High Intensity Conditioning Methods

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Here is part 2 of the recent interview I did for Craig Ballantyne. Click HERE for part 1.

Craig Ballantyne: Tell us a little bit about some of the unique conditioning that you do? Obviously you’ve got the prowler, you guys do sprints, but what else do you have in Renegade Gym that you guys do?

Jason Ferruggia: First of all, it should be noted that not everyone needs to do conditioning. Typically the most explosive athletes do the least amount of conditioning. These would usually be throwers. But if you want to be in shape or play a sport you are going to need to do some conditioning. The key is not to overdo it. Or do it just for the sake of doing it.

As I said, we do zero cardio. Traditional cardio goes against evolution. You weren’t designed to do that and it’s counterproductive; meaning it causes cortisol release, over use injuries and saps your power.

As far as the methods we DO use- the prowler is one of the BEST things you can do. We use that quite a bit. You really have to experience it to even appreciate it. You do 10 to 20 of those with minimal rest and it’s gonna be far superior to any kind of cardio machine you could possibly do. That’s a great finisher or can be used on off days. There’s no eccentric component so you really don’t get sore from it.

How far should you push the prowler? It really depends on how much room you have. Anywhere from 20-50 yards should be good for most people. You’ll know when you’ve had enough. Trust me.

On top of that we’ll drag sleds pretty much the same way, same parameters. With the sled you can do a variety of different drags.

We’ll also do high rep kettle bell swings and snatches. I’ve recently become a big fan of snatches. Well, I was always a big fan of snatches, but recently became a very big fan of kettlebell snatches. In the past I always thought they were a good exercise but nothing special. Recently I’ve fallen in love with them, however. A lot of it has to do with a new technique I use to do them.

It can be somewhat difficult to master but once you really get tight form down on the snatch, it’s a very fun exercise to do. I am definitely a big fan of tight snatches… so to speak.

Swings and snatches for high reps or timed sets are awesome as a finisher. You could do 3-4 sets of 10-25 reps or just set a clock for 8-10 minutes and try to get as many reps as possible. Then each week you would try to get more reps in the same amount of time with the same weight.

The battling ropes are great if someone has any kind of knee injury, if they can’t push the prowler or they can’t sprint. There’s very little stress with the battling ropes so they allow people with any kind of injuries to get a great workout in. I like to do 4-6 sets of 20-30 seconds of work as a finisher. And there are numerous patterns you can use with the ropes.

My all time FAVORITE are hill sprints. I love to do hill sprints. I recommend hill sprints for everyone who needs to lose body fat.  They’re awesome and you don’t need any special equipment at all; just a hill. The reason I like hill sprints better than flat ground sprints are for the simple fact that they are less injurious, a little easier on the body and you don’t need to warm up as long.

But any kind of sprint; the prowler, sprints with a sled, sprints on flat ground and sprints on a hill are definitely going to be far superior to any cardio machine you could do.

The human body was simply not designed for long duration, repetitive, steady state activity.

If you are sprinting for conditioning and to cut weight you don’t have to be overly concerned with work to rest ratio and total volume as you would if you were training for speed. Simply run hard for 40-100 yards and rest as long as you need to. The whole workout doesn’t need to last more than twenty minutes.

Sometimes after a workout I will drive ten minutes over to the high school and sprint on the field turf immediately after training. I’ll do reduced warm up, since I have already just trained and then run about eight or ten 50-100 yard sprints.

I can’t recommend sprinting highly enough. I honestly believe that EVERYONE should be doing some sort of sprinting twice per week.

It’s what the body was designed to do and nothing will get you in better shape faster.

Please leave your comments below.