How To Program For Your Conditioning

Putting it all together.  Now hopefully you have a better understanding of all the energy systems and why you should train all three.  But you still may have questions on when you train each energy system and how often.  If you have not read the previous articles about conditioning you can check them out here in the following links.

How To Improve Your Alactic System Conditioning

How To Improve Your Lactic System Conditioning

How to Improve Your Aerobic System Conditioning

Rugby Match Simulation Training


Every week train each energy system one day a week.  Do your aerobic work on your off day or the day after a rugby match as it will be good for recovery.  One day of the week you will do an alactic training session and another day you will do a lactic training session.  The anaerobic conditioning can be done the same day as strength training or on an off day.


Your aerobic sessions will typically last between 20 to 40 minutes.  Your anaerobic sessions will last between 10 to 30 minutes. As a reminder here are the guidelines for training each system.

Alactic system – highest power output, without oxygen, short duration lasting 5-15 sec

Lactic system –  high power output, without oxygen, moderate duration lasting 30 sec to 3 min

Aerobic system – lowest power output, with oxygen, long-duration lasting 3 min or greater  


If you notice I do not give you the work to rest ratios.  The reason for this is because everyone is different.  Just remember that the rest should always be longer than the work and not equal or less.  Depending on how long the rest is will greatly depend on the athlete.  They should be fully recovered or close to it before attempting the next work interval.  Remember the power output should be the same for each interval.  If for some reason the athlete cannot repeat and sustain the power output for each interval then rest is too short or the intensity is too high.


Here is an example of what a training week would like.  Once again I will use the sport of rugby as an example.

– Strength Training
– Alactic Training
10 x 50 meter sprints with 1 min rest

– Strength Training
– Rugby Practice

– Lactic Training
6 x 1:30 min on the rower with 4 min rest

– Strength Training
– Rugby Practice

– Rest Day (do some yoga or mobility work)

– Rugby Match

– Aerobic Training
30 min run


That would be a typical in-season training week for rugby.  Now if wanted you add in the match simulation training you would just replace one of the alactic or lactic training sessions with it.  For the match simulation conditioning, the training sessions will last between 10-30 minutes.


When it comes to making progressions in conditioning it’s best to use a linear method.  As long as you can keep hitting the same power output in the training session then keep adding another set.  Once you get 30 min total time including rest then go ahead and change up the distance or work time. If you go several training sessions without making progress then go ahead and change up the distance or work time.  Each person is different in how they progress there is no one right way to train. If something is not working after you have been doing it for a while then go ahead and change it up.


Start implementing conditioning training for all energy systems into your programming along with strength training and you will notice a vast improvement in your performance come game day.  


Enter your email and get access to more information about increasing your performance and becoming a better athlete.

Trackback from your site.