Balancing conditioning and strength training?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by c0r1nth14n, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. c0r1nth14n

    c0r1nth14n Blue Belt

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    So with a lot of help from this forum, I started lifting for the first time. I've been lifting for a little over a month now, and I'm wondering how I can balance my desire to get stronger/bigger with my desire to improve my cardio and train lots of Muay Thai. A lot of things I've read basically tell me to do absolutely nothing on my off days, so my muscles can heal. But I also see a lot of people around here who mention that they train 6 days a week and still lift on some of those days. So I guess my big question is: how do I get big and strong while still training MT as much as possible?

    Oh, and I'm also having trouble sleeping enough, as I tend to get a second wind around 10 PM or so. I've always had a problem with early bedtimes for this reason, I can be exhausted at 8 or 9 and wide awake at 10:30. Anybody have any tips for that?

    So far the lifting is going really well for me, I'm feeling good and I've seen some decent noob gains, so thanks for all the help I've already gotten!
     
  2. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    As to how to go about conditioning, that depends on what you want to do for conditioning, the rest of your schedule, and what works best for you. Depending on what you do for conditioning, you can do it on your "off" days, I.e. many people don't find a moderate jog/swim/cycle on an off day, won't interfere with their strength training days. Some people prefer to do conditioning on the same days as they lift, although ideally at a different time. More intense conditioning work, like hill sprints, prowler work, circuits etc. is usually best done on the same day as lifting. So, really, it depends.

    As for sleep, there's a number of things you can try.
    (1) Make sure your bedroom is as dark as possible. Cover any light you can. Personally I have socks covering LEDs, and a towel or shirt over my alarm clock.
    (2) Go to bed at a regular time every day, even on weekends. Maybe not so much fun, but you will sleep better.
    (3) Make your bedroom a place of sleep. As much as possible, don't watch TV, or do computer stuff or whatever there, especially not before bed.
    (4) Porn before bed.
    (5) Some people will find certain kinds of Tea will relax them, and help them sleep.
    (6) If all else fails, try taking melatonin. It shouldn't be used as a long term solution though.
     
  3. c0r1nth14n

    c0r1nth14n Blue Belt

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    I've been doing my lifting and my muay thai classes on the same day, but that means I'm doing 3 classes a week instead of 4 or 5. I'm not doing any jogging/swimming/cycling/etc, but lately my coach has been putting me through a lot of light sparring, padwork, and similar stuff that has me working my ass off until I'm exhausted and can barely keep my guard up. So I've been reluctant to go do that on my off days, if it's going to be work against my strength gains. Quite a dilemma.
     
  4. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    Depending on what you're doing in your classes it may be enough. Otherwise, start off with easy conditioning work on off days, and gradually increase the intensity as you become accustomed to the steady state work. Or, alternatively, look up the finishers in the new and improved FAQ, (near the end of the Pendlay quote) and do something along those lines.
     
  5. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    There are many ways to go about combining strength training with endurance training. There really is no one best way that anyone can tell you, and, as Tosa mentioned, a lot depends on your schedule, your goals, your training history, your present physical condition, etc (and even personal preference). But, since you are a beginner, there is really no need to over-complicate things.

    You mentioned that you've been lifting for about a month now and seeing good gains. Why not keep strength straining 3 times per week and keep that as your main focus for a few more months? You can still work on your MT technique and do some light/moderate LSD a couple of times per week.

    When you have built a fair strength base (and when your noob gains have run out), then, depending on your goals, you can switch to something like lifting 2 times per week (or even 3 times every two weeks), manage the volume/intensity, and focus more on your aerobic/anaerobic conditioning and competitive MT.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  6. c0r1nth14n

    c0r1nth14n Blue Belt

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    This is an excellent suggestion, but something I should have mentioned originally is that MT is 100% what I want to focus on right now, for a couple reasons. The big thing is that I'll be moving in January, and at my current gym I'm getting an incredible amount of one-on-one attention from some very serious fighters. I doubt I'll be able to find/afford that once I move. So I'm trying to take advantage of this as much as I can right now.
     
  7. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    Ideally you would have already worked on your strength foundation, but if MT is your current number 1 priority, then put strength training on the back burner. If you can't find/afford that kind of MT training when you move, you can change your priorities then.

    Do something simple like the two day split from the FAQ's. Don't lift more than two times per week and manage the volume/intensity so that lifting doesn't interfere much with your MT training. Depending on your current aerobic conditioning levels, the quality of your MT training might benefit greatly from doing a long LSD session (e.g. 5 mile run) once or twice per week. If/once your aerobic conditioning is satisfactory you can cut down on the LSD and implement HIIT training 2-3 times a week (depending on your capacity, you may have to downscale your lifting even more during this).

    If your MT technique is already on a decent level, whatever you do arrange it so that on 3-4 of your MT sessions you are rested/recovered and can go at full intensity. Again, I am just offering a plan for a beginner. Depending on your training history and current condition, what you chose to do might differ significantly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  8. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    If he's eating enough will he still be able to put on a decent amount of muscle mass (along with the other types) just doing the 2-day split in the FAQ, or running SS twice a week?
     
  9. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    I used to do a pretty even mix of strength and conditioning. In the past year, I've really started to incorporate training in blocks. I find it to be much more efficient and effective.

    I ran a 3 month conditioning block where I still lifted, but the volume was much lower. I'd say it was 75% conditioning and 25% lifting. I made the best conditioning gains of my life. After that, I switched to strength training only. I'm seeing the best gains of my life with that. I'll probably run a block of a 50/50 split next in hopes of maintaining strength and getting conditioning back to close to where it was. The result will be me being the strongest I've ever been while simultaneously being in the best condition.

