Even a good part of your conditioning should take very little time. When you have more time, train more, but don’t think that limited time can’t be very productive.
Most readers of our old strongerman.com and now those to our AnUnconventionaLife site know about the training I did for extended reps and sets with the kettlebell swing, but that’s not the whole story. Yes, I think that pretty much everyone can and probably should make time once a week or so for an extended conditioning workout. I wish I could say different, but I don’t think there’s any way to get the benefits I’ve gotten from an hour long conditioning workout that is both muscular and aerobic and almost, if not, completely non-stop without actually doing that hour.
However, you can get most, if not, all of that benefit by doing one, one-hour session (hour time frame is just an example), once a week. Your other sessions do not need to be longer than 10-15 minutes if that’s all the time you have. The key to getting these big results from very little time is to make those quick workouts (especially the conditioning ones), bad to the bone.
The 12:12 Workout Challenge
For example, I have a challenge workout that I’ve been using for several years. I call it the “12:12 workout“, because the first time I did it it took me 12 minutes and 12 seconds to complete and I nearly coughed up a lung. We now use a version of this for the MMA fighters I train as a “yard stick” workout. (A workout that you cycle back to regularly to test how the other training you’re doing has affected your strength/conditioning.)
For them we simply, but ominously call it, “The test.” It consists of 20 heavy, 2-handed kettlebell swings and 20 sprawls done without rest five times as fast as possible. In my original challenge and personal workout you had to use a 140-150lbs <a href=”http://anunconventionalife.com/articles/t-handle-kettlebell/”>T-Handle Kettlebell</a> for the swings, but for them we scale the kettlebell weight by experience, strength, etc.
I found that as I got in better shape, of course, my time got much faster and we have found that about six-minutes is the max speed possible for this test. My personal record has improved from 12:12 to 5:58 with the 150lb T-Handle. However I still have a huge available area to progress in. What if I can build to doing that same workout in six minutes, but using 225lbs on the T-Handle? There’s always room to improve no matter who you are.
Everybody who’s ever done this particular challenge will tell you it’s horrible and it should be if you‘re putting out the right effort with the right weight. Guys who are in frightening max-condition will still be sucking wind at the end of it and you will get a super effective workout in conditioning, strength, fat burning, etc. in 6-12 minutes. The key is intensity and progression.
Compare the differences in intensity from a weight perspective in a short vs. long workout.
- 150-200lb swings vs. 53-106lb
- 100-200 reps vs. 500-1000 reps.
You need both but you can get massive gains in just a few minutes – those minutes just gotta be Superbad.