First and foremost, I hate jogging for long periods. I think the word “conditioning” has been misused that led people to believe that its with either hour long jogging or hour long cycling and is usually reserved for fat people. The problem is that training for extended period triggers the release of cortisol, the hormone that triggers muscular protein breakdown. Hence why its very hard for long distance runners and cyclist to gain muscle mass. Not only that, long steady-state, low intensity cardio is not very efficient at burning your spare tire. So below are 6 forms of conditioning that works the whole body, does not require you to spend long period of time to get your heart rate up, increases your athletic performance, and best of all, help loose that spare tire:
This is probably seems like the least sexy of all exercise. You basically grab the heaviest pair of dumbbells or load the hex bar as heavy as you can, then start walking around with it. It will train your grip, shoulders, core and legs. Mind you, your core consists more than just your rectus abdominis (6-pack muscle) and obliques (the sides), it also consists of your QL (Quadratus Lumborum) that is usually neglected but essential for spine health. The farmer’s walk will help you train your QL and be more athletic. The issue I have with doing this exercise at commercial gyms are that they usually have neither a hex bar nor dumbbells heavy enough for me to use, and those that aren’t familiar with this exercise might give you a weird look. When you want to try this exercise, make sure that your shoulders are pushed all the way down (no shrugging) and your spine is in neutral position.
This is also a great exercise for those that wanted to loose weight as efficient as possible. If you want to increase your running speed, use less weight and push faster. If you want to increase your pushing strength for your rugby/American football game, load more into the sled. This training will build your shoulders, core and legs real fast and you will be gasping for air in minutes. One thing you must keep in mind is again, keeping the spine in neutral position and your knees in proper alignment, otherwise you will be visiting the physiotherapist real soon. No sled at your gym? Use your car!
Sled Rope Pull
So the first two exercises focused on gait and pushing, the third exercise will now focus on pull and stop-twist. Simply tie a thick and sturdy rope to the loaded sled or car, walk about 10 – 15 meters away, plant your feet and start pulling your weight. The key is to use your body twist to pull the rope instead of using your arms. Make sure your spine remains locked and the twisting is generated from the hips. If you pose like the image above, don’t blame me for the subsequent back problems. This conditioning will do wonders to your grip, lats, obliques and glutes.
A great full body conditioning for those with lower body issues (knee or ankle problem, obesity, etc). This training will do wonders to your grip, arms, shoulders, core and legs. Of course just like the great three training above, the main issue with this exercise is stupid trainers who don’t know how to do them properly, demonstrating improper technique to their clients. If you do this exercise with shrugged shoulders, or drive the energy from flexing your spine, be assured that you will be visiting a GP or physio soon.
OK, so just hitting the punching bag in this case. Hitting the bag is a great way to work up your cardio and working the whole body. And the greatest knock out artists know how to use their stiffened core to fully transfer the hitting power from the hips to the knuckles. If your have pinched shoulders or weak wrist, your trainer should probably address your weak points first before allowing you to go at it.
No, I’m not talking about a slow jog. I’m talking about a fast sprint with vigorous swinging arms. Run like you just stole something. Only by running like this would you be able to work the whole body and feel the pump in no time. Now you might say that the previous 5 conditioning exercises involved equipment you or your gym don’t have. But surely you can afford a pair of sneakers right? And compared to other forms of training above, a sprint is much safer and easier to do.
So there you have it folks, my favorite forms of conditioning that will help you loose weight, get more toned, and build whole body strength. After all, if you want to loose your belly fat, you must loose your body’s overall fat. Doing 1000 sit-ups a day will only get you spine disk herniation while these exercises above will burn far more calories in shorter time.