    When I was trying to make strength gains and conditioning gains simultaneously, my gains were MUCH slower. I'd strongly recommend training in blocks.
     
  10. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    For a beginner, is this still suitable? I have trained MT 14 years, but only strength trained (properly) for 5-6 months. I have had a time where my focus was weights, and put on 14kgs since March.

    Being that I am a beginner if I were to revert back to focusing on conditioning and skills (MT, boxing, BJJ etc) would it be in a sense 'too soon', and cause me to lose what little strength I have begun to develop?

    I guess the question is, if you've trained strength longer, are you less likely to lose it as your body is accustomed to it and has I guess 'solidified' it, for a logner period of time?
     
  11. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    In my experience, I lose strength much faster than conditioning. I also think gaining strength back is much harder than returning to strong conditioning levels. Furthermore, I feel that conditioning will only slightly decline during a strength block provided that it's not a ridiculously long strength block.

    Sorry for the ramble, but as for your question, I think a beginner can actually gain strength during a conditioning block. Like I said, I still lifted. I would basically be spending 75% of my total training time to conditioning and 25% to strength in the condtioning block. If you have not fully made "noob gains", there is no reason you can't make gains in strength while mainly focusing on conditioning. When you are at more of an intermediate/advanced level, it will be very hard to even maintain strength with such little focus and little rest time on strength. Obviously the gains a beginner makes while focusing on conditioning will be MUCH less than if they just focused on strength and also less than if they did a 50/50 split with S+C.

    That's a very generic answer and it's just my opinion. There are so many factors that it's hard to really say.
     
  12. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    Just out of interest, what does 25% look like? 2 days per week I am assuming? (for some it could even be 3.....) You'd never stoop to just 1 per week I guess?

    Can you gain much lean muscle with a 2 day split like the FAQ or SS run two sessions a week?
     
  13. Oblivian

    Oblivian Aging Platinum Member

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    Here would be a sample week of what I was doing. In this, I would be lifting 3 times a week, but short sessions:

    Monday
    Day off

    Tuesday
    Lifting (total lifting time was 45 minutes)
    Later in night = Burpees + Stretching (30 minutes total)

    Wednesday
    LSD Run (45 minutes)

    Thursday
    Lifting (total lifting time was 45 minutes)
    Later in night = Bas Rutten Cd's + Stretching (45 minutes total)

    Friday
    Heavy Bag Work + Burpees + Stretching (hour total)

    Saturday
    Lifting (45 minutes total)
    Afternoon/Night: Timed Run + Stretching (45 minutes)

    Sunday
    Morning: Conditioning Challenge (30 minutes)
    Afternoon/Night: LSD Run (45 minutes)

    So if you total that up, I spend 2 hours 15 minutes lifting and 5 hours on conditioning. So I guess that's more around 30% conditioning.

    Again, this would be a conditioning block, so putting on lean mass would not be a concern during this block. In this block, you could very well lose weight. Like I said, it's hard to maintain strength doing something like this, but if it's someone who hasn't made newb gains, I could see them hitting PR's.

    Honestly, there are way too many factors. For a beginner, the best thing is to keep it simple IMO. It really depends on what you are training for and where your beginning numbers are. I honestly feel that anyone that has a training goal that isn't simple such as "gain strength + mass" or "lose weight and improve conditioning" needs to figure it out by trial and error. Gaining strength and conditioning at the same time depends on a lot of factors so it's obviously different for everyone.
     
  14. Nosweat

    Nosweat Blue Belt

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    I still struggle with this.

    The best results I've had were from doing 6 week periods of lifting heavy twice a week, and I really did suffer if I did MT next day, but still got results.

    Then I'd switch to doing 6 week periods of high rep, low weight, lifting circuits (rapid, explosive movements) which was pretty effective at maintaining the muscle from the heavy lifting period while boosting conditioning. I also found I didn't need as much recovery after these sessions so the MT didn't hurt so bad next day.

    I felt like I kept making progress on all fronts this way.

    Periodisation is a tricky thing though, worth paying for some pro advice if you can.
     
  15. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    If he is a beginner at lifting and if his program is adjusted to fit his work capacity (i.e. his body is able to recover / he doesn't overtrain), then yes.
     
  16. LZD

    LZD Purple Belt

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    This seems like an appropriate place to ask. With the 2 day split in the FAQ, would you do sets across or ramping? Or some sort of alternating pattern?
     
  17. c0r1nth14n

    c0r1nth14n Blue Belt

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    Thanks to everyone for the advice, it's been very helpful!
     
  18. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

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    It's not set in stone, but here is a point of reference for you:

    If you are a complete beginner, start with a 5x5 sets across. Pick a low starting weight, focus on refining your technique with every rep. Increase the weight linearly by small increments, start with short breaks, increase them as the sets get more challenging. When you reach a plateau or when you feel the volume is just too much switch to a 3x5 sets across and keep on with linear progression. When you reach a plateau on that do a couple of deloads (check out starting strength wiki for info on how to do them properly), and when you stop having gains switch to 3-5x5 ramping or to 3x3 sets across or to a new routine.
     
  19. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

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    In addition to what miaou said, you could use the wendler 5/3/1, the christy 5/3/1, timed total tonnage, EDT, GVT (if hypertrophy was the main goal), some sort of simple wave loading using prilepin's table. And so on.
     
  20. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

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    ...does this mean that you will sleep better if you watch porn immediately before bed? Or do you mean that if you are going to watch it to do it earlier in the day?
     

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