What I’m Doing Instead of Stupid Cardio

Viking Warrior ConditioningIt’s snowing here in Toronto, which isn’t a rarity for mid-April, but when you experience 65-degree weather for a few days and it drops again like this….well, let’s just say that mother nature has a sick sense of humor.

This past weekend we drove about an hour outside of the city for the Provincial Volleyball Championships for my daughter’s 13U team (which I coach).  It was a 3-day affair where the kids got to stay in a hotel and hang out with their teammates.  If you’ve ever been a member of a “travel team” (we call them “rep” or “club” teams here in Canada), then you’ll know the experience.  For a lot of the kids, it was their first time away with a team.

Anyway, by the 2nd night I had contracted a brutal stomach flu from Q (my son) that hit me like a ton of bricks.  After our last match on Saturday, while walking to the car to put away the cooler, I couldn’t hold it in, so I got sick on the tire of someone’s BMW in the parking lot – sorry if it was yours.

By the time Sunday rolled around, the flu had passed on to 3 other players AND their parents.

This morning I received 3 more phone calls that it had spread to 2 more.


The girls finished 9th out of 38 teams despite missing one of our best players and 2 other key contributors.  It’s too bad that this weekend won’t be remembered by a top 10 finish, but by how much time everyone spent in the bathroom.

Today, I’m still only about 75% which sucks because I wanted to start a new 4 week program that I’m going to have to put off for a few days until I’m comfortable eating food again.

With summer rolling around really soon I’m trying to focus on maintaining some of the hard-earned muscle I gained over the winter – I’m up to 172lbs (from 157lbs in October)  and still maintained a 31” waist.

The goal of my upcoming program then, is to try to get my conditioning up, to try to increase my vertical jump and to still maintain my strength.

As a result, I’m going to be doing a combination of Master RKC Kenneth Jay’s Viking Warrior Conditioning Program AND I am going to “sandwich in-between” a trap bar deadlift session.

What that means is that I will be on a 3-day per week  program – which works better for me than a 4-day per week program based on my sleep schedule (or lack thereof) and for how busy my life is.

On Day 1 and 3 I’ll warm-up with a combination of light get-ups, swings and squats and for the main workout I will be doing some core kettlebell and bodyweight exercises – just sticking to KB military presses, chin-ups and pistols.  After performing a superset of core exercises, I’ll hit the 15:15 protocol of VWC.

On Day 2 I’ll warm-up with some band pulls, dislocations and glute-ham raises and then will be doing trap bar deadlifts as my main exercise and will do a superset of Get-Ups and some type of rowing exercise to finish.  No conditioning on Day 2.

I picked up Viking Warrior Conditioning at my RKC weekend in Orlando after listing to Dan John talk about overspeed eccentrics and how effective they were for almost instantly increasing vertical jump.

And since I’ve been obsessed with jumping high since I was 13 years old, I thought that this would be a great book to read and add to my library.  I read the book in an afternoon and was immediately intrigued by the concept of doing high-rep snatches with a 16kg kettlebell.

At first I was skeptical about the weight being so light, but after my first session, I was convinced.

It’s all in the overspeed eccentric, which is simply the “throwing down” of the kettlebell faster than gravity would do on its own during the downswing of the snatch.

To quote VWC…

The mechanics to achieve this come from quickly contracting your latissimus dorsi (the lat) and explosively pushing back your hips.  Think of the hip motion as punching with your butt.  Doing this will result in out-running gravity, thereby increasing the force generated with a rapid pre-stretch of the hip extensor muscles.  Doing so will also ensure proper spinal stabilization, which is necessary to avoid doing a faceplate.  If the midsection stabilizers are not firing, then outrunning gravity will not be possible without falling over.

So the greater stretch reflex creates more force generated by your glutes and hamstrings in the next rep.  It also forces your hip flexors to relax a bit more, which is great if you sit at a desk all day.

In the end, more force generated by your hamstrings and glutes (which are the primary jumping muscles) translates to a stronger contraction when you powerfully extend your hips – like when you jump.

The best part is that the increased power is just a by-product of the enormous cardiovascular benefits that you’ll get doing the MVO2 program from VWC.  After all, the tag line of the book is “The Scientific Approach to Forging A Heart of Elastic Steel”.

After the next 4 weeks of doing VWC twice per week, I’ll up the frequency to 3 times to see how my body responds.

Anything to keep me from doing stupid cardio.

Chris Lopez, RKC

p.s. If you’re interested in checking out Viking Warrior Conditioning, you can check it out here…

=>Viking Warrior Conditioning: The Scientific Approach to Forging A Heart of Elastic Steel by Kenneth Jay, Master RKC


  • Reply April 18, 2011

    Mark Macknis


    I bought VWC several months ago. It is brutal. Thanks to your recommendation about using a nail file to sand away calluses, because this program will torch your hands.

    I will be using this program to get my body fat down. I recently donated blood and registered a BPM of 47. The nurse looked at me like I was a freak. I asked her is she ever heard of Kenneth Jay, which she didn’t.

    I am glad that I know who he is and what Viking Warrior Conditioning is all about.

  • Reply April 19, 2011

    Billy H

    Isn’t Jay no longer a RKC due a dispute with the powers that be?

  • Reply April 21, 2011


    Yes, Jay is not an RKC, not sure why though. VWC is a good program. I have done the entire 15:15 and 36:36 before. It rocks

  • Reply April 22, 2011


    “brutal” seems to be a word that comes up a lot in the same sentence as VWC!!

  • Reply July 7, 2011

    Joel P.

    Just ordered VWC. Will keep everyone posted on how I do.

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