Conditioning Work

If you want to do well…you need to turn traditional periodisation upside down.

As with other posts…I’ll try to make this short and sweet and then we can fight over it afterwards.

With conditioning work…getting fitter…it is generally approached like this:

Base Training…as in developing a ‘good endurance’ base. Then some sort of Speed Endurance work…to build up speed repeatability. Then to bring these athletes to a razor sharp peak you do your Speed and Acceleration work. That’s the usual pattern…simplified I know but it goes along those lines.

I think it is just plain stupid and I do it this way instead. Do the Speed and Acceleration work first….actually get them fast to begin with. Then do some speed endurance/repeatability work…because now they actually HAVE some speed and acceleration to endure. Then lastly work on expanding work capacity so they can express their speed and acceleration more often and with less recovery.

You could take ANY field sport…do a time and motion analysis for ANY position and ANY player and find out the total distance covered in a game and I bet if you measured it out and gave me the same length of time I could cover the distance without hardly getting out of breath…it isn’t your ‘fitness’ that is lacking in field sports…it isn’t your ‘VO2 max’ that stops you from excelling…it is your lack or speed/acceleration/power/agility that is lacking and more particularly your ability to express these qualities often and in quick succession.

So to answer the question re getting someone ‘fit’ for intervals you will see the same patterns in all my conditioning programs…they start off with short intervals and long recoveries and the intervals slowly get longer as the ability to sustain intensity is developed and or recoveries get shorter as the ability to sustain and repeat intensity is developed.

Does that make sense? There is no point doing speed endurance or speed repeatability work if the speed you are enduring or repeating is SLOW!


7 thoughts on “Conditioning Work

  1. Ian King and I had a fairly comprehensive discussion about this very same topic back in 1998 or 1999.

    “Reverse Periodization” or whatever.

    It’s good to be reminded of it.

  2. I may have been some sort of association with me. In that case, you’re fucked since I’ve actually met you.

  3. This is a bloody good post!

    I liked it the first time I read it, and I like it even more now I’ve come back to it. It’s really helped me to understand what I need to be doing in my training!


  4. Thanks for dragging this back up it’s absolutely spot on. Hopefully in a few weeks time I’ll be a better example of this in action for combat sports.

  5. I need to ramble on aimlessly more often…you guys really lap that stuff up.

    I am going to get into this in detail over the next couple of weeks with regard to Gaelic Football. My approach to MMA conditioning is different and I’ll get into that as well…I’ve been thinking about MMA training a lot obviously with regard to my own training. To put it simply MMA bouts go one of two ways in by far the majority of cases…either someone’s power or technique ends it early or it goes the distance…so as a MMA athlete you need to be prepared for both. I would never sacrifice conditioning for strength and power as far as fighting goes. In Barry’s case he wouldn’t be far off having the conditioning he needs to go 3 rounds, I can do absolutely shit all about his technique what I can do though is increase his relative strength, improve his power and ensure he has the anaerobic threshold and tolerance to pour all these elements on when the opportunity arises and empty himself on some dude and render him unconscious or have him tapping in the first round so we can go and get some beers. The other reason this is important is because anyone who has ever been in a fight will know…nothing reduces VO2 Max like getting punched hard in the face or kicked in the liver…that tends the opposition back down to your own level.

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