3 Functional Conditioning Drills for Superior Fitness

By Brandon Richey

Are you looking for a conditioning program to elevate your performance?

Is your current conditioning program functional in its design?

Does your conditioning program help you in terms of speeding up your recovery?

Does your conditioning program prepare you for the unexpected?

Does your conditioning program improve your speed, agility, and reaction time?

Do you feel like your current training program prepares you for what you want and need to do in your daily routine?

When looking at conditioning your body, there are a few variables to consider. For one does your conditioning program help to improve your overall fitness for life? Being human our physical makeup is designed in such a way that we are built for performing intervals of work followed by intervals of recovery. The process by which we can do this efficiently determines our fitness.

In today’s article,I want to focus in on how you can go about acquiring a high level of functional conditioning. In short, this means I want to cover some drills here to help you in the process of developing the type of conditioning to elevate your performance for fitness, life, and sport. These movements are tested and are tried and true for helping you to build a lean athletic body that can be conditioned for most anything in life.

Agility Ladder Lateral High Knee Runs

The agility ladder is an awesome tool because you really don’t need a lot of space in order to use it. In fact, if you have some flat open floor (or open ground) then you can quickly and easily apply some agility ladder drills to your day’s training.

The lateral high knee runs on the agility ladder enable you to adequately perform some sprint conditioning in a relatively small space. Additionally the ladder serves as a marker to help you to optimize your sprinting technique.

By using the squares of the ladder you automatically have a marker and know where your foot should strike the ground when it comes to executing the drill. This will assist and enable you to develop a pattern so that you can hone your technique involving the execution of the drill.

The lateral high knee runs can be performed by starting out with your body positioned so that you have to perform the lateral run either advancing to your left or to your right. It doesn’t matter which direction you start because you’re going to execute a run in both directions.

To begin the drill stand and lift the lead in leg up with your thigh parallel to the ground. Offset your arms so that when you lead in with the lead foot your arms will move in a natural motion to offset your elbow and knee drive in a proper sprint, or running gait.

To simplify this if you’re advancing to your left then stand next to the first square of the ladder with your left leg elevated and your right arm forward. From here when you drop your left foot into the first square of the ladder your right knee will then lift and your left arm should move into the forward position.

Continue the lateral high knee runs with speed and precision until you reach the end of the ladder. Once you reach the end take a couple of breaths and run back in the opposite direction. Once you have ran to each end then you have completed a repetition.


Perform 5 sprint runs of this drill on your functional conditioning days.

Knee Tuck Jumps

These are a tremendous drill for helping you to develop significant leg power. Knee tuck jumps can also be performed just about anywhere you can find a flat surface. There is no equipment needed to pull these off.

Knee tuck jumps are a mid to high intensity plyometric drill which is designed to help you develop speed and power with your legs. In addition to this the knee tuck jumps are one hell of a conditioning drill in terms of your anaerobic work. These will get your heart pumping in a hurry.

Begin knee tuck jumps by standing with our feet at hip width distance apart. From here jump and pull your knees up towards your stomach and chest tucking the knees while in mid air.

Once you tuck the knees in the middle of the jump extend your legs so that your feet hit the ground softly setting your legs up to recoil and perform a subsequent jump. Continue the jumps in rapid succession until you complete the designated number of repetitions.


For intermediate to advanced athletes perform 3 to 5 sets of 6 to 10 reps on your leg power training days.

Glide Disc Speed Mountain Climbers

This drill presents a unique set of challenges. If you’ve used glide discs before then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

You can either use fitness glide discs or furniture mover discs you can pick up at your local Home Depot or other such store. The disc is to be placed on a smooth carpeted surface, or over smooth turf in order to utilize it.

From here place the balls of your feet at the center of each glide disc with your hands on the ground and your body in an upright push up position. Next, pull one of your knees up towards your chest keeping your body streamlined with your neck, spine, hips, and extended leg in a straight line.

Once you elevate the one knee immediately extend it bringing the opposite knee to your chest. Brace your core midsection and continue to drive your knees up and down in rapid motion for the purpose of producing speed.

This drill is great for helping you to develop both core stability along with control and the development of speed. This drill is much more challenging than it appears.


Perform 3 to 5 sets of 10 to 15 reps counting each leg on your speed and functional conditioning days.

The Takeaway

When looking to enhance your conditioning for performance and life you have to be willing think outside the box. Functional conditioning drills like the ones stated here are going to challenge you in a completely different way and help you to be physically functional and ready for most any scenario you might fall into.

Are you currently incorporating any functional conditioning drills into your fitness program?

What drills are you currently using to become more functionally conditioned?

Please post up and share in the comment section here below.

If you need help with improving your functional conditioning, make sure you visit me at Brandon Richey Fitness.





Written by Brandon Richey, SGPT coach and owner of Brandon Richey Fitness, the 120-Day Training Plan to Build Powerful Functional Fitness is designed to transform your body and mind for the rest of your life.

You’ll never look at training the same way again.


  • 63 demonstration videos
  • Training articles
  • In-depth information on functional fitness
    and how it’s vital to living a full life
  • A new way of looking at the four pillars of functional fitness:
    Mobility, Strength, Conditioning and Recovery
  • ….And much more!

Click here or on the banner above and GET STARTED!





QUESTION: Coach—I’ve been feeling stuck in my workouts for the last couple of months and I haven’t broken any personal bests. I don’t think I’m overtraining but maybe I am. I also feel like I’m hungry all the time. How can I get back on track?

ANSWER: Check out my article on 10 Tips to Break Through a Training Plateau. Also make sure you’re getting good nutrition and hydration–sometimes if you feel hungry you’re dehydrated. If you’re not sure you are eating like you should, check out my Navy SEAL Nutrition Tips article. We also have a 90-Day Clean Eating Challenge where you’ll get tons of awesome info and even support if you feel you need it.


QUESTION: Hi, Coach. I recently joined your membership and I’ve been doing the workouts I can or scaling when I can’t but I’m getting blisters on my hands from the pull-ups. Do I just need to deal until my hands heal up and get tougher? Do you have some tips for helping the healing process?

ANSWER: Your hands will will toughen up. But you also do need to take care of them because you want to build calluses not more blisters which can get worse. Check out tips here.





Want another awesome way to kick up your functional fitness a few more notches?

Here at the SGPT Underground Bunker, we make sure get that boost by supplementing with Athletic Greens.

One scoop delivers 11 important superfoods, is chock full of essential vitamins and amino acids and mixes great with protein shakes.






How to Eliminate Fear and Be Unstoppable

3 Top Kettlebell Exercises For Functional Conditioning

Creating Optimal Athletic Performance: 4 Essential Elements