Don't fancy running in the cold? I recommend doing this six-move conditioning workout instead

If dark mornings are getting in the way of a pre-work run, this six-exercise conditioning workout is a great alternative

Daniella Gray performing a conditioning workout in a gym
(Image credit: Future)

Since making the switch to a strength-focused routine, I’ve been craving an effective, quick-fire workout to set me up for the day. 

Don’t get me wrong, strength-training is intense—and I’ve started seeing results I never thought possible—but I still want to include some cardio-boosting sessions in my schedule.

Bar the occasional 5k on weekends, I’m not a fan of running, so I’ve been on the hunt for something else to get my heart pumping. Enter conditioning. 

Comprising compound movements that engage multiple muscle groups with a high repetition count, conditioning workouts tap into your aerobic energy system, helping to boost your cardiovascular fitness. 

How to do a conditioning workout

This workout reel—designed by the personal trainer Talilla Henchoz, who is also the founder of Club Five—is for people who want to improve their cardio fitness but don’t enjoy running or other endurance training.

There are six exercises: snatches (30 seconds on each side), jump lunges, squat and press, speed boxing, lunge and press (30 seconds on each side), and skaters.

The idea is to keep your heart rate steady and elevated, so Henchoz recommends doing 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds rest for five rounds or more. She also mentions using light to medium weights, so you can keep your repetitions of each movement high.

What happened when I tried the routine

I thought I was fit thanks to years of HIIT training, but conditioning is something else. With the addition of a dumbbell, my heart rate climbed quickly and stayed within the 165bpm range, helping me push into that anaerobic threshold and therefore strengthening my cardiovascular fitness. The alternating upper- and lower-body exercises helped me to sustain that intensity. 

I managed six rounds for a total of around 30 minutes, which is the perfect time for an efficient workout that gets my heart pumping—and I loved the fact that I didn't have to venture outside into the cold to do it. 

I’m used to lifting weights and am familiar with most of the moves in the workout. However, for someone who is new to this type of training, the fast pace and high reps may impact their technique, and potentially cause an injury. 

For this reason, I'd recommend doing the routine at a slower pace if you're a beginner. Or try something like this beginner bodyweight workout instead, which will help you get familiar with some strength-training basics.

Looking for your next set of weights? Our guide to the best adjustable dumbbells can help

Daniella Gray is an experienced health and wellbeing writer, and was an Editorial Assistant and Senior Content Writer at Health & Wellbeing magazine, where she got to explore her love of food and fitness. She holds a degree in Print Journalist from Nottingham Trent University and a NCTJ qualification.