Building Athletes from the Ground Up: Conditioning at Hardbody Athlete

Small-Group Personal Training for Ambitious Athletes and Adults

As athletes begin their barbell training journey, it’s crucial to adopt an all-encompassing training plan that covers every aspect of physical performance. At Hardbody Athlete, we understand that focusing solely on gaining strength and mass while neglecting conditioning can limit overall progress. Proper conditioning is essential for escalating training intensity, volume, and density, allowing athletes to achieve their full potential.

The Importance of Conditioning

Conditioning is a foundational component of athletic performance. It enables athletes to handle increased training loads and recover effectively from intense sessions. A well-conditioned athlete can continuously escalate their training, maintain high performance levels, and recover properly each week. Neglecting conditioning can lead to training plateaus and extended recovery timelines, ultimately limiting progress.

Integrating Conditioning into the Hardbody Method

At Hardbody Athlete, we’ve long emphasized the importance of General Physical Preparedness (GPP) and conditioning work. Our approach incorporates conditioning alongside the max, dynamic, and repeated effort methods to create a comprehensive training program. This method ensures that athletes develop the necessary endurance to support their strength and explosive power during competition.

Enhancing Conditioning: Practical Strategies

To improve conditioning without making drastic changes to your training plan, consider the following strategies:

Training Density

Increasing training density is an effective way to enhance conditioning. This involves shortening rest periods between sets, allowing athletes to acclimate to increased demands without adding extra volume. For beginners, focus on accessory exercises to avoid disrupting recovery from main lifts. As proficiency improves, incorporate higher training density into dynamic effort training days, while maintaining adequate rest during max effort sessions to ensure peak performance.

Sled Training

Sled training is a versatile tool for improving conditioning. At Hardbody Athlete, we use sleds for warm-ups, work capacity improvement, and conditioning. Begin with forward sled pulls for 10-12 trips of 20-30 yards. Gradually incorporate variations such as backward sled pulls and sled pushes. Sled training can be done as a warm-up or at the end of a workout to enhance conditioning without interfering with barbell training.

Adding a Conditioning-Focused Training Day

For athletes with limited training days, adding a conditioning-focused session can be beneficial. These sessions typically last 30-45 minutes and use common cardiovascular exercises like treadmill walks, assault bike sessions, or rowing. Keep the workouts simple and adjust the intensity based on the athlete’s current conditioning level to avoid overtraining.

Sample Conditioning Workouts

Here are a few examples of conditioning-focused workouts:

  • Incline Treadmill Walk: 30 minutes
  • Assault Bike + Light KB Swings: 15 minutes bike + 3 sets of 1-minute swings
  • Rower + Belt Squat Walk: 1500m row + 5 sets of 60 steps
  • Trail Hike: 45 minutes with a light backpack
  • Treadmill Jog + Walk: 15 minutes jog + 15 minutes walk

These workouts provide a cardiovascular challenge while supporting overall conditioning and recovery. Modify exercises as needed to match the athlete’s conditioning capabilities.

Building a Complete Athlete

At Hardbody Athlete, our goal is to build complete athletes who excel in strength, size, and conditioning. Improved conditioning not only enhances training quality and recovery but also contributes to overall quality of life. It’s essential for athletes to have the endurance to display their strength and skills in any situation, whether in the gym, on the field, or in competition.

The era of the out-of-shape lifter is over. To reach your full athletic potential, focus on conditioning as an integral part of your training program. At Hardbody Athlete, we help athletes become the best versions of themselves by building strength, muscle mass, work capacity, and conditioning levels.


Conditioning is a vital aspect of athletic training that supports strength, recovery, and performance. By integrating strategies such as increased training density, sled training, and conditioning-focused days, athletes can improve their conditioning and achieve their training goals. At Hardbody Athlete, we provide small-group personal training tailored to ambitious athletes and adults, ensuring a comprehensive approach to fitness and performance.