ted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment Optimal, Not Brutal: Conditioning for Fat Loss and Weight Class Management

Optimal, Not Brutal: Conditioning for Fat Loss and Weight Class Management

By Julia Ladewski

The off-season lifter usually takes one of two approaches:

Eat so much that they get fat, bloated and completely out of shape
Use that time to clean up their diet and drop some body fat

No matter the general approach, one thing is consistent for most lifters, no cardio! Most lifters all fear that they will forfeit their strength gains and or lack the energy to really give it their all for their strength sessions.

No matter which of the two general approaches above you tend to take, these conditioning tools are an excellent way to either keep from adding excess body fat, or to optimize your conditioning for strength sports.

The plan is to keep it short and sweet. The goal is to condition without compromising the absolute strength adaptation. In addition, we make it a double whammy by utilizing weak point training as well.

Conditioning Circuit #1

Prowler sprint 20 yards

20 Kettlebell swings

Prowler sprint 20 yards back

Cable pulldown abs x10

X-band walks x10 each way

REPEAT 4 times

(Prowler sprints can be exchanged for prowler walking if you don’t want to fry your legs too bad. Change the angle and the way you step to hit more quads, hamstrings or glutes)

Conditioning Circuit #2

Backward sled drag 30 yards

Forward sled drag 30 yards

Suitcase carry 30 yards, right arm

Suitcase carry 30 yards, left arm

30 Band Goodmornings

REPEAT 4 times

Conditioning Circuit #3

Kettlebell Swings x20

Med Ball Slams x20

Farmer’s walk x 20 yards and back

Prowler push (walk), low handle 20 yards

Prowler sprint, high handle 20 yards

REPEAT 4 times


Exchange some of the exercises to target your own weak points. They should be exercises that are not overly taxing, but ones you can still manage good work without much soreness to follow.

Hamstrings – leg curls, glute ham raises, single leg RDL, glute bridges, swings
Low back – back raises, Reverse Hypers, band goodmornings, swings
Quads – goblet squats, various lunges, TKE’s
Upper back – face pulls, rear flyes, band pull-aparts
Triceps – pushdowns, close grip pushups
Shoulders – front raises, side raises, various overhead presses
Core/abs – planks, leg raises, v-ups, Turkish get-ups, stability ball crunches and knee tucks, farmers walks, waiter carries


Julia Ladewski is a certified strength and conditioning coach, elite powerlifter, and national physique competitor. She is an online strength, fitness and nutrition coach, writer and speaker.


This is officially my first blog and I’m excited to share this new experience with AtLarge’s customers and fans!

First, let me tell you a little bit about me. I began competing in powerlifting 3 years ago (yea, still an amateur) with my best competition lifts being a 295 squat, 180 bench, and 305 deadlift. My numbers have been up and down over those 3 years, but never where I wanted them to be. For example, my ultimate goal was a 200 bench and I’ve only gotten a taste of 190. Powerlifting is definitely a self-rewarding sport, but can be a very frustrating one as well. My 190 bench was a 10 lb PR and I’m still complaining. What a meathead 🙂 .

I’d have to say that without my gym, Idolmaker Physique and Performance, none of my strength sports and iron game exploits would be possible. Idolmaker has helped to improve me as an individual, has presented me with many opportunities, and has even led me to the great people at the world famous Westside Barbell (whom I now consider to be family).

Yessica performing a Strongman medley

You saw the title of this blog, so you might be wondering why I haven’t mentioned Strongman yet? Powerlifting preceded Strongman, and I wanted to give a bit of my background prior to delving into my new strength sport of choice 🙂 .

You see, when a challenge presents itself, I’ve gotta take it! Randy Scoates, owner and head trainer of my aforementioned Idolmaker gym, runs a gym that is focused on exactly what he sells, physique and performance. That fact means we have a wide variety of members ranging from athletes doing strength and conditioning for their sport of choice, to competitive powerlifters, to competitive bodybuilders and beyond. Michael De La Pava is one of those athletes. He is a former Strongman competitor turned powerlifter. Michael also happens to own THE Strongman gym in Miami, The Battleaxe. He was the push that got me to give the sport of Strongman a try.

Yessica doing Strongman style squats

I remember watching Strongman on ESPN thinking, “Man, its pretty cool to say you can lift a freakin’ semi.” I may never be able to lift like Jouko Ahola, but I have always wanted to!

I was convinced, on short notice, to compete in my very first Strongman comp last year. The competition included a 110 lbs axle press, ATV deadlifts, truck pull, and Atlas/keg load. ALL of it was new to me! I loved it!

Yessica doing some upper back assistance work

Editor’s note: Yessica is a part of the new breed of women who clearly demonstrate that strength is beauty! If you are a woman and want to be the best version of you that you can be, watch this blog and do what Yessica does.

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Yessica cleans up nicely 🙂

For the next 10 weeks I will be sharing my training regimen, progress, and hopefully inspire you to do a competition yourself! Here’s a few movements we did this past week. I like to call it cardio, but it’s volume for the cool kids ( I mean…it’s more than 5 reps, bro).
Log cleans 3×5
1. 75 lbs
2. 75 lbs
3. 85 lbs
Axel strict 3×5
1. 65 lbs
2. 65 lbs
3. 75 (2) dropped down to 65 (4)
Bench 5×5
1. 95 lbs
2. 135 lbs
3. 135 lbs
4. 115 lbs
5. 115 lbs
1×20 – 135 lbs w/ slingshot
Deloaded to 115 for 5
Overhead DB presses 3×12
DB bench press 3×20
Reverse Hypers
Farmers walk 140 lbs
Axel press 115 lbs
Power stair 180-200 lbs
Circus DB 50 lbs
Squats (4×5) 205 lbs
Front Squats (2×12) 115 lbs
D-bell step ups (3×12/12) 25lbs
Sled pulls (4x100ft) 180 lbs
Ham curls (2×40) bands
Axel strict press (6×3)
1. 65 lbs
2. 75
3. 85
4. 90
5. 90
6. 90
Bench (2 board) 3×5
1. 135 lbs
2. 150
3. 170
1×20 no board
1. 105 lbs
Alt. D-bell z press (3×6/6)
Dips (3×10)
Skull crushers (3×15)
Band pull aparts (3×30)