There’s a small war being waged against jogging within the strength and conditioning community. It’s not an effective use of your time for improving endurance for any sport other than distance running. And it might actually make you slower.
But don’t confuse this with animosity toward aerobic endurance. Athletes in sprint sports need an aerobic base to recover after bursts of speed and strength on the field and between sets in the weight room.
So how do you improve your aerobic endurance in an efficient manner? Eric Cressey, co-founder of Cressey Sports Performance, has his baseball players do mobility conditioning circuits, which he details in this article.
Mobility conditioning circuits consist of exercises often found in a dynamic warm-up, which typically increase your heart rate while enhancing your range of motion and flexibility. Done in circuits with minimal rest, these exercises can form the foundation for hybrid mobility and aerobic conditioning workouts.
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Tony Bonvechio, a strength coach at Cressey Sports Performance who has experience with mobility conditioning circuits, explains that the concept was initially devised as a way to condition baseball players after a long season. Their bodies were beat up, so they needed to avoid anything stressful or high impact, such as HIIT, heavy lifting and, of course, jogging.
“When guys are first coming back when their season is over, we have them focus on their aerobic base. They have no need to do anything hard and heavy,” says Bonvechio. “We know that to maximize recovery and set them up for a good off-season, they need a really well-developed aerobic system.”
Luckily, distance running isn’t the only way to develop this system.
“These guys don’t need to be able to go out and run 10 miles,” he continues. “But they do need to be able to move well over and over again. It makes sense to string together a bunch of our favorite mobility drills and do them fairly quickly but keep it low intensity to create an aerobic effect.”
Athletes in other sprint sports, such as football, basketball and soccer, can realize these exact same benefits. Ultimately, using mobility exercises for conditioning work will help you get in shape while improving your overall athleticism and durability.
Better yet, you can do this type of workout every single day without producing a negative impact on your recovery or strength.
Mobility Conditioning Workout
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds without rest. Repeat each exercise pair 3-6 times for a 15-30-minute workout. Work at 50 to 60 percent of your max effort (5 or 6 out of 10 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale). You should be able to hold a conversation during this workout. If you become short of breath, take a quick rest. Do this after a standard dynamic warm-up.
1a) Single-Leg Reach
1b) Supine Shoulder Slides
2a) Lateral Lunge
2b) Dead Bug
3a) Walking Leg Cradle
3b) Upper Clams
4b) Straight-Leg March
5a) Bodyweight Overhead Squat
5b) Bird Dog
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