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Metcon Training? What’s That?

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Metcon Training? What’s That?

Metabolic conditioning, or metcon for short, is the newest fitness term everyone is throwing about in the fitness world. Those of us in the field have been aware of this for quite some time, so the sudden rise in popularity isn’t unexpected. But why has the term suddenly made it to the forefront of fitness?

The biggest reason it’s all the rage is it’s a massive time saver for a fast paced, work, work, work, world we live in now. This is not a quick fix or a magical fitness routine that will magically make you as shredded as your favorite American Gladiators were back in the day, but with hard work (like any fitness program), you’ll get solid results.

Metcon is a form of interval training that utilizes all of the fitness tools we know and love and tax you to the max. The benefits reach further than just saving you time. Think of metcon training as teaching your body to burn fat on an hourly basis. Remember, the workout is the trigger that lights your metabolic fire. Another benefit that separates it from traditional cardio is the potential for it to help you gain a little muscle and strength. Set up right, certain metcons can shape your physique, not just burn fat. Lastly, the muscle you already have won’t be at risk of shrinking. For cardio freaks that seem to perform endless amounts of muscle-wasting cardio, metcon can actually help you retain what you’ve already built.

There are many avenues to take when designing a metcon program. Some will be exclusive to one variable while others will comprise of a variety. Let’s break down these variables.

Cardiovascular-Based Conditioning: This is the more traditional form of conditioning. Most cardio interval training programs will consist of running, sprinting, biking, and agility training as well as using different types of gym equipment such as treadmills, recumbent bikes, elliptical machines, rowers, and step machines.

Resistance-Based Conditioning: Here, you’ll use more resistant training equipment to achieve a conditioned state. Anything from barbells, dumbbells, and kettlebells to bands, chains, sledgehammers, med balls and tires will be utilized. This is also where you’ll develop a little muscle and strength to go along with scorching fat.

 Hybrid or Combined-Based Conditioning: Here, you’ll utilize both cardio and resistance training to create your metcon program. You’ll benefit from the best of both worlds


Below is an example of a warm-up and hybrid routine for you to try at home or in the gym.

Warm Up: Perform 1 to 3 rounds with little to no rest between exercises for a general warm up

Jump squats – 10 reps

Pushups – 10 reps

Walking lunges – 20 total steps

Inverted rows – 10 reps

Calf jumps – 10 reps

Bicycle crunch or leg lifts – 20 reps


Hybrid Routine: Perform 3 to 5 rounds, 3 minutes rest after each round.

Squat jumps – 10 reps

Renegade rows – 10 reps

Weighted step ups – 10 reps

Plyo pushups – 10 reps

One-arm kettlebell push press – 5 each arm

Hanging twisted leg lift – 5-10 reps each side

If you’re new to metcon style training you won’t want to jump in on your first go. Perform rounds at a slower pace, reduce the volume and/or reps, or cut out a few exercises. You don’t want to burn out and get sidelined early in the game. The goal is to coax your body to adapt to the rigors of this type of training, not force it. As with most things, if you force them they will eventually break and no longer work. It will take several weeks to adapt so practice patience.

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