How to Design Your Own Fat-Torching Conditioning Workout | H4 Training

Aug09How to Design Your Own Fat-Torching Conditioning Workout

The benefit of working with a fitness professional is that you have your workouts designed for you. You don’t have to worry about which exercises are best for you and your goals, how long the workouts are, etc.

But maybe you have an off day or two, or have an hour to kill and would like to get a workout in at home, or are on vacation. But first, we have to define what a ‘conditioning workout’ is.

What is Conditioning?

Conditioning, cardio, HIIT, sometimes we use these terms to describe similar models of exercise. But what we mean when we say conditioning is prolonged physical work that increases your heart rate and uses muscles over a period of time (think endurance vs brute strength).

There are many ways to get this done; you can do longer forms of endurance work, like riding a bike, running, swimming, etc. Then there are also more intense bouts like boxing or kickboxing, HIIT, or sprinting.

Normally at H4, we do fast-paced, small circuits of a few different exercises in quick succession to achieve this. Whether it’s for time or done for reps, a few rounds of conditioning usually takes no longer than ten minutes.

Of course, this is done in conjunction with some functional resistance training. But you can build your own 10-20 minute conditioning workout to do on your non-training days, or on days when you are on vacay or just want to get a good sweat in.

The Format

Now on to building the workout. First, how do you structure it? You have to decide the main pieces of it: how many exercises, reps, time, tempo, rounds/sets. This might sound confusing, but it’s actually a lot easier than it sounds.

First, let’s decide how many and which exercises you want to have in the routine. Remember, this is supposed to be fast, intense, and effective. So we aren’t doing anything that requires a ton of weight, nor are we looking for a very complex move. Since conditioning is meant to be fast, we don’t want to pick exercises that are too technical, which can lead to poor form in a fatigued state.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say we have 3 total exercises. We will group them up in one circuit, so a short and effective workout. You need to be smart about the type of exercises you pick, for the reasons stated above. It’s best to pick exercises that use opposing muscle groups or at least have some variety between them. Let’s say we use the exercises below:

  • speed squats
  • jumping jacks
  • mountain climbers

Pretty basic group of exercises, but again it’s to keep things simple and easy to switch from one to another. each movement works opposing muscle groups so muscular fatigue won’t be too great, allowing you to perform all three in quick succession.

Now, what about the reps? If you are timing the exercises – say about 20 seconds to perform each one – then you don’t necessarily need to count reps. If you aren’t going by time, then come up with a rep range for each move. Make sure it’s not an absurd amount of reps, but something that you can do without ruining your form and is safe for a high rep range.

Lets have the reps like so:

  • speed squats x 15 reps
  • jumping jacks x 20 reps
  • mountain climbers x 20 each side

If you were timing the exercises, you could time each exercise for 20 seconds and get as many reps as possible. Either way, can take the 3 exercises and perform 4-5 rounds total, taking less than 10 minutes. If you have more/less exercises or circuits, then it would take you a little more/less time.

Again, with these types of workout they are meant to be short, fast, and intense. You perform all exercises back to back with very little or no rest except in-between rounds (think 30 seconds) or very short rest periods in-between exercises (think 10-15 seconds). For an example, check out the video below.

The video above utilizes two exercises per circuit, but the idea is the same; faster pace, low rest periods, and maximizing the burning of calories/fat.

There is no hard or fast rule about the format though, this is just an easy and simple primer on how to create your own fast and effective conditioning workout. Use our library of videos on our H4 YouTube channel or create your own. Just make sure to get up and move!