6 Hardcore Conditioning Exercises

Who said cardio is boring? If plugging away on a treadmill or elliptical machine just isn’t your thing, try one of these hardcore conditioning exercises to shred fat and get you looking lean for summer.

1. Tire flips (Alternative: Medicine Chest Toss)

  • Grasp the bottom of the tire with an underhand grip
  • Keeping your back straight and tight, drive up with your legs
  • Aim to drive the tire upward and forward simultaneously
  • Keep your body close to the tire at all times as you quickly rotate your hands so your palms are facing forward, and follow through until it is completely flipped
  • Perform sets of 10 to 20 flips

2. Sprints (Alternative: Treadmill Sprints)

  • Make sure to warm up with some jogging on the spot
  • Get into the starting stance by placing your lead foot at the starting line and bend the knee at a 45-degree angle
  • Place your hands on the ground, next to the lead leg, and lower your head into a comfortable position between your arms, relaxing your body to limit tension
  • Pull your body into an upright running position as you begin to sprint forward, keeping your arms bents at the elbow and pumping them up and down in a smooth motion
  • Run on your toes and bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle to increase your pushing force as the foot hits the ground
  • Make sure to slowly reduce speed for a slight cooldown period to help reduce injury
  • Perform several sets of 40- to 100-meter sprints

3. Battle Ropes Waves (Alternative: Plyometric Push-Ups)

  • Hold the ends of the rope at arm’s length in front of your hips with your hands shoulder-width apart, brace your core and begin alternately raising and lowering each arm explosively
  • Keep alternating your arms explosively for 30 to 60 seconds

4. Log Hang Cleans (Alternative: Barbell Hang Cleans)

  • Approach the log and take a shoulder to slightly wider than shoulder-width stance
  • Gripping the handles firmly, bend at the hips and knees keeping your back straight, and take a deep breath and initiate the clean by driving through with your legs as you row the log up into your lap, keeping your elbows out and flared wide – this is your starting position; you will return the log back to waist height for every repetition
  • Think of rolling the log up your chest by hugging it close to your body and driving your hips forward to clean the log up to shoulder height
  • Once the log is at shoulder height, keep your elbows high and pointed forward, back tight and head back with eyes looking at the ceiling
  • Squat down slightly and drive the log upwards by extending your legs as well as your arms explosively
  • Remember, this is a conditioning movement, so choose a weight that you can perform 15 to 20 repetitions with

5. Sled Push (Alternative: Bear Crawl)

  • Make sure to put enough weight on the sled to provide enough resistance to require effort, but not so heavy that you are significantly slowed down
  • You may use the upright or the low handles for this exercise; place your hands on the handles with your arms extended, while leaning forward towards the sled
  • With a straight back and tight core, drive through the ground with alternating, short steps, moving as fast as you can for a short distance
  • Perform for sets of 50 to 100 feet.

6. Sledge Hammer Swings (Alternate: Medicine Ball Slams)

  • Line up the head of the hammer on the middle of the tire in front of you
  • Keep your feet about shoulder-width apart and, with one hand on the top of the handle and one near the bottom, rotate the hammer until it gets aligned directly over your head
  • With the hammer overhead, simultaneously drop your hips downward as your top hand slides toward the bottom, so maximum power can be generated as you hit the tire
  • Catch the hammer up high on the rebound and then repeat the motion
  • Perform sets of 20 to 30 reps

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