What is Body Conditioning & Why Is It So Critical to Scale Your Results?
Getting into peak physical condition and enjoying all the benefits that come with it is a game-changer for a great life. But when some people hit the gym, they focus too much on one type of exercise or end up injuring themselves because they don’t scale their workouts properly.
To drastically improve your workout performance, endurance and functional ability, it’s critical to zoom in on body conditioning.
Let’s break down how you can practice body conditioning, and explore why using it to scale your workouts gets you the results you want:
Body Conditioning Explained
In a nutshell, "body conditioning" means developing your overall ability to handle moderately intense movements. It’s a top-down approach to fitness that changes the way your body behaves and reacts to your workouts, ultimately getting you the most bang for your buck.
Rather than simply focusing on making your muscles bulge, body conditioning ensures you’ll be stronger, more toned and fitter overall. While it sounds like a no-brainer, this big-picture strategy doesn’t get nearly enough airtime when people set out their fitness goals. However, if a strong focus on body conditioning is your basis, you’ll be perfectly primed for optimal gains.
Body conditioning involves three main types of exercise:
Flexibility conditioning involves targeted stretching and resistance exercises. Before you dismiss stretching as unimportant, remember this: Your max muscle load and overall endurance relies on warmed-up, lengthened muscle groups.
By building up the ability for supple movement in your musculoskeletal system, you’ll be able to workout for longer without fatigue. Plus, you’ll condition your body to be more resistant to certain types of damage and reduce the odds of injuring yourself during your workout.
Here, we’re talking cardio gains. The concept of conditioning is easy to grasp with this aerobic type, especially if you consider something like training for a marathon. Building up your cardiovascular conditioning is the basis for being able to keep going longer, harder and stronger during your workouts.
We’re all supposed to get 2-5 hours of moderate cardio per week as a baseline... But if you’re looking to level up, you’ll need to gradually increase your time and intensity. This is crucial for training your heart and vascular system to handle the extra strain, and kickstart your body’s fat-burning abilities.
Strength conditioning is key for muscle growth and your ability to keep lifting heavier weights for more reps. Shredded muscles are built by tearing the muscle fibers with weightlifting or bodyweight resistance training, then letting your body go to work repairing the damaged fibers. New, stronger muscle tissue is laid down in its place, and this gradual process must be respected to avoid serious injury.
Many workouts focus on the progressive overload principle, which takes you to the point of failure before a rest period… But before you get to the big guns, you’ve got to work your way up there by getting your muscles primed to lift more next time.
Scaling Your Workouts for Success
While it's important to understand the types of conditioning, you also need to know how to scale your exercises. "Scaling" just means either reducing or increasing the difficulty of an exercise or workout routine so it’s optimal for your current level of fitness.
Here's how to leverage the method:
Say that your routine tells you to do a pull-up, but you aren't able to do so because you lack the upper body strength (for now!). Instead of trying to do the pull-up anyway and possibly hurting yourself, you should scale the workout and do lifts or modified pull-up
On the flipside, if you’ve still got some gas left in the tank after your usual workout or set, it means your cardio, flexibility and strength conditioning is working. Consider this the time to increase your intensity, resistance, reps and duration so you can keep seeing improving results.
Your workout results will scale, too, when you look at them at the end of every week or month. This will allow you to truly determine how you’re progressing with your physical fitness, and get a better measure of when you need to increase your weights or reps, plus when you need to increase the challenge level of your workout routine.
Bringing it All Together
Body Conditioning combined with Exercise Scaling is the key to long-term, results-driven workouts. When you focus on body conditioning rather than bodybuilding, plus ensuring that you scale your exercises appropriately, you’ll work wonders to increase your physical fitness quickly.
Even better, you'll lower the likelihood of injuring yourself and having to skip the gym for some days or weeks.
As always, keep pushing your limits and challenging your grit, but be sure to respect where you're at. When all your components of body conditioning are in line, your workout results will become superhuman!
Thanks for reading,
Justin | MME Workout Contributor
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