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Creative Conditioning Circuits: Part 2

Creative Conditioning Circuits: Part 2

By Sarah Rippel

Author of “Home Program Design Mastery,” “The Ultimate Group Training System,” “Build ‘N Burn 2.0,” & “Build ‘N Burn


In Part 1  I detailed three strategies that you can put to use right now in designing more creative conditioning workouts! Here are three more strategies to keep your clients on their toes!


A great way to spice things up is to incorporate an opportunity for people to push as hard as they feel on a specific exercise in a circuit. This can be done via “+ sets,”/AMReps for traditional exercises, max distance for carries, & max duration for static holds. 


I recommend choosing one exercise to use this strategy with, but you could definitely go with two or more depending on your situation! I prefer one exercise because it enables people to apply a max-effort focus on that one thing. A little of this goes a long way!


With a “+ set” you will give a suggested minimum rep goal along with the “+” designation. People who want to push past the minimum requirement can crank it up, while those who don’t feel like it can dial it back.


With an AMReps set you will basically give people the opportunity to do as many reps as possible for a given exercise.


The max distance and max duration strategies are pretty straightforward – carry something as far as you can or hold an isometric position as long as you can!


To keep things running smoothly, you could set a designated load for an exercise that is to be done for max reps. In other words, you don’t want someone who can knock out sets of 10+ reps of kettlebell swings with a 32kg picking up an 8kg bell and attempting to do an AMReps set. That would just be silly! They would have to swing that kettlebell alllllllllllll day before they would “max out!” ? 


Furthermore, you don’t want someone who can hold a plank for longer than a minute doing a max hold on a plank because they would need to be doing a more challenging variation. I don’t see any reason why anyone would need to hold a plank longer than a minute in the first place, but also, how freakin’ boring does that sound?!


As always, recommend specific loading and/or variations that are appropriate for the individual!


This strategy can be used for all of the rounds of a circuit, or you can just incorporate it on the final round. It’s up to you!


Here are a few examples:


Circuit #1: Incorporating a “+ Set”


x 5 Rounds @ Sustainable Pace:

  1. Box Jump x 3
  2. Back Squat @80% of 1RM x 5 reps for Rounds 1-4, then 5+ reps for Round 5
  3. Ring Alternating Archer Row x 10 total
  4. Hanging Tuck Sit x 15-20sec
  5. Rest 30sec


Circuit #2: Incorporating AMReps Sets


x 3 Rounds:

  1. Burpee x Max Reps in 1min
  2. Rest 20-30sec
  3. Heavy Slam Ball Bear Hug Carry x 30yds (unbroken)
  4. Bear Crawl x 30yds (stand up every 10yds)
  5. Rest Walk x 1min


Circuit #3: Incorporating Max Hold Sets


Alternating EMOM x 3-5 Rounds

  1. Row x 125m/100m
  2. Wall Handstand x Max Hold (up to 45sec)
  3. DB Alternating Muscle Snatch x 12-16 total


It is easy to throw in a little creativity when you have a solid understanding of the principles involved in designing effective conditioning workouts! 


As I stated earlier, several of the strategies I have outlined in both  Part 1  and Part 2 of this series can be combined into a single workout. As always, use your best judgment, remember to keep your client’s level of ability and goals at the forefront of your programming, and always have options for modifying the exercises!


Until next time, have fun programming conditioning circuits that keep your clients challenged and engaged!



Check out top level programming by Sarah Rippel :


Home Program Design Mastery plus Done for You programs,templates and more!














The Ultimate Small Group Training System”  The most Comprehensive Guide to Semi-Private and Small Group Training for Fit Pros.












Build N’ Burn  – Done For YOU 16 Wk Metabolic Group Training Program for Fit Pros















Check out The Done-for-You 12 week Build ‘N Burn 2.0 for Fit Pros:
















Other articles by Sarah Rippel:

New Creative Conditioning Circuits Part 1

How To Progress Conditioning Workouts: Part 3

Strongman Cardio 

Mechanical Drop Sets: Programming Ideas

KISS Principle for Group Training+(3x3x3 Circuit Workout)

Deceptively Devious Conditioning Circuit

The Smart Program Design Series: Incorporating Variety & Making Progression Seamless Part 5 – Selecting Exercises for Conditioning Work

SGT Workout Breakdown- Program 4  Part 1

The Conditioning Based Warm-Up: 10 Minute EMOM

SGT Workout Breakdown Program 4 – Part 2

Metabolic Circuit Revamp V1.0

Unconventional Cardio: Strongman Conditioning Circuits

Density Training for Metabolic Conditioning & Strength Work

Using Cluster Sets To Spice Up Strength Programming

4 Wall Ball Conditioning Workouts+4 Tips to Improve Wall Ball Technique(Videos)

Using a Tempo Focus with Build ‘N Burn Workouts

Speed Ladder + Static Core Continuous 30-Second Circuit Version 2.0

Alternating EMOMs for Small Group Training

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