5 Conditioning Exercises You Can Do At Home
When we mention the word conditioning, what springs to mind? Some of you may think about never ending cardio workouts, where others may actually draw a blank. Conditioning can be one of those buzz words that we see banded about in the fitness world without us fully knowing what it means.
Here at Instructor Live we know how beneficial conditioning workouts can be to health, so let’s see what they actually look like.
What is Conditioning?
To keep it simple, we define conditioning as any form of exercise that can increase the efficiency of any body system.
Whilst we often focus on metabolic conditioning, which means those workouts which improve the efficiency of our energy systems, when we engage in carefully structured conditioning workouts, we build strength, speed, agility, mobility and more!
Metabolic Conditioning and Energy Systems
All energy in the body is produced by the breakdown of ATP, adenosine triphosphate. ATP is found in all cells in all the body, but as it is a large molecule, not so much can be stored. To restore ATP there are three relevant energy systems.
This is where the body uses all the ATP it has stored in its cells. This is the simplest energy production process; and this is the system that your 100m sprint would utilise.
This system runs on glycogen, which is the storage form of carbohydrates. This system provides moderate power and moderate duration. Both the ATP-PC and Glycolytic system are anaerobic, meaning they don’t require oxygen to product ATP.
This system, as its name suggests does involve the use of oxygen to product ATP. This system cannot produce energy as quickly as the other two, but it can produce it continually and for a longer duration. This system can use stored carbohydrates and fats for fuel. This would be the system that the marathon runner would access!
As you can see, the energy system used will depend on the exercise or workout you are doing. It will also depend on how long you are working out for. Those longer sessions will use the oxidative system.
The more we use these systems, the more finely tuned they become.
This is the basic premise of conditioning, and it applies across all body systems.
When we load muscles, they adapt and grow so they can function better next time. If we practice sprint intervals, it wakes up some of those quick firing muscles that aren’t always called upon when we’re doing that 5km walk.
Conditioning workouts therefore consist of a range of exercises that can prime certain muscles and functions, and through practice, we build efficiency.
We have listed 5 of our favourite conditioning exercises you can do at home.
Start with your feet hip width apart, what this means is that if you drew a line from your hips down your legs, your feet would be at the end of the straight line. Shift your hips back and down, as if you were going to sit on a chair and let your knees track over your toes. Keep your chest as high as possible, if you find your chest starting to face the floor, don’t squat down as low. Inhale as you squat down, try to squat until your upper thighs are parallel with the floor. Squeeze your glutes to return to standing, and exhale.
Repeat for 20 reps.
Start in a high plank position, with your shoulders directly over your wrists. Make sure you brace your core. To do this, think of your abdomen as a pressure cooker and you are trying to seal it from every angle. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the ground and then press back up to the starting position. Repeat for 15 reps.
If you aren’t yet ready for the full push up, let your knees touch the floor and push up from here. To progress, as you get more confident with the kneeling push-up, try to incorporate a full push-up every 3 reps, and then every 2 reps, until you can do every other rep.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, that is if you were to draw a straight line from your shoulder down, your feet would be at the end of it. Inhale and take a step forward with one foot, as you plant it down, bend both knees so they both make a 90-degree angle. Ideally, in the leg you have stepped forward, we want your knee directly over your ankle, so if we were to draw a line between them, it would be straight. The leg behind will hover just off the floor. Spring your front leg back to standing, squeeze your quadriceps and glutes. Alternate legs. Repeat for 15 reps on each leg.
The burpee is a combination of many movements. Start standing and then squat down, reaching the palms of the hands to the floor. Jump the feet back so you are in a push-up position. Drop to the floor, and then do a full push up. Jump your feet back to the starting position and then stand, jumping quickly into the air. That is one rep. Repeat for 10 reps.
The inclusion of burpees in HIIT workouts has been linked to stronger heart and lung function, improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels and improved brain function.
If the full burpee is a little challenging right now, you can do a bodybuilder instead.
Here you start standing, squat down to reach the palms of your hands to the floor. Jump your feet back so you are in a plank position. Jump your feet back to meet your hands and them jump back up to standing. Repeat for 15 reps. A bodybuilder is a burpee without the push-up.
This is the human version of rub your tummy and pat your head. We kid you not. But it’s great for core stability.
Lie down on the floor on your back with your legs and arms extended. Push your lower back into the floor by sucking your bellybutton in. Bring your arms out in front of you so they are reaching towards the ceiling and bring your knees up so your thighs are parallel to your arms. This is when you look like a dead bug.
Slowly lower your right arm over your head towards the floor, whilst you do, lower your left leg towards the floor. Your left arm is still pointing towards the ceiling, as is your right knee.
Bring your extended limbs back to the dead bug position and then do the same with your alternate sides.
Always keep your spine flat to the floor to ensure core stability. Repeat for 10 reps on each side.
If you would like to add some conditioning workouts to your schedule, check out the range of classes we have on offer. Remember, a conditioning workout is simply one that improves the efficiency of our systems.