Aerobic Work During the Strength Cycle

Some thoughts about the aerobic work coming up:

The Aerobic system is mucho importante

Watch this jobber: (you’ll have to click “watch on vimeo” because Vimeo sucks)


On top of its benefits, lower intensity work won’t interfere with the strength work if performed correctly and in the right amount. For example an aerobic circuit of light sled dragging, various carries, and jump rope will help us recover between sessions whereas doing 100 deadlifts and 100 Back Squats for time will hurt us between sessions.

It has to be low intensity

You can’t push this. The strength work is THE thing here, and if we get greedy because we want something just a little more intense we risk blowing it.  This work should help recovery between sessions, not hurt it. Remember we’re only trying to maintain aerobic capacity, not improve it.

When in doubt keep it easy.

Here’s a hint – it will always be a 6 or a 3:


6 and 3 yeah you know me

It’s a great opportunity to work on efficiency

A good challenge to face as you’re going through these pieces is to see how easy you can make each rep. Breathe, relax, clean up unnecessary tension and movement. This is typically not something we think about when it’s 321GOOOOOOWIIIINNNNNPUKKKKE, so now might be a good time.

It has to be mixed modal 

I’ll post suggested aerobic work, but in the end the only rule is “Use lots of movements in many combinations and maintain an aerobic pace.” This ensures that one part of the body doesn’t become too fatigued. For instance, 20 minutes of jogging is not as good as 20 minutes of airdyne, kettlebell swings, double-unders and air squats. We want to benefit the entire body while avoiding any interference with the strength worth.

A note about the movements: Try to stick with movements with minimal eccentric loading as that’s where most of the muscle damage occurs. The sled/prowler is AWESOME for this. Then the airdyne/assault bike, rowing if it doesn’t irritate your back. Farmer’s carries, db overhead carries, sandbag carries. Light kettlebell swings. Then easy bodyweight movements – pushups and air squats are good go to’s. Burpee can be good but be careful they don’t jack your heartrate through the roof.

You have to determine the effort

For example if you see something like this:

For ten minutes at 60% or a 6 RPE (rate of perceived exertion):
5 Air Squats
10 KBS 53/35
15 Cal Airdyne
25 Pushups

YOU have to be the one to figure out  what pace you need in order to keep things aerobic. You might have to scale the pace, you might have to scale the reps, etc. etc. but take ownership.

Most often this aerobic work will come in the following forms:

1) 3os on/30s off for 20-30 minutes
2) For 3 sets of 10 minutes, performing multiple different movements in each of the sets
3) 30-45 minutes continuous rotation between movements

This work can be performed immediately after the main strength work (that’s how it will be prescribed) but if you have to split it up, that’s just as good, too. Remember this is Zone 1 or Zone 2 aerobic mixed modal work, so you shouldn’t have to get a big warm-up in before you start.




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