The Dirty Dozen – Conditioning Program

By on December 9, 2010

Dirty Dozen

I find strength and conditioning has no bounds other than the imagination of the person creating it. Yes it helps if you have experience in this field as I do, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.

This session will help you increase your strength endurance or functional strength and conditioning. it will also improve your general physical preparedness, or the ability to recover quickly after periods of intense exercise, whether that be high intensity interval training or resistance training.

The premise of this training session is a simple one.

Select 12 exercises and perform each one for 12 reps… Simple

But when does simple equate to easy 🙂


You can perform this anywhere, if you haven’t got access to a gym then get creative and use body weight. there is always a way.

I have performed this outside in temperatures below freezing and in gyms. it doesn’t matter where.

This principles of this session were actually devised by somebody else, so I take no credit them other than the effort I used to perform it. It is always good to learn from others, whether it is another idea of  how to apply what you know or something completely different.

My friend from across the pond, Joe Hashey knows a thing or two about designing programs and being a bit off the wall in his training methods, so when I saw his idea for the dirty dozen training protocol as I pondered  on a training session a few weeks back I thought that I had to give it a go.

So pick 12 exercises and perform 12 reps of each exercise, sounds easy right?

Well you would be wrong, the first time I tried this it kicked my ass, I was completely gassed. Lucky for me my general physical preparedness (GPP) is at a level where I can recover quickly between rounds. After 4 though I had had enough.

The program is designed to alternate between strength and conditioning exercises. Of course it isn’t an out and out max strength program and  lends itself more to conditioning and strength endurance, but it makes for one hell of a training session. As Joe says, “it is more a method of  training and is designed to be short, flexible with the equipment available and what you want to get out of it”.

Which Level?

Your fitness level will define the amount of rest you take. By splitting it up into 3 levels of difficulty it allows you to have your rest defined in advance so you know when to grasp some extra air.


Pick 12 exercises, perform 2, rest 20 seconds and move onto the next 2 until the 12 are complete

1) Strength

2) Conditioning

REST 20 seconds and repeat 6 more times


Pick 12 exercises, perform 4, rest 20 seconds and move onto the next 4 until the 12 are complete

1) Strength

2) Conditioning

3) Strength

4) Conditioning

REST 20 seconds and repeat 3 more times


Pick 12 exercises, perform 6, rest 20 seconds and move onto the next 6 until the 12 are complete

1) Strength

2) Conditioning

3) Strength

4) Conditioning

5) Strength

6) Conditioning

REST 20 seconds and repeat 1 more time

At the end of the 12 exercises, Rest for 60-90 seconds and repeat for 3-6 rounds depending on your fitness level. Make sure you push hard!!

My Dirty Dozen

I fired in an intermediate session with the following exercises, I have got a shiny new weight vest and decided this was the day I was gonna christen it. I am not sure that was the brightest idea but there you go 🙂

All the exercises were done wearing the vest:

  1. Alternating Dumbbell Shoulder Press
  2. Squat
  3. Inverted strap row
  4. Lunge jumps

REST 20 seconds

  1. Pushups
  2. Burpees
  3. Alternating Dumbbell Rows
  4. Squat jumps

REST 20 Seconds

  1. Dumbbell squat thrust to RDL
  2. Med Ball Slam
  3. Dumbbell Curls
  4. Full Jack knife (V sits ) sit ups

REST 60-90 seconds and repeat for 4 rounds

Man that weight vest made a BIG difference, it totally pushed me to my limit. Remember you can make this method up with any 12 exercises that you want.

Give it a go, post up the exercises and rest and rounds, make it a challenge!


Be strong, stay healthy





About Dean Coulson

• International Best Selling Author of the Fit Formula • Feature writer on Nutrition for the Uk’s biggest selling Martial arts magazine – Martial Arts Illustrated • Presenter & speaker - Tour the UK with Bafta Award Winning writer Geoff Thompson. ( ) • Owner and Performance coach at Assert Fitness Ltd. Taking our clients Dreams and makes them a reality, through the realms of coaching all aspects of health and fitness to busy professionals. • ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.