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Why conditioning is as important as strength-training

While building strength is extremely important, without proper conditioning it doesn’t serve its full purpose

Jumping squats are a great way to include conditioning exercises in your routine
Jumping squats are a great way to include conditioning exercises in your routine (Mart Production/Pexels)

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A common folly among gym and strength and conditioning enthusiasts is focusing only on the strength part. While strength is extremely important in every aspect of our lives from doing our day to day tasks and chores to playing sports and having some fun, without proper conditioning it doesn’t serve its full purpose. What’s the point of being able to pick up your grocery or laptop bag when you cannot walk 20m with it? Or being able to throw a ball really fast and hard but you cannot perform the run-up required more than two or three times? This is where the conditioning bit comes in to complement the strength as conditioning exercises help improve your stamina and endurance alongside your strength. That is exactly what allows you to sustain an activity over a longer period of time. 

Moreover, conditioning workouts are much easier to perform and do not even require much equipment. All that you require is some time, the will to exercise and readiness to use your bodyweight effectively. Conditioning workouts are great for developing strength, endurance, flexibility, and coordination, say fitness coaches. 

Rahul Huidrom, strength coach at Cult.Fit says the popularity of bodyweight exercise routines is growing considerably thanks to the ease of doing these workouts. “You can get in an effective workout just by using your own body weight. No equipment needed… you don't even need a whole lot of space and can get your daily workout on the go. The top USP of these bodyweight training routines is that nearly all these programmes combine cardio and strength elements, so you get a very effective and efficient workout in a short period of time,” he adds. These conditioning workouts had become extremely popular during the pandemic when billions across the globe had no access to weights and machines and were forced to improvise along with their coach or trainer dispensing instructions and encouragement over a video call. 

Conditioning workouts are usually a combination of bodyweight movements such as push-up and pull-up variations, burpees, various jumps, sprints and shuttle runs among other movements which push up your heart rate. They help condition your heart and body to perform at a high level under strain and thereby improve your performance. These workouts also help you to build overall stability, core strength and improve your range of motion. “Body weight training has a potential benefit over weights as it retains balance between the anterior and posterior muscle groups,” says AK Abhinav, coach and founder of Namma X-Fit in Bengaluru. 

Conditioning is an important part of any professional athlete’s training regimen and it is planned just as carefully as game strategy, nutrition, rest, strength training and team training. In the 2001 book High Performance Sports Conditioning, Bill Foran, the co-founder of the National Basketball Conditioning Coaches Association in the United States of America, notes that athletes turn to conditioning training once they have established a solid fitness base. In the conditioning phase they do activities that are designed for the specific purpose of enhancing their individual performance in their sport. In other words this is functional training. Such specially designed conditioning training improves performance, enhances attributes that are often referred to as an athlete’s natural talent, which used to be thought to be resistant to much conditioning-induced development, Foran notes. 

The success and subsequent popularity of functional training across India over the last decade is evidence enough of the importance of conditioning workouts complementing your strength training routine. All these functional training programmes have a component of strength training along with multiple elements of conditioning which push up your heart rate. Such workouts are usually designed in the HIIT format, which are known to lead to greater health-related benefits compared to traditional moderate-intensity continuous training. These kinds of workouts increase both the aerobic capacity and strength while keeping you in good health. 

7 Conditioning workouts for you

Workout 1

21 Jumping squats

21 Push-ups 

15 Jumping squats

15 Push-ups

9 Jumping squats

9 Push-ups 

Workout 2

5 Rounds

5 burpees

100m sprints

5 burpees

Workout 3

7 Rounds

10 Push ups

10 Squats

10 Sit ups

Workout 4

10 Rounds

30 Jump rope/skips

5 Squats

3 Broad jumps

Workout 5

4 Rounds

20 Lunges

15 Box jumps

10 Supine rows

5 Burpees

Workout 6

2 Rounds

100m Sprint

50 Squats

100m Sprint

20 Push-ups

100m Sprint

10 burpees

Workout 7

3 Rounds

200m Sprint

25 Push ups

10 Sit ups

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