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Conditioning Program – Week 3

In week three of the conditioning program, anaerobic threshold training is added to the list of methods used. This is an especially challenging and effective training method when utilized properly. Watch the video now to see exactly how it should be done.

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Anaerobic Threshold Training

Anaerobic threshold training has been a part of training programs used to improve endurance for centuries. Referred to by different names, the key principle in the method is simply to train within the range of your anaaerobic threhold.

Although research has revealed there is not really a “threshold” as a single heart rate, per se, as many used to believe, but rather a range of heart rates where lactate begins to accumulate at a more rapid rate because of a an increase contribution from anaerobic metabolism.

Make sure to watch the video to determine the most appropriate way to determine your threshold so that you can train in the right heart rate range. If you’re using the Polar RS100 or another heart rate monitor, you will want to set the heart rate limits to within your threshold range so that it will give you audio feedback when you’re outside the correct range.

Managing the Training Process

In this third week, it is normal to expect to see a bit higher level of fatigue, especially with the addition of the threshold method. If you’re using heart rate variability to monitor your training, then you should expect to see at least a moderate weekly HRV load.

If you don’t, then you should increase the volume. If you’re seeing a high weekly load at any point, then you should decrease the volume. By this point, it’s also perfectly normal to see increases in HRV on the day following training as the body works to recover autonomic balance.

Finding the right balance between load and recovery is absolutely essential to maximizing results. Make sure to follow the guidelines in the workout .pdf and manage the volume and intensity accordingly using BioForce HRV and whatever other metrics you may be using to measure fatigue and recovery.

Read the transcript of this video

Joel: Hi there. I'm Joel Jamieson.

Howie: And I'm Howie Clark.

Joel: And in this week's episode of 8WeeksOut TV we're going to give you week three of our free four weeks conditioning program.

All right. So in the first couple weeks of the conditioning program we've used the Cardiac Output Method, we've used tempo intervals. What's the other one?

Howie: High resistance intervals.

Joel: High resistance intervals. So we've used those three methods to really build the foundation for conditioning. And the question is now, what's next? You've got to figure out a way to increase the load so the body keeps adapting and that's what we're going to be talking about this week. We're going to throw in one of Howie's favorite methods, the Threshold Method, so let's check that out.

All right. So the Threshold Method, as you can see Howie on the bike doing it now, is really about maintaining your power output in the range of your anaerobic threshold. Now to get your anaerobic threshold, there's a few different ways you can do it. The most accurate way is to do gas exchange, which you can do in a testing lab. If you don't have access to doing it that way, you're going to want to find it just by using the average heart rate of the 12 minute assessment you did in the beginning of the program.

And again, you want to make sure that that is position specific. So if you used a standing measure for 12 minutes, you want to use the heart rate doing standing activities. If you used a seated activity, you want to use a heart rate seated. And you don't have to do both. You can basically subtract five to ten beats per minute when you're seated or laying down, swimming or whatever, than when you are standing up.

But really the key is you just want to maintain that constant power output throughout and you want to be in that threshold range. So the idea of the anaerobic threshold being an actual number is false. It's really a range. It's hard to give you an exact number to go on.

You can also use the HRV score from Bioforce just as a real rough gauge. Again, it's a rough estimate, but if your HRV score is in the 80s, you're probably going to want to go in the 170 range, low to mid 170's. If your HRC score is in the 170's or below, you're probably going to be more like in the 160's, maybe even the 150's. If your HRV is up in the 90's or 100, then you can probably be in the upper 170's and maybe even low 180's

But really you want to find this pace and you're going to maintain it for three to five minutes for the purposes of this method, and we're going to do multiple rounds, so you're going to rest, for this purpose, two to three minutes. Then you're going to repeat that. You should feel tired.

The Threshold Method is fatiguing. You are going to start to feel fatigues towards the end of it. It's not going to feel easy and you really you can just kind of go by the pass that you can maintain for those three to five minutes throughout.

And the other thing is we really want to track how far you go, because one of the things you want to measure, which is a big improvement sign in your conditioning, is how far you're able to go, which is how much power you're generating and your lactic acid threshold. So the bike is a great one, because we can track exactly how much distance you covered over the course of the intervals.

Of course, you can run and measure it there, or rowing, or whatever the activity is, you want to have some gauge of how far you're going and we also want to look at how well you're maintaining that power over each interval. So one of the biggest things that we see to indicate that you're conditioning is improving is if we see you're able to go further over the course of the coming weeks, and/or if you're able to maintain that power as you repeat.

So if he's not loosing much between his first interval and his third or fourth, obviously that is a sign that his conditioning has improved because it tells you he's generating more of his power aerobically, which we covered last week in the anaerobic power reserve video.

But really, whatever exercise you want to do, you can mix it up. The bike is a great one because it's a low impact and you can measure how far you're going. The Kaiser bike, of course, gives you your heart rate readout from the [polar] stuff. Really, whatever exercise you want to do.

How long has that been?

Howie: About three minutes.

Joel: Okay. Keep going a couple more minutes. Really, whatever exercise you want to do, like I said, for three to five minutes, and we'll talk more about that and how to put that in the program coming up next.

