Conditioning is a term used to describe the ability of someone to complete a given task repeatedly, and efficiently. Conditioning can be lumped into general categories, or can be specific to sport training. Generally speaking, we practice conditioning in order to create a larger work capacity, and to develop a certain form of muscular endurance for a given sport. Most of the work completed in the gym is lumped into this category of training.
General conditioning benefits the body in numerous ways: strengthens muscles, ligaments, and tendons, increases work capacity, promotes a healthy heart, reduces stress on the heart, increases lung capacity, and can increase dopamine levels – which leads to a happier individual. All of these benefits are great, but a strong reality is that conditioning is just a really good time.
Conditioning workouts typically last between seven minutes and an hour. While working out at a high intensity for a long period of time we get to really learn about our intention for change, our desire to work hard, and we get to resonate with others completing the same workout. At the end of a long grind comes a sense of accomplishment – often times during these workouts a sense of wonder as to why even finish the damn thing comes to mind. Finishing these workouts allows us to physically, and emotionally progress from one day/workout to the next with confidence.
While strength training is a function of fitness, conditioning is a function of fitness away from heavy lifting. Conditioning can serve a very valuable role in a strength cycle – unloading from high volume of weight, or even just high volume of intensity is a necessary part of training, which ultimately leads to musculoskeletal recovery, and unloading of the central nervous system from all of the intensity.
Conditioning workouts allow the body to recover from the stressors of heavy weight training. Along with recovery comes structural and muscular development that weight training sometimes overlooks, or overpowers. Higher repetition training allows the tendons and ligaments a relief from a large amount of stress. During these conditioning cycles the body can develop better neurological connections to the muscles from the rapid rate of repetition, as well as the high volume of work.
Due to the higher volume of work, conditioning generally leads to a perfected form, and function of the activity. With a better understanding of an activity comes higher effectiveness of the activity, as well as a much more efficient use of time during the activity. Conditioning is truly a great way to become better at certain functions of fitness, as well as to gain general strength and fitness.