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Thread: Strength good, conditioning bad. Help.

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  1. #1
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    Strength good, conditioning bad. Help.

    Hey all. I'm getting sort of irritated at how slowly my conditioning is improving, and how quickly it goes away if I take time off from working out. For me, strength comes really quickly, I put on muscle fast, and I have constant strength gains. But my conditioning is either not improving, or improving at a snail's pace. I'm constantly winded while doing most metcons. My muscles start burning really quickly when doing repetitive movement. I'm good at 1-rep maxes, or small sets of heavy weight with lots of rest; but when I have to keep moving the bar (or my body, or whatever), it all falls apart. For instance: I can jerk 110 in sets of three, but the other day, doing 7 reps of a bear complex at 55lb, I had to drop the bar after five reps. My muscles just BURN really soon into the workout and I start failing.

    I took two weeks off from crossfit for the Christmas holidays (wasn't my choice, they didn't have classes), and the past two weeks back have been hard. I'm SO tired and wiped while doing the metcons. My strength has not suffered at all; I'm still lifting the same. But my ability to endure and keep going is just shot, and it improves soooooooo slowly. And I'm impatient.

    So, my question: why is this? And how do I make it better? Should I throw in more tabatas? Run? Do fast sets of high reps at a light weight? I'm really happy with my strength training and where I'm at there, but really annoyed that I have to stop and suck wind every few minutes in metcons, and that my muscles burn so quickly.

  2. #2
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    What event are you training your conditioning for?

  3. #3
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    I used to worry about this topic, until I ran across this Mark Rippetoe article...

    T NATION | Conditioning is a Sham

  4. #4
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    Improve your weakness is the order of the day here! Less heavy compound, more machines and dumbells and lots of reps and volume. Start out gradually and build up on reps and sets shortening of rest periods etc. Good luck!...

  5. #5
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    What event are you training your conditioning for?
    Life.

    I used to worry about this topic, until I ran across this Mark Rippetoe article...

    T NATION | Conditioning is a Sham
    Very interesting article. Gave me a lot to chew on. I'm basically in agreement that I shouldn't add more work to my regimen, because I'll be shooting myself in the foot strength-wise. But it's still pretty frustrating to be sucking wind so much.

    Although--this morning during the metcon I experimented with just staying in motion the whole time, taking no rest, even if I was totally gasping for breath. It actually worked out pretty okay; I did really well in the workout and didn't die or anything. I felt the same amount of tired in the end. This indicates to me that rest periods aren't actually helping me, and that part of my problem is all in my head, that I'm unwilling to push through pain/heavy breathing.

  6. #6
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    Unless you are a strength athlete, power-lifter or NFL line-back, I wouldn't listen much to the macho bullshit from Rippetoe! I have tried both world, and believe me, from a fitness perspective a conditioned athlete gives a much better "feel good" effect than being only an unconditioned strength athlete. Your symptoms of out of breath seem to be similar to "bonking" due to glycogen depletion, or you could be slightly out of iron in your blood (anemia)...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbag View Post
    Unless you are a strength athlete, power-lifter or NFL line-back, I wouldn't listen much to the macho bullshit from Rippetoe! I have tried both world, and believe me, from a fitness perspective a conditioned athlete gives a much better "feel good" effect than being only an unconditioned strength athlete. Your symptoms of out of breath seem to be similar to "bonking" due to glycogen depletion, or you could be slightly out of iron in your blood (anemia)...
    ...did you even read the article? From HIS fitness perspective, being strong turns what for some people is an all-out effort to do one rep, INTO an endurance exercise. Would you call someone who can spend a day loading 150-200 70lb bales of hay "poorly conditioned" because he or she runs a bad 5 minute mile time?

    EDIT: although it is worth pointing out that Rip's article is mostly talking about untrained individuals, which the OP does not seem to be.

    But I think the point still stands. Add weight to your primary lifts, and eventually what you lift now is just a warmup.
    Last edited by boomingno; 01-21-2013 at 11:48 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomingno View Post
    ...did you even read the article? From HIS fitness perspective, being strong turns what for some people is an all-out effort to do one rep, INTO an endurance exercise. Would you call someone who can spend a day loading 150-200 70lb bales of hay "poorly conditioned" because he or she runs a bad 5 minute mile time?
    Yes, the heyball argument is pure sophistery, and "stength" is relative to exactly what you are training for, with little or no carry over effect. Starting Strength is a beginners program similar to what I did at the age of 15 but it is not necessary for conditioned fitness nor for muscle volume, but obviously Rippetoe is some kind of a modern guru...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by boomingno View Post
    EDIT: although it is worth pointing out that Rip's article is mostly talking about untrained individuals, which the OP does not seem to be.
    As an untrained individual you will develop strength and muscle volume on almost any sensible weight program. It is not a bad idea starting your lifting carrier with the heavy compunds, but it is not the only way, and don't let that type of training hold your back, if what you really need is more stength conditioning. So many gymrats in my gym are held back by only focusing on strength numbers, instead of building up more reps, sets and training days. Especially if your goals are general fitness...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbag View Post
    As an untrained individual you will develop strength and muscle volume on almost any sensible weight program. It is not a bad idea starting your lifting carrier with the heavy compunds, but it is not the only way, and don't let that type of training hold your back, if what you really need is more stength conditioning. So many gymrats in my gym are held back by only focusing on strength numbers, instead of building up more reps, sets and training days. Especially if your goals are general fitness...
    If your goal is to be as strong as possible in the most efficient way possible, heavy compound lifts are indeed the only way. I assure you if you took a group of people A, and made them do heavy squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses, and fed them accordingly, vs group of people B that did whatever else, group A would always come out stronger. The lifts for group A are basic human movements that allow one to lift the most weight, thus allowing you to get stronger in the most efficient way known.

    If you want conditioning, no one says you shouldn't do it. Rippetoe's point is that for the average person, the best way towards general fitness, as you call it, is strength. Once strength is at an acceptable level, conditioning can be added in as necessary.

    I'm also not sure why you mention "building more reps, sets, and training days"? More reps just means working on stamina. More sets? For what? If you're doing a volume training day, as an intermediate lifter, sure, otherwise, what's the general purpose? If it's like more reps, then you're just talking about stamina. More days? Not for heavy lifting. Proper recovery is paramount.

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