Improving your endurance, functional fitness and overall conditioning is important for overall health.
Retired Pro Boxer Mike ‘Kujo’ Kurzeja is here with some methods to get your heart rate up to develop better conditioning.
Depending on your sport or fitness goals, there are many different ways you can improve your conditioning.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
One way to improve your conditioning is to try HIIT in any activity you may do. Getting your heart rate up and giving it a lesser time to recover will help you with your conditioning.
This can be done with weights, running, biking, rowing, battle ropes or any exercise movement. The goal is to get the heart rate up. Then give yourself ample time to let your heart rate come back down. HIIT is normally performed with a 1:1 or 2:1 or 3:1 rest to work ratio. An example of a 2:1 ratio would be 20 second sprints on the bike with 40 seconds of rest for multiple rounds. You should aim to perform at 80-100% effort on the sprints.
Limit Your Rest When Lifting
If you’re more of a lifter and HIIT doesn’t sound up your alley there are other ways to improve your conditioning. Be mindful of your rest between your sets. Taking 30-60 seconds of rest between your sets will keep your heart rate up and help improve your overall muscular endurance.
If you’re trying to improve strength, think about keeping your longer rest periods for your compound movements like the squat, bench press or deadlift. But when performing your accessory lifts (i.e., bent over rows, lat pull downs, or bicep curls) keep your rest periods short.
Add in Sprints to Improve Conditioning
If you like to run or bike and typically run or bike long distances, throwing in some interval sprints in the middle of or at the end can be beneficial. Not only will this improve your conditioning, but it can help build muscle, increase your VO2max, and increase your endurance.
General Physical Preparedness (GPP)
GPP training refers to training that doesn’t require specialized skill or knowledge. This type of training is meant to improve overall athletic ability, recover from injury, and improve general conditioning. GPP helps build a great foundation for any individual looking to become fitter.
When incorporating GPP into your training, first think about what your goals are. If you’re trying to perform better in a sport, then your sport training should be priority. If you’re competing as a powerlifter, then make sure your strength training is done before your GPP.
Some ways to implement GPP into your training program is to perform it immediately after your training session or do as a separate session. Below are some ideas of GPP workouts:
- 800-100 yards of sled drags or sled push
- Loaded carries (Farmer’s, opposition, suitcase, or overhead are all great options)
- Tire flips
- Circuits – (bodyweight or weighted movements or plyometrics)
- Speed ladder
- Box jumps (i.e., 4 sets of 20 reps)
- Pull-ups (4 sets till failure)
- Wall sits (max effort x 5 sets)
Push yourself appropriately and safely. Track your heart rate and you will be amazed with how incorporating these concepts will improve your conditioning!