All right. So that's the threshold method and, again, you really want to use the right range based on what position you're in. So if you're seated, your heart rate is probably going to be five to ten beats lower that if you're standing. And you can do anything from biking, running, swimming, sport specific work. You can do combat sports drilling and really a variety of stuff. Howie, what are your favorite things to do with threshold?

Howie: I enjoy running personally. It's sounds a little more intimidating than it is, but once you get up there and you find your threshold, and you're able to maintain your heart rate, you will definitely see your anaerobic threshold increase. And you're able to work.

Joel: More importantly is how much power you're generating at that threshold. That's a big part of what conditioning is. The more power you can generate at that anaerobic threshold, the more power you're going to be able to maintain, you're conditioning is higher.

Howie: Yeah. I mean it's a nice addition to the previous two weeks and I think people will definitely be seeing gains by now.

Joel: Absolutely.

Howie: Yeah. It's that constant progression, like we talk about.

Joel: Absolutely. And make sure you should be receiving the details of this program in your email, as long as you've entered that in. And we're going to just kind of summarize. If your HRV is above 80 and your resting heart rate is below 60, you're going to do Threshold Method twice a week. You're going to cut back basically eliminate the cardiac output method you've been doing.

On the other hand, if your HRV is below that and your heart rate is above 60, we're going to go ahead and keep one of those cardiac output method days in there and we're just going to do one day of threshold. Because again, you really want to tailor what you've been doing, what you need to be doing to your ability.

And if your HRV is low or your heart rate is high, it really just tells us your work capacity is not as great and we don't want to just throw as much load as we can on you because in the long run you're more likely to over train and you're less likely to continually improve.

Howie: Less is more.

Joel: Sometimes less is more. So again, we'll see you guys next week with the final week of the four-week program and feel free to email us with any questions and we'll see you again next week.

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14 Responses to Conditioning Program – Week 3

  1. JamesDean57 says:

    Thank you Joel I really appreciate this.

  2. JamesDean57 says:

    I forgot to ask, Do you still use a heart rate of 130-150 for an older athlete, I’m 57.

  3. eboyd says:

    Hey Joel, I noticed you have multiple days involving 2 workouts per day. Any recommendations as to how far to space these multiple workouts from each other? Thanks.

  4. pro killer says:

    Hi Joel

    Again thank you for this program and I am loving the 8weeks out TV segments, it’s nice to see you working Howie!!

    I’d just also like to know about when you have ,multiple sessions listed in the program the spacing of them. E.g. When I had Cardiac Output and HRI on the same day I did the 40 mins of cardiac output and then basically 1 minute break, then 20 sets of HRI with 55 seconds rest between the 5 second burst. Is this ok or should it be an AM PM training split as it would be difficult for me to fit everything in like this with MMA also.

    I second question I have is my RHR is 54 BPM and my HRV score is 89-90 so could you please give me an estimated anaerobic threshold range if I were to do it on a bike?!

    Thanks Alot!!


    • Joel Jamieson says:

      If you can do a break between the two sessions that would work best, but if not I’d just allow for as much time as you can between the two training methods.

  5. Mr.natural76 says:

    Hi Joel,

    I have some practical questions about executing this on a treadmill. I was aiming for a HR of 150BPM (I am 55 yrs old). I put the treadmill on 3 degree incline and cranked it up to 9.5. My HR got to 150 in about 1 min 15 sec. But then I had trouble keeping the HR around 150. it rode up to 162 even though i kept lowering the speed. So I was over 150BPM for three mins, but it was all over the place as was the speed. Does that matter?

    I am also wondering if tracking the distance makes any sense as I don’t think my speed will ever be the same from one session to the next.

    Any suggestions here?

    Thanks Joel & Howie.


    • Joel Jamieson says:

      You’ll find that the more you do them, the more consistent your HR will become at different speeds. Based on what you’re saying, I’d probably try a speed of about 9.0mph for the duration and that should be about right

  6. evariation says:

    you guys are talking about cardiac output heart ranges 130-150 this method is threshold training…

    but I have a question… Joel when you do your threshold rounds, do you wait for the heart rate to reach anaerobic threshold first (could take 5 minutes) and then go for 5 minutes in that range? that’s how I’ve been doing them all along… or do you just go at anaerobic threshold pace for 5 minutes period?

  7. Joel Jamieson says:

    if it’s taking 5 minutes to get your HR to that pace then you’re not going hard enough. It shouldn’t take more than a minute or two for the first round to get it up there and then after that it should take less than a minute so if it’s taking longer than that, go harder

  8. says:

    Hi Joel, Where do i fit in my strenght training? Thanks Adri

  9. backlash79 says:

    Thanks for putting this out there in the last 3.5 weeks I have dropped my RHR from 60 to 50.

    I am still not quite understanding the Anaerobic Threshold Training, I saw your advice to other people about slowing down and keeping their HR in the range, I should be in the low to mid 170’s. However this morning I was doing a 7:30/mile pace on the treadmill and my HR started creeping into the low 180’s. So on the next round I dropped my speed to 7:41/mile pace and my HR just kept creeping up into the mid 180’s, so the next round i dropped it again to a 7:53/mile pace and only then was I able to keep my HR below 180. To really keep in the low to mid 170’s I would have to be running at a fairly slow pace of 8:00+/mile pace. I know that I shouldn’t be maxing my HR either. Any words of wisdom here?


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