This is the fourth part of my Pyramid of Successful Movement series (Read More: Pain-Free, Strength/Power). In this series, I will discuss each of the fundamentals in order of increasing complexity. At the end I will give a hypothetical case study and address the movement program design for this individual if he were my client.
Conditioning is thought of as a panacea in the world of athletics, and it is one of the most pernicious myths that cause athletes to never reach their full potential. Let me be clear about what conditioning is and is not. Conditioning is simply the ability to be able to repeat a particular skill over and over again.
So if we were examining conditioning in the context of running, conditioning would be learning how to run at whatever speed you can right now for longer periods of time. However, if you are an aspiring power athlete (ex. Basketball, football, baseball..) this should NOT be your primary focus.
If you are aspiring to become the best athlete you can be, you must develop your capacity to generate large amounts of power and then the skills to apply that power in your sport. Only once you have done that, then should you focus on conditioning. You can not simultaneously increase your power or skill and condition yourself. They require conflictory stimuli.
Do not get me wrong, conditioning is vital to becoming the best athlete that you can be. However, you must develop the foundational skills you need to excel in your sport before you worry about being able to repeat those skills under fatigue and pressure. Just because a workout makes you feel tired afterwards does not mean it is effective! We need to move away from the terminology of working out. As an athlete, your goals from your training should not be to induce fatigue or muscle soreness. The goal is to become a better athlete. Therefore you should practice everything. For example, when you go to the weight room, it is not to workout, but to practice being stronger and more powerful!
If you can’t sustain it, it’s not worth it.