How to Achieve the Conditioning of an Athlete

How to Achieve the Conditioning of an Athlete

Posted on 10. Sep, 2009 by in Exercise

This post was inspired by a book that I’m currently reading (and doing) entitled, “Viking Warrior Conditioning,” by Kenneth Jay, Master RKC. I stumbled upon this book during the Russian Kettlebell Certification (RKC) when we did one of the workouts from the book during day 2.

First, here is a little background:

While training for the RKC for several months, I haven’t really touched the treadmill, dumbbells, and barbells. During the week before the RKC, I decided to back off from my kettlebell training but I still wanted to do something to maintain my conditioning. So, the obvious choice for me was to do some HIITs on the treadmill.

I was prepared to only do my intervals for 30 seconds at 7.5 miles per hour (mph) because I’ve always had a hard time running very fast after not having done HIITs for awhile. In other words, I lose some of the conditioning that I gained from continously performing intervals after I stop doing them – which is to be expected. So, I went off to the gym, started my warm ups on the treadmill in preparation for the sprints to come. To my surprise, I was able to perform 6 intervals of 60 seconds at 8.5 mph! The other more surprising thing is, I wasn’t even exhausted at the end of the six intervals. I consider this occurence to be out of the ordinary since the fastest I’ve ever gone on a treadmill is 9.2 mph after performing HIITs continously for four weeks.

During ordinary circumstances, I would look like a fish out of water after 30 seconds of sprints and if I were on a continued diet of barbells, dumbbells, and sprints on the treadmill, I don’t think that I would’ve achieved this type of conditioning. At first, I didn’t really know what have caused this phenomena until Pavel talked about the “Kettlebell What the Hell Effect” during the second day of the RKC.

In preparation for the RKC, I had to be able to perform 100 repetitions of the snatch with a 12 kg kettlebell (KB). Of course, I didn’t start out performing 100 reps right off the bat. I had to start with snatching an 8 kg KB and move on to the 12 kg while working on increasing my repetitions. While I was practicing my snatches, something else was happening to my conditioning – I was developing the conditioning of an athelete.

Taking Your Conditioning to the Next Level

What? Me? An athlete?

I was never the sporty kind of person my whole life so I never considered myself to be an athlete – ever. But, what kettlebell has done was bring out the inner athlete in me by helping me in terms of conditioning. According to Kenneth, there are 3 basic factors that determine conditioning and these are: oxygen uptake, metabolite production ability, and metabolite tolerance ability. Oxygen uptake simply pertains to how efficient your body is at transporting and using oxygen. Metabolite production refers to how well your body’s lactic acid system can convert carbohydrates into Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) while metabolite tolerance has to do with how long your body is able to endure high levels of lactic acid which is the by-product of this system. In short, the more conditioned you are, the faster you are able to convert carbohydrates for energy and the longer you will be able to perform your workouts without much fatigue.

Inside the Viking Warrior Conditioning book, Kenneth has outlined the cadence* maximum VO2* (cMVO2) test which is basically the number of snatches that triggers the maximum amount of oxygen uptake on a whole body level. Then, he outlines 5 protocols that you can use to start with and progress towards.

The 15:15 MVO2 Protocol

Currently, I am doing the 15:15 MVO2 Protocol wherein I am doing 7 snatch repetitions (one set) with one hand for 15 seconds, rest 15 seconds, switch hands then, perform 7 more snatches with the other hand. I will repeat this cycle until I have completed 20 sets which is my starting point until I am able to do 80 sets. I plan to add 2 sets each time until I do the protocol until I reach the final number.

It is still to early to tell you about my results but I have no doubt in mind that doing this protocol as I planned will help take my conditioning to new heights due to my previous experience of simply practicing for the snatch test.

If you are interested in reading more about Kenneth’s protocols and his theories behind them, you can purchase the Viking Conditioning book at

*Cadence – number of snatches
* VO2 – amount of oxygen uptake on a whole-body level

Please feel free to comment or ask questions below. Thanks for stopping by!

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  • Heyy,

    Have you seen Coach Dos’s Cardio Strength Training book? I’ve read KJ’s book and while I do like elements of that book, CST might be a bit more accessible to the larger population.

    I also saw your YouTube vid on a KB complex. Here’s another take on KB complexes, CST style! via =)

  • admin

    Hey Leslie, thanks for dropping by. That KB complex looks good but you would need to have a RKC check your form. You’re almost there!