I am going to use running as an example

– Light jog for 5 minutes with dynamic warm up.
– Mark off 100 yard (one long stride of walking is about 1 yard)
– Sprint as fast as you can – should not be able to talk during and time
– Recover 3-4x as long as it took you to turn the 100 yards. For example, if it took my 15 seconds to run 100 yards, I would recover 45-60 seconds.
– Repeat 8-10 times.

If you are sprint on the ground you can go 150 yards, 200 yard, 300 yards, 400 yards, but the longer the distance the longer the recovery will be!

Weight training and plyometric:

Yes strength training can be a conditioning exercise is programmed the right way! A study conducted by Ramirez-Campillo et al. (2014) found those middle distance and long distance runners improved their 2.4km race time, 20 meter sprint time and their jumping capabilities after 6 weeks of explosive strength training.

With the time improvements in endurance and speed, they become more fit (Ramirez-Campillo et al., 2014).   These endurance athletes only trained twice a week for six-weeks and improved their fitness significantly (Ramirez-Campillo et al., 2014).

Here are some examples of plyometric exercises that can help improve your fitness.  You can do this in the pool or on the ground but again, know  your body!

5 minute warm up and dynamic warm up.

Set 1:

Side to side line jumps – 10 repetitions on each side
Front to back line jumps – 10 repetitions on each side
Squat jumps – 10 repetitions
Lunge jumps – 10 repetitions
Burpees with the jump – 10 repetitions

Try to go quickly between each exercise but still get 15-30 seconds of rest between.  Once all exercises are done, rest 2-3 minutes and repeat 2-3 more times!

Loved these workouts? Combine them with a Fat Shred diet plan for maximum results!

Clark, J.E. 2010.  The use of an 8-week mixed-intensity interval endurance-training program improves the aerobic fitness of female soccer players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(7), 1773-1781.

Fernandez-Fernandez, J., Zimek, R., Wiewelhove, T., & Ferrauti, A.  2012.  High-intensity interval training vs. repeated-sprint training in tennis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 26(1), 53-62.

Ramírez-Campillo, R., Álvarez, C., Henríquez-Olguín, C., Baez, E.B., Martínez, C., Andrade, D.C., and Izquierdo, M. 2014. Effects of plyometric training on endurance and explosive strength performance in competitive middle- and long-distance runners. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 28(1), 97-104.

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