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Creative Conditioning Circuits

Creative Conditioning Circuits

By Sarah Rippel

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


One way you can get creative with conditioning workout design is by using blocks of time or segments within circuits to practice new skills. Even though I feel there’s a time and a place to learn and not have the focus on “going hard,” you can still implement new skills into conditioning. It’s best that reps are kept low and the loading is at a level that promotes quality reps.


So, say you just learned how to do a power clean, you could do a circuit like:


3-5 Rounds for Quality:

Row x 200m @ 500m pace

into x 3 sets:

3-Position Power Clean  x (1+1+1)

Ring Push-Up x 5 (or Front-Leaning Rest x 20-30sec)


Rest Walk 1:00

*The power clean complex gives the person the opportunity to pattern the power clean & spend time holding onto the bar. The ring push-up or front-leaning rest is a good exercise to pair with it because it’s a push, and the power clean is a hinge/pull.


Here is a similar circuit using a strongman log, which is a new “toy” I’ve been playing with:


3-5 Rounds for Quality:

Air Bike x 1 min @50-54RPM

into x 3 sets:

Log Clean & Press – start @ 55-65% of 1RM & build as needed x 2-3

Face Pull  x 15-20

*The loading can be increased with each set and then wave loaded throughout the rounds. In other words, you could start with the empty log (51#) which could be roughly 55% of 1RM for round 1 set 1, then add 5 lbs for the 2nd set, then add 5 more for the 3rd set, then repeat this loading strategy for the other rounds (51#, 55#, 61#)


Another way you can get creative is by laying out the “flow” of a circuit so that there are interesting transitions between exercises. An easy way to do this is to involve crawling variations to move from one station to the next.


x 3-5 Rounds @ Sustainable Pace:

Kettlebell Swing x 10-15

Bear Crawl  x 10yds

Kettlebell Double-Racked Squat x 5-10

Crab Walk  x 10yds

*The kettlebell is set up at one end of a 10yd distance, and the pair of KBs are set up at the other.


AMRAP x 8-10 Minutes:

*Bodyweight or weight vest

Air Squat x 10-15

Walking Lunge x 10yds

Burpee x 5

Reverse Walking Lunge x 10yds

*Air squats are at one end of the 10yd distance, and burpees are at the other!


Rest 2-5 minutes, then


AMRAP x 8-10 Minutes:

*Bodyweight or weight vest

Box Jump x 5

Horse Walk  x 10yds

Hand-Release Push-Up  x 5

Reverse Horse Walk x 10yds

*The box is at one end of the 10yd distance, and push-ups are at the other!


A third way that you can get creative with conditioning work is by using different loaded carry variations than the standard farmer, racked, and overhead carries! 


One way this can be done is by the use of in-place loaded marching ( This is a simple variation but don’t be fooled! It is a great way to get people to focus on alignment and quality of movement, as sloppy technique can be easily masked by traveling across the ground. In fact, you may find that people are more challenged by in-place marching than loaded carries.


Another option is to use patterns for the carries instead of the standard “walk in a straight line” way. Figure 8 carries are one example ( Another is to weave through the uprights of a rig, if you have one (


So there ya have it – a few ideas for injecting a little creativity into conditioning work! I feel it’s important to things fresh and interesting while not making things too complicated! As always, tailor your programming to suit the individual and meet them where they are with regard to their fitness level as well as skill sets! Keep having fun while helping your clients get results, and we’ll catch ya next time!





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:

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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