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Hey, this is Latif Thomas of, and today I want to talk to you about what I think, and most successful experienced coaches will agree, is the most over-hyped, overly-used component of training athletes and training speed across the board.  And that is conditioning.  My goal in this video today honestly is to create somewhat of a paradigm shift in your mind in the way you think about conditioning and the way you use conditioning for your athletes.


And just so we can quickly understand condition because it has connotations and everyone uses it differently, we're going to call conditioning those repeat 200s and repeat 400s and even the suicides and the beasts and all the things I talked about in the speed video that aren't speed work, the things that you're using for conditioning.  Because ultimately what's happened is we've kind of combined speed work and conditioning.  What should be conditioning work or what true conditioning is I'm going to explain in a minute.  And we've kind of combined them as one thing and then neither of them are working the way they should.  So that's why athletes aren't as successful as they should be.

So conditioning is that sub maximal, that 65 to 85 percent intensity work that you're doing with your athletes, that aerobic work/aerobic mix/aerobic-anaerobic work.  That's what the conditioning work is.  That's what we have to take a look at.

So the paradigm shift I want you to make, what I want you to think about is this, conditioning – and we're talking about for speed and power athletes, athletes in your program where your goal is to make them faster – conditioning is not the foundation of training.  Conditioning is a supplement to your speed training.  The conditioning you do serves as recovery work to your speed training.  Its purpose is to help facilitate the ability to handle higher volumes of the speed and strength work that you're doing on your actual workout days.

The real workouts are the speed work.  The stuff that you're doing in the conditioning work supplements that, helps make that more effective.  And that's the change you have to make.  The conditioning stuff that you're doing is not the base of your training.  The speed work is.  You're doing things that are highly anaerobic activities, sports that are highly anaerobic, the training should be highly anaerobic just like the speed work is.  You shouldn't be doing a lot of aerobic stuff in sports that are not aerobic sports.

Now, yes, you have to still do those repeat 200s, yes, and the fartlets and all that stuff, yes, if you're a soccer coach and all that.  In those sports you need it.  But at the end of the day, athletes are still bursting in those sports like soccer and lacrosse and all those sports where there is an aerobic demand, of course, but athletes sprint short distances.

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So when you're not doing speed work and you just do a lot of conditioning type stuff and that's the foundation of your training, you have a very low glass ceiling.  Let's say this is the maximum speed that an athlete can attain and you're doing all this conditioning stuff.  Sure, you're going to get them in better shape and they're going to appear to get faster at the beginning.  But there's a very low glass ceiling which they can hit because their top speed, their ability to accelerate isn't getting any better.

But when you do the speed work and making your athletes faster and so that maximum goes up to here, right, then that conditioning work pushes the speed work to a higher level.  And so athletes can not only get in better shape, but they also get faster.  And that's how you have to structure your speed work and your conditioning work by focusing on using it to supplement your speed training.  It's a means to an end.  The end really is faster speed.  And that's how you have to focus and do it.  And so, yes, go do the other stuff but the truth is the way you're doing conditioning or the way most coaches are doing conditioning in most programs is poorly structured in a sense that the ultimate goal of what we're trying to do in any program is make athletes faster.

Well, I should say this: making athletes faster is the secondary goal of any program.  The primary goal of any training program you're putting together is injury prevention.  Injury prevention is your first goal.  Topic for another time.  But secondarily, making them faster.  And if you want your athletes to get faster and even that conditioning stuff, it has to be built into your speed work.

So what can you do for conditioning work?  What are some of the good things that you can do?  Now you don't really have a whole lot of time in practice every day.  You have your sport-specific skills or even if you're in more like track and field where training is the sport, you still got to get over the jumps.  You got athletes who got to hurdle, they got to triple, they got to high jump, they got to go through all their other things they have to do.  And so we have a finite amount of time to get things in.

So what I want to do is now show you a video clip of some of the things that I think is the best way to get the most bang for your buck for conditioning.  Running endless distances and volumes is not necessarily the only or best way to get conditioning in.  So these type of workouts I'm about to show you are great.  I love doing them.  They're highly effective because kids these days don't have the same work capacity and general strength that we had when we were young because we were outside playing all the time and doing unsupervised, unstructured play that made us better overall athletes.  And kids these days, everything they do is structured or they're sitting on their behinds playing video games, sitting on the computer.

So these are the kind of training I like to do with athletes to give them that general strength and that core strength, stabilizing strength and also conditioning.



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