I have two goals: improve speed and vertical, and improve at my sport (ultimate).

It seems from my relatively untrained state, the biggest gains in speed and vertical will come from strength training, so I plan to do power lifting, and the Starting Strength programming schedule looks like a good starting point.

But, I also want to improve at my sport and expect practices to happen twice a week, with occasional weekend tournaments. I also will need to develop my cardiovascular endurance. These additional goals seem to conflict with the basic Starting Strength programming schedule, so I suspect I'll need to sacrifice the fastest possible strength gains for a more well-rounded program.

I have two ideas:

  1. Interleave lifting with practice and cardio
    • Dropping to 2 lifting days per week (vs the 3 prescribed in Starting Strength)
    • Scheduling lifting days on non-practice days
    • Adding a mid-length interval training run once per week on a non-running/non-lifting day
  2. Add practice and cardio to my lifting days
    • Just making sure my lifting days happen on the same days as my practices... do lifting before practice
    • On my third lifting day, do that mid-length interval training after the lifting.

Option 1 spaces things out more, but option 2 leaves days of full rest between exercise. Not sure what is more important.

What do you think? Does anyone have other ideas?

(Background: I'm 150 lbs, can only squat my body weight, 45 minute 10k.)

1 Answer 1


Tweaking the program to fit your goals is something everyone will need to do at some point. When tweaking the Starting Strength program, don't adjust the lifts that are in the A/B sessions; but doing it 2x/week instead of three is perfectly acceptable. I wouldn't go any lower than that for the program to do you any good. Of the two options you presented, option 1 seems more inline with your goals.

The biggest challenge to your programming is managing recovery. I do recommend adjusting your schedule so that you have one day of rest before the lifting day. That means you can have 3 skill/conditioning days and 2 lift days with 2 days off.

My experience with fitting in conditioning and starting strength had me doing my conditioning directly after lifting. I also had class 1 day a week for skill work, and it was on one of my rest days. As long as I had a full rest day before lifting I did OK with Starting Strength.

Currently, I've graduated from Starting Strength, and due to the obnoxious schedule of the fall/winter events I have to combine my lifting day and my class on the same day. This arrangement has me missing lifts because I'm exhausted by the end of my session. The next day I am fairly useless. I'm looking at some similar changes to my programming once I satisfy some initial goals I've set out for myself.

An example schedule that can work, and you can adjust to fit your reality is:

  • Monday: Starting Strength session A
  • Tuesday: Practice
  • Wednesday: Practice
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Starting Strength session B
  • Saturday: conditioning
  • Sunday: Rest

Another thing to consider is to drop lifting the week of your tournaments. This way you will have more energy to compete, and the strength you've built so far isn't going to leave you after one week. Slower gains is not bad--particularly if you aren't aiming to be a power lifter or an Olympic weightlifter.

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