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Six Star Conditioning

If you’re smack in the middle of offseason training, chances are you’ve slacked off a bit on your diet since the New Year as you try to build as much muscle as possible for the upcoming season. If you can’t see your abs and your muscles are starting to look soft and blurry, it’s time to kick up your conditioning!
Six Star Pro Staff
Six Star Pro Staff
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Running stairs

If you’re smack in the middle of offseason training, chances are you’ve slacked off a bit on your diet since the New Year as you try to build as much muscle as possible for the upcoming season. If you can’t see your abs and your muscles are starting to look soft and blurry, it’s time to kick up your conditioning!

While you may not have the genetics to be the fastest guy or even the strongest athlete on the field, being the best conditioned athlete can give you a huge edge on the competition. That’s where we come in – if you follow this plan, you’ll have the strong heart you need to keep your body fast and muscular.

CONDITIONING VS. CARDIO

Before we begin, we want to emphasize that conditioning isn’t what is commonly referred to as “cardio”. This program won’t have you bored by making you walk slowly on a treadmill for hours a week. If conditioning builds legs of steel, cardio builds the legs of an underfed flamingo! On this program, you’re going to challenge yourself, but at the same time you’re going to be having fun while building a strong, functional body!

THE PROGRAM

This program is relatively simple. Below are the conditioning exercises we want you to focus on.

  • Train 5x per week.
  • Each workout consists of any two of the following exercises below.
  • There’s a variety of exercises – some require basic equipment found at most gyms – while others can be done right at home.
  • Try to keep switching it up – if you’re good at jumping rope, don’t pick that every workout if you can.
  • Keep yourself honest and tackle some of your weaknesses by choosing the hardest workout combinations.

HILL SPRINTS

You’re outside in the fresh air and you’re building more power and speed. How can you lose?

There aren’t many exercises that test your conditioning more than good old-fashioned hill sprints. No special equipment is needed; it’s just you and the hill. They’re devilishly simple – you’re just running up a steep incline – and yet they bring the pain! Your lungs, your legs and your butt will all be thanking you after this.

The workout: Do 7 sprints in total – five short 10-yard sprints (with 60 seconds of rest) followed by two longer 20-yard sprints. As you get better you can decrease the rest time or increase the length or number of sprints.

Tip: Hill sprints result in some wear and tear on the ankles and your Achilles tendons. It’s important to make sure you do some stretching and warm up properly before hitting the biggest hill you can find. If you’re new to running, go for more modest hills the first few times out until your body adapts.

JUMP ROPE

Some of you might be rolling your eyes. And we get it. After all skipping ropes are for school kids, right? Wrong! Muhammad Ali jumped rope – that’s all you need to know. It’s inexpensive, easy to do, you can do it anywhere and it absolutely torches calories.

The workout: Jump for 30 seconds, then rest for 1 minute. As you get better you can go longer. Aim to complete 10 sets.

STADIUM STEPS

Everyone’s aware of the scene in Rocky were boxer Rocky Balboa runs up the 72 stone steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Running steps of a stadium is such a surefire way to crank up your conditioning that even athletes in the 1970s knew the value of running them.

If you live or work in an apartment or office building, running stairs is just as good an option. Apartment and office buildings have huge amounts of stairs that are just waiting for you to conquer them!

The workout: Perform 6 – 10 sets (depending on height of staircase) of forward alternating sprints. This means you hit every step. You can however, challenge yourself by hitting every other step. Going up, and running down counts as one set.

Tip: Warm ups are key with this exercise. We suggest after a few light stretches and that you do an easy jogging set up and down the stairs to get the blood flowing.

SLED DRAGS

Sleds are the perfect conditioning tool. They’re simple to use and dragging them takes an enormous amount of energy. It’s also easy to adjust the difficulty: Simply add more weight to make it harder as your body adapts.

So how do you drag a sled? We’ll, there are numerous techniques, however the two easiest are dragging the sled forwards and dragging the sled backwards. We prefer dragging the sled backwards as it emphasizes the quadriceps, whereas many conditioning programs emphasize hamstring and glute dominated exercises. Backwards dragging also gives your upper back, forearms, grip and elbow flexors a good workout.

