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I'm currently following a full body program that is helping me build muscle at a satisfactory rate. However a friend convinced me to join him and try the "300" workout, which is a circuit program with lots and lots of reps. I felt completely floored after that stuff, and noticed that my muscle endurance was much worse than his.

My current routine, which I run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mostly consists of heavy lifts and few reps:

Squats, Deadlifts, Dumbbell bench press, wide grip rows, shoulder press, pull ups, dips (with added weight), dumbbell bicep curls, clean and press and narrow grip row.

All exercises are 4 reps, 3 sets, 30 sec break between sets, and done in this sequence. Not circuit style.

Since I am very satisfied with this program, I don't want to cut it. I want to know how or if I could supplement it with workouts to work on my muscle endurance without getting overtrained. Thanks!

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What is your goal? –  Dave Liepmann Feb 27 '13 at 0:03
1  
As I understand it, improve muscle endurance without leaving out the benefits and progress provided by the routine L1meta uses currently. We will need to know your exact routine tho, L1meta. –  K.L. Feb 27 '13 at 7:30
    
Correct K.L :) Current routine is Squats, Deadlifts, Dumbbell bench press, wide grip rows, shoulder press, pull ups, dips (with added weight), dumbbell bicep curls, clean and press and narrow grip row. All exercises are 4 reps, 3 sets, 30 sec break between sets, and done in this sequence. Not circuit style. –  L1meta Feb 27 '13 at 13:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Strength train and add conditioning

Depending on how strong you are and how heavy the strength-endurance exercises are, the best option for improving your strength-endurance may be to continue getting strong while doing some token conditioning work. This might mean sprints, barbell complexes, Prowler pushes or whatever on off-days or at the end of the workout. If your recovery suffers by adding this extra work, you may need to subtract some work from your lifting routine, for instance, by separating your lifting into A and B days. One random stab at that kind of set-up could be:

A Day: Squats, Dumbbell bench press, wide grip rows, dips (with added weight), clean and press, 10 minute barbell complex without rest

Deadlifts, shoulder press, pull ups, dumbbell bicep curls, narrow grip row, maximum number of kettlebell snatches or clean-and-jerks or swings in 10 minutes

If you consider yourself strong, then adding some conditioning is called for at the end of every workout. If you still have a ways to go before considering yourself strong, then maybe you should add one conditioning exercise per week.

Reduce strength training in favor of extensive conditioning

Conditioning is highly activity-specific. If you want to be good at the 300 workout, do the 300 workout. If you want to be a good runner, then run; to be good at swimming, swim, and so on. Maintaining a variety of conditioning exercises, such as is done in Max Effort Black Box type programs, is a good way to get good at strength-endurance across a broad spectrum of possible tasks. This would involve a more dramatic reduction in the amount of strength-specific work, however, since these programs are generally geared towards someone with an acceptable level of strength. They are often programmed with only a single strength movement for each workout, followed by conditioning/strength-endurance work.

Set clear goals

It's important to be clear with yourself about the short list of things you want to improve with your current program. Trying a new workout and getting a novice's exhaustion from it does not necessarily mean you have to add it to your routine--it just means that there are many areas of physicality, most of us can't do all of them well at the same time, and strength-endurance or conditioning workouts are specifically designed to make anyone tired. If you chase every workout program that makes you tired, you'll be unable to make progress.

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Thanks! This makes sense :) –  L1meta Feb 27 '13 at 23:09

This all depends on your goals. You're feeling weak from your trial of the 300 workout which is really more conditioning than strength. Granted you have to be able to lift at a certain level to get some of the moves, but if your goal is more strength orientated than your focus is fine. Check out Mark Rippetoe's piece on conditioning: http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/conditioning_is_a_sham

In summary: Conditioning is good and healthy and should definitely be done, but without the proper strength you wouldn't of gotten very far in the workout anyways.

300 workout is fun so if you're planning on beating your friend maybe start training those items in pieces. HIIT style or something similar. But if that isn't your goal simply want to add some conditioning than try removing some rest in between sets in your current routine.

I don't believe BCAAs alone will improve your conditioning as one post mentions.

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