At the end of most sessions, I usually finish off with a 4-6 minute conditioning finisher. I want to share my preferred finishers with you guys. These range from moderate to very difficult. In terms of templates, I either go with tabata intervals (HIIT work), EMOM work (every minute on the minute) or some kind of ladder. I mainly do this for the conditioning aspect BUT another major reason is to hone my mental toughness. The mind will always give up before the body does. It is our job to push through those mental barriers that we set out for ourselves.
HIIT Work is the simplest and most straight-forward way to get in some conditioning. A good place to start is 4-6 minutes of work. This can either be 20s on / 40s off, 30s on / 30s off or 40s on / 50s off. Obviously, the less rest, the harder it will be.
I am a fan of the HIIT work because you can literally do anything. Assault Bike, Rowers, Treadmills, KB Swings, Burpees, Pushups, Squat Jumps. Literally, anything. It’s hard to mess this one up.
EMOM – Every minute on the minute means just that. You work on the minute, complete the reps and you rest for the rest of the minute. Once the next minute hits, you’re on again. I like to do this with one or two exercises for 4-8 minutes. Of course, the longer the duration, the harder it’ll be. With the EMOM work, you have to be smart about the number of reps you’re setting out to do. For example, there will be a big difference between 15 squat jumps and 30 squat jumps in terms of how long that will take to complete. Don’t overdo it here. Start low because you can always increase reps in the following weeks.
An example of EMOM work:
A1. Squat Jumps x 15 (Odd minutes)
A2. Sit Thrus x 15 per side (Even minutes)
x 8 minutes (4 sets at each)
Ladders – Ladders can be very dirty and efficient. You can do it with similar exercises or slightly different ones. Basically, you pick a # from 10-20 to ladder from. 10 is a good starting point. You do one of the moves for 10 reps, do the second move for 1 rep. That is one set. Then, you go back to the first move for 9 reps and do the second move for 2 reps and so on and so forth until you’ve flipped the ladder and reached 1 rep on the first move and 10 reps on the second move. These are quick, painful and efficient.
An example of a ladder:
Burpees x 10 / KB Swings x 1 (You would ladder down on the burpees and up on the swings, finishing with 1 Burpee and 10 KB Swings
One way to track progress on these ladders is to time your set and try to beat your previous time.
All in all, there are lots of options for conditioning. This can be a good place to work on your weaknesses – whether that is mental toughness and grit or a weak core, glutes, arms, etc. For me personally, it’s all about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is how I build my conditioning up. I know I just need to push myself to a little bit of discomfort – to the point where I’m breathing hard and questioning whether I really want to do one more set or interval. This is where the mental toughness is built. Either I give up and regret it or I continue to push through and overcome my weak thoughts.