We take an in-depth look at the MetCon workout, a firm favourite of CrossFitters and something that could be the answer to your fitness prayers.
What does MetCon stand for?
MetCon stands for Metabolic Conditioning. It is a type of workout that will exert your cardiovascular system (getting you out of breath) and will also get your heart rate up, increasing your overall level of fitness.
Conditioning is a term that includes building muscle as well as increasing fitness. It is a very high intensity form of training and differs from low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio such as long runs and bike rides. It continually shocks your system and forces your body to change and adapt, therefore achieving excellent results.
The metabolic part refers to how a MetCon workout will affect your metabolism. Not only will you burn a ton of calories during your session, a MetCon will rev up your metabolism and have you burning fat for hours after your finish.
Types of MetCon workout
There are many types of MetCon workout, both with equipment and without, and you can do a number of different activities. From swimming to sprinting to lifting weights, being able to mix up your MetCon workouts and be creative can really keep you motivated and means you're not stuck doing the same workout day in day out.
Training for time
A popular type of MetCon workout is one that is done for time. In this type of session, you will complete a set number of reps or rounds and see how long it takes you. This is a fantastic way of monitoring your progress as you can go back and do the same MetCon again and again, trying to beat your previous time. Another benefit of this type of workout is that you can compare your time to someone else's, therefore creating a sense of competition and increasing your motivation.
Training for reps
On the flipside, another style of workout is one that is done for reps. You might be given a specific exercise with a set number of reps and have to challenge how heavy you can go. For example, 5 sets of 3 reps on front squats. You could complete the rounds and see how heavy you can go.
This popular CrossFit acronym stands for Every Minute On the Minute. It is a great way of keeping the workout interesting and keeping you focused. You will complete a specific number of reps on either one or a series of exercises every minute on the minute, meaning that the quicker you get the exercises done, the more rest you will have in between.
For example, 10 rounds of 5 burpees. If it takes you 30 seconds to complete the burpees, you'd have 30 seconds of rest before the next set. If it takes you 55 seconds, you'd only have 5 seconds of rest!
AMRAP stands for As Many Reps As Possible. The 'R' can also stand for Rounds. In this instance, you will complete as many reps as you can in a given time. This is another way to challenge yourself as you can try to beat your previous record each time you do the workout.
Example MetCon Workouts
This is an example of an EMOM workout:
8 squat clean thrusters
8 chin ups
8 push ups with renegade row
16 box jumps
16 kettlebell swings
Complete 6 rounds.
(This is a workout by Sundried ambassador Charlotte Lamb)
This is an example of a 'for time' workout:
(This is the official CrossFit 180713 workout)
How to write your own MetCon workout
Creating your own MetCon workouts can be a great way to get creative with your training and keep things fun and interesting. You can make it as hard or as easy-going as you like and there are lots of ways to challenge yourself.
The first thing to do when writing a MetCon workout is to figure out what equipment you have at your disposal and what exercises you're capable of completing. It's no good trying to do a workout that includes muscle ups and swimming if you can't do muscle ups and don't have access to water!
Think about your specific goals and add exercises that will help you work towards them. If you are training for a marathon, you could include 1-mile runs and shuttle runs. If you're training for a weightlifting competition, you'll want more barbell complexes and strength exercises like pull-ups and push ups.
You can make a MetCon workout as long or as short as you like, so think about how much time you have on your hands. A MetCon workout can be a great way to burn lots of calories in a very short space of time.