Thanks to social media, I got inspired to write today’s post. I feel like social media is a great place to discuss endless topics! Today’s was inspired by a post someone made asking, “if you could choose one, strength or conditioning, which would you do?” Of course the comments come flying in from both sides and I don’t think this is a topic where. you can say one is right or wrong. However, the point that most miss is that you do NOT have to choose and doing so is missing the bigger picture about strength and conditioning.
Yesterday’s post about HIIT (you can read HERE) is a perfect example of why we don’t have to choose when it comes to strength and conditioning. Renown strength coach, Robert Dos Remedios, puts it so well…
“My philosophy has pretty much stayed the same—it’s all about building work capacity, and everything after that is easy. But, how to go about building this work capacity has changed through the years.
I tend to evolve more than most coaches simply because I take a ‘no ego’ approach to learning new things. Many people are reluctant to try new things if they seem strange, or if they may not have fun trying it for the first time. I’m the opposite, I will try anything you present to me (at least once). One of the first times I hung with you, Josh, you had me try to clean a 150lb Ultimate Sandbag—and I gave it a shot! It wasn’t pretty, but why not?!
Our egos can really handcuff our progress at times, so my philosophy allows for trying everything that can potentially make my programs bigger.”
Hmmm, work capacity sounds a lot like conditioning no? I found this definition and I think it sums it up well, “Work capacity is, essentially, the total amount of work you can perform, recover from, and adapt positively to.” Thanks to Greg Nuckols, I think this serves as a good foundation for our discussion about strength and conditioning. You see they really work hand in hand.
“Can’t you be really strong and not have great conditioning?” The short answer is kinda;) Why am I so vague? Well, it depends on how you are defining conditioning. If you are suggesting running 5 miles is good conditioning then Powerlifters, for example, would be in poor condition. However, that type of conditioning could also have a negative impact upon their training goals. It was Westside Barbell who actually popularized the use of sleds because they wanted to build work capacity and accelerate recovery.
As famous Powerlifter, Dave Tate describes…
“As we spoke I began to wonder if I’d lost my fitness level over the years. I’d spent the last few years force feeding myself to get my weight up and I only did those things I felt necessary in training. I didn’t want to burn any more calories then I had to. At about this time we decided to go to lunch. The lunch hall was about a fourth of a mile away and up hill. John decided we would walk. Even though we could see the hall I still wanted to drive. About halfway up the hill I started to feel like I was going to die. By the time we got to the top I was soaked in sweat and beet-red. I thought my heart was going to pound through my chest. My question about GPP was answered.
My GPP was terrible and I was not only out of shape, I was way out of shape! I used to think this was how you had to be if you wanted to lift big weights. What the hell do I need to be in shape for if all I have to do is lift a weight that takes three to five seconds to complete? On the way home Louie and I came up with a plan. We knew endurance training (bike, treadmill, etc.) wasn’t the ticket because it wasn’t bringing up any weak points and not specific enough to our sport. We had to find a way to increase GPP while bringing up weak points.”
Using sleds in my early coaching days was my inspiration in creating our ARES sled that gave us more options HERE
What is GPP? It stands for General Physical Preparation and was coined for athletes in their off-season to work on qualities and drills that were not specific to their sport.
According to Yuri Verkhoshansky in The Fundamentals of Special Strength Training in Sport and as outlined in Supertraining by Mel C Siff, there are several functions of GPP:
-To form, strengthen or restore motor skills, which play an auxiliary, facilatory role in perfecting sports ability.
-To teach abilities developed insufficiently by the given sport; increase the general work capacity or preserve it.
-To provide active rest, promote restoration after strenuous loading, and counteract the monotony of training.
The reality is that most of us are in GPP all the time because we are not aiming to compete in any specific sport (most don’t have the ability to create truly sport specific programs anyways) so we want more broad training. The majority of people make the mistake of either following a far too specialized program or they do far too random work to actually see progress.
How do we achieve both strength and conditioning that actually benefits both? For one, circuits are an easy answer. The reason you see us use circuits all the time in DVRT is that it is an easy way to build strength and conditioning. Fatigue can be both movement and muscle specific, so when we create circuits we can continue to do work while also stimulating recovery by not repeating the same movement or using largely the same muscles.
The crew at Rise Fitness & Performance shows a great example with our Strength Ultimate Sandbag. One of the reasons that when it comes to building that perfect blend of strength and conditioning that I default to Strength and Burly Ultimate Sandbags is because they provide us the load to build that strength, but allow us the dynamic nature of movement to also get a great conditioning effect.
DVRT UK Master, Greg Perlaki, does a great job showing how we can maximize the variables of DVRT to work strength and conditioning with VERY limited equipment but not sacrifice quality or thoughtfulness of training!
Our hope is to show you what smarter training is all about. Often people think they have to make choices in their fitness that they really don’t. Unfortunately, most don’t know how to accomplish goals like strength and conditioning in a thoughtful and meaningful way. We hope these types of posts really inspire you and don’t forget you can save 25% on our Ultimate Sandbags like our Strength USB and our DVRT workout programs HERE
Check out the great full body workout that Robin Paget shows that using movement principles in our DVRT system open up a much bigger world of training!
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