Start in front of the sled with one foot ahead of the other in a staggered stance. Get low, holding onto the handles and then simply start walking backward.

Perform 5 – 10 reps of about 30 – 40 seconds each.

Tip: Lean backward away from the sled the entire time. Don’t row the sled, keep your arms and back straight with your core initialized while leaning back.

BATTLE ROPES

Unlike many of the exercises listed here, battle ropes are primarily an upper body conditioning workout. There’s not much to this in the way of complexity. You hold a thick, long rope by the ends and move your arms up and down or in circles as fast as you can. There are endless variations you can perform with battle ropes, but for simplicity, start with alternating waves, where you alternate moving your arms up and down as fast as you can.

Perform 15 rounds with each round consisting of 20 seconds all-out, high-intensity exercise followed by 20 seconds of rest.

KETTLEBELL SWINGS

For years the kettlebell swing has been an exercise preferred by military branches around the world – and for good reason – they’re a great tool for increasing strength and conditioning without big bulky weights or equipment. With each swing not only are you forcing your muscles to work hard but you’re also creating an environment in your body that will incinerate fat! In fact, a 2010 study performed by Farrar et al at Truman State University showed performing only the 12 minute “Man-Maker” drill imparted a greater challenge to the cardiorespiratory system than has been shown with traditional circuit weight training!

The Workout: The “Man-Maker” drill simply requires you to perform a 2-handed kettlebell swing with a 16-kg kettlebell for 12 minutes for as many swings as possible. Work at your own pace and rest as needed, however you should aim to complete a minimum of 75 swings in 12 minutes on your first try.

Tip: You can adjust the weight of the kettlebell to increase the difficulty of the challenge, but remember that form is more important than the weight of the kettlebell if you’re just starting out. Why not post your performances on our Facebook page?

To properly do a kettlebell swing, begin in a lowered squat position, standing with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed slightly outward. Make sure to keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.

Brushing your arms on your inner thighs, forcefully extend the knees and hips to accelerate the kettlebell up. Keep your arms straight while you project the kettlebell up and away from the body. The kettlebell should rise about chest high.

Absorb the kettlebell weight as it follows the same path back to the starting position. Make sure to keep your arms straight the entire time.

BODYWEIGHT

If you’re limited on time, if you don’t live in an area with hills or a stadium, and if you don’t have access to a gym – you can still improve your conditioning by just using your own bodyweight with these basic exercises. Try this short circuit. It may look easy on paper, but it’s surprisingly difficult. However if you’re feeling sadistic you can increase the difficulty by increasing the time or by simply repeating the circuit!

Jumping Jacks30 seconds
Mountain Climbers30 seconds
Burpees30 seconds
Jump Squats30 seconds

While you’ve likely done jumping jacks and jump squats, you may not be familiar with Mountain Climbers or Burpees.

To execute a Mountain Climber start in a push-up position with your arms straight and your body in a straight line. Without changing the posture of your back, raise your right knee toward your chest, pause, and then return to the starting position and repeat with your left leg. That’s one rep. Keep alternating until the time is up.

Burpees are also known as “squat thrusts” and work your entire body as you jump, squat, plank, push-up, and repeat. Begin in a standing position. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Now, lower your body into a squatting position, placing your hands on the floor in front of you. Next, kick your feet back so that you are in the bottom of a push-up position. Push up to return to plank position. Then bring your feet back in toward the hands and explosively jump into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead.

SUPPLEMENTS

One thing you’ve noticed throughout this article is the high level of energy you’re going to be spending performing these conditioning exercises so your supplementation needs to be on point.

30 minutes before – one serving of Six Star® Pre-Workout Explosion. This new formula is loaded with powerful ingredients like arginine AKG and ultra-clean caffeine anhydrous. Six Star® Pre-Workout Explosion is the smartest choice you can make to fuel your hardest workouts.

Pre-Workout Explosion: Fruit Punch

Post Workout – immediately after you’ve completed your two conditioning assignments, refuel with Six Star® 100% Whey Protein Plus. This great-tasting protein powder is packed with scientifically researched key ingredients that build 70% more muscle than regular whey and increase strength.

100% Whey Protein Plus

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