Looking for some full-body moves to get the blood pumping? Mike Thurston’s conditioning workout is set up to make every muscle burn and push your strength and endurance to its limits.
You’ll probably need to head down to your local outdoor gym for this testing workout, but it’ll be totally worth it. That is, unless you have a spare tractor tyre and sledgehammer lying about!
We asked Personal Trainer, Joe Nixon to talk us through the moves so you can get the most out of every exercise.
The tyre slam is a diverse and highly customisable exercise that has stood the test of time. A truly ‘old school’ exercise, the tyre slam has seen something of a renaissance due to its low-cost and high impact trade off.
The exercise works the entire body across all three planes of movement and can be used to develop total body power, work capacity or as a form of cardio. Emphasis is placed on the rotational movement of the shoulder girdle and hips, with the core acting as a stabiliser. It’s no surprise that this movement has always been very popular with fighters.
1. Hold a long sledgehammer or steel mace in both hands. Keep your feet shoulder width and braced, with a slight bend in your knees.
2. Swing the hammer over one side of your body. Rotate your hips and shoulder naturally to use momentum and swing it overhead.
3. Keep the momentum going and slam it down onto the tyre. Steps 2 and 3 should be one fluid motion.
The tyre flip is another customisable exercise that works fantastically well to develop total body power, or as part of a conditioning circuit.
Those who struggle with Olympic lifts can get the same benefits by performing this exercise with a heavy tyre as hard as possible, whilst those looking for more HIIT type work can focus on getting the reps in and keeping the heart rate elevated. The lower back, glutes, hamstrings, quads and, of course, the core, get put under an incredible amount of stress.
1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and bend your knees to grab the tyre with a supinated grip (palms upwards).You should be in the deadlift position with your back straight.
2. ‘Leg press’ the floor as hard as possible to power the tyre up to your chest. Use the momentum to switch your grip to ‘catch’ the tire at the top, finishing with your hands prepared to push it away.
3. Push the tyre as hard as you can, pressing it away.
Prowler pulls into prowler push
These movements work together as a superset to provide another total body blitz. The ‘pull’ movement works the lats, biceps and rear delts in the upper body whilst the quads get the lions share of the lower body movement.
When moving to ‘push’, the emphasis transfers to the posterior chain; the hamstring, glutes, and lower back. The core gets a thorough workout the whole way through and — thanks to the whole-body emphasis — the heart and lungs get put to some serious work. An excellent form of conditioning.
How to – Prowler pull
1. Use a weighted prowler or sled with rope or chain handles. Take the slack out of the rope with outstretched arms and lean backwards in the direction you want to go. Keep your feet shoulder width and legs slightly bent.
2. Pull the sled back in a full body rowing movement. Readjust your feet to the start position, taking the slack out again.
How to – Prowler push
1. Grab the handles of the prowler or sled and keep your back roughly parallel to the floor, with your feet shoulder width and core engaged.
2. Push off with your feet and— using small steps — launching the prowler forward, keeping the back flat and core engaged throughout.
Shuttles should need no introduction, but it is incredible how many trainers don’t include them in their programmes. Shuttles can be used for speed development, power development, work capacity, fat loss and heart health. Best of all, they require nothing more than your own body. This means no equipment; no resistance and they consist only of entirely natural body movements.
1. Set up a starting point and another point around 20m away – you can play around with distances later depending on your abilities and goal (shorter for more explosive movements, longer for conditioning).
2. Sprint to the 20m point and back to the start line as fast as you can.
3. Immediately sprint again to the 20m point. This is one set.
Burpees onto box
Burpees are a hard–hitting bodyweight movement that provide endless possibilities for variety. They incorporate power development in the posterior chain and get the legs and lungs working hard to flush the lactic acid out of your system. In this variation, a lateral box jump has been added to provide an extra ballistic stimulus and increase overall difficulty.
1. Standing side-on to the box, perform a burpee by dropping down to the press up position with your hands on the floor and feet extended.
2. Bring both feet up to your chest so that you are in a crouching position.
3. From the crouching position, explode in one movement up-and-sidewards onto the box.
4. Bounce off the box,landing on two feet and repeat steps 1 – 3 from the other side.
Take home message
This brutal workout from Mike Thurston certainly isn’t for the faint of heart. There’s no doubt that these moves will challenge both your muscles and your mind as you push through the rounds.