man performing metcon workout


Let’s dig into metcon workout. A sport scientist would love to call it a metcon exercise plan. The term ‘metcon’ is an amalgamated form of metabolic conditioning. Just as its name, the workout is also an amalgamation of two exercise plans; cardio and strength. Any gym freak will know when to go for cardio rounds and when to be more faithful to their strength training.

The trendy newcomer came with its own set of pros and cons. An effective and unique exercise plan is required to meet the goals for different body types. Along with these, there are few other things we need to know before rushing into this intensive workout. Read on to discover what metcon holds in its bag for you.

What is metcon workout?

The CrossFit community created a buzz in the fitness world by introducing (or some might say re-introducing) the metcon workout. The primary goal of metcon is to combine aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Typically, a metcon includes high-intensity training for a short duration.

The major benefit out of it is an escalated basal metabolic rate of the body. Getting high-school biology class flashbacks! Yes, the higher the metabolism, the easier it will be for one to lose weight. Metcon practitioners require to exert themselves to varying degrees for a staple period. The workout results in boosting the body’s energy output.

The optimization of energy output can be understood by applying basic body science.  The metcon workout engages the three crucial energy pathways of the body; phosphagen, anaerobic, and aerobic. All three pathways participate alternatively in generating ATP which serves as the energy source to the body muscles.

A pivotal query that may arise at this point is which pathway is the proactive one? The answer is phosphagen. They are the immediate source and kicks in within few seconds.

The second in the queue is the anaerobic or glycolytic pathway. The ATP produced by the glycolytic pathway is invested in high-intensity interval training or HIIT. Lastly, the aerobic or oxidative pathway comes in. The principal contribution of the aerobic pathway is in a cardio workout.

So, when you’re doing short bouts of workout, it is the phosphagen that is supplying the energy. At the HIIT phase, it is probably the glycolytic pathway doing the job of furnishing ATP. At the final stage, it is the oxidative mechanism that is responsible for cardio training.

It is important to engage all three of the pathways as it helps to sustain the body during diverse workout regimes. Therefore, quitting in the middle of a strenuous phase is a BIG no-no. After all, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

Effective Metcon workout at Home

How does Metcon stand different?

Different kinds of workout routines are classified under different categories. Just like the baseline of walking, running, jogging, and cycling increases one’s cardiac output, they are grouped under a cardio regime. Keeping in mind different body goals, cardio is advised for weight loss.

To put it simply, strength pieces of training are pursued by the one whose goal is muscle building. But what will be an apt category for the metcon workout? CrossFit Community made it clear that metcon is a combination of 2 poles. Let us look into some quick facts to differentiate between High-Intensity Interval Training and Metcon:

  1. The metcon workouts are short, intense, and sharp; whereas, HIIT regimes are not strenuous to that level
  2. The rest period in metcon lasts for 20 seconds; on the other hand, the rest period various in HIIT pattern
  3. The target of metcon is the achieve maximum sustained effort of the body; in HIIT, the heart rate is instigated up to 80% of the maximum level
  4. Metcon includes the use of weights in the workout, but HIIT is the entirely cardio and bodyweight-based training program

Some of the routines like dumbbell squats, chest press exercises, along with pushups, deadlifts, are all a part of metcon exercise plan. The use of instruments increases the chance of injury in metcon and thus acts as a risk factor.

To sum up, we can say that HIIT routines are kinds of metcon workouts, but all metcon exercise plans are not HIIT.

A common dilemma that often disturbs is which is better, HIIT or metcon? It depends on the body goal the person holds. From the continuous debate between HIIT and metcon it could be inferred that both techniques are efficient in weight reduction and maintenance of the body.

They can significantly help in gaining lean muscles. Coming to the baseline, if gym rats are more interested in weight life, go for metcon. If you are ready to work out using your body weight, choose HIIT. Though it is always advisable to check with a fitness trainer to discuss the routines most suitable for you.

The metcon workout routines

The fitness trainers are overwhelmed with the multiple avenues the metcon workout routines come with. A lot of goals have to be met in a limited short bout of reps. This is a massive challenge on part of the trainer. To make the task a bit bearable, three distinguished categories surfaced:

  1. Cardio-vascular-based conditioning variable: Cardio training is essentially used for increasing the heart rate of the person. It subsequently leads to weight loss along with many other physical benefits. The workouts may include running, cycling, sprinting, etc. In some cases, it also incorporates the use of gym equipment like treadmills, step machines, and rowers.
  2. Resistance conditioning variable: In this variable, the use of resistance training equipment is given priority. This variable engages with dumbbells, barbells, and chains to start with. Lean muscles may peek from under the skin after a week. Here you got some muscles to flaunt.
  3. Hybrid variable: As the terms imply, the hybrid or combined-based conditioning smashes the previous and design something unique. Both cardio and resistance training is used to devise a brand new metcon program. Getting the benefits from both ends, one can beat the heat with a slimmer waistline and ripped beast body.

More simply, metcon takes cardio and resistance conditionings, eliminates the disadvantage from them, and presents a workout plan beneficial on different facets. Taking it slowly during the initial days is a must. Taking a big leap may be taxing on your body if you’re a newbie. Relax, sit back, and plan. Planning is the most important part of metcon workout routine execution. Let’s find out how the metcon workout routine is fixed.

The FITT principle is widely accepted for designing metcon routines. Some of the top fitness houses of the world are following the FITT principle to devise body-building strategies. FITT stands for frequency, intensity, time, and type. It is the simplest mechanism one can opt for.

F for frequency: This is simply the count of the number of workouts carried out in a week. It is advised for the newbies to start with 2 days a week plan on the non-consecutive days. After a couple of weeks, it is advisable to run it four or five times a week.

I for intensity: Intensity refers to the percentage of one or more reps for a particular workout. Intensity could be directly performed by the sets and reps performed by you. Remember, metcon is high-intensity training. The more strenuous and sharper your performance is, the greater the rips of your muscles will be.

T for time: Time simply indicates the time you are devoting for each workout session. An ideal metcon session lasts for 30 minutes. At an advanced stage, the trainer may ask you to reduce your workout time by keeping the sets of exercises in the plan intact. But again, this is applicable only for the pro gym rats.

T for type: The last category refers to the type of exercises enlisted in your exercise plan. It also assesses the relevance of your metcon workout routine with your body goal. The routine is altered when the goals are revised. It can also be subject to change when the previous goals are already achieved in the routine and now, they have some other aims to fulfil.

The silver screen often amazes its audience with striking body transformations. Taking the example of the blockbuster ‘Dangal’, led by actor Amir Khan. The round belly figure of the actor’s late 40s could not be matched with his early 30s ripped biceps. What is the secret of such drastic transformations in such a short period?

One of the answers could be the adoption of metcon plans. The credit goes to the trainer who devised an effective and strategical plan to make the miracle possible. But unfortunately, the limelight is not for such artists.

A standard metcon routine

By now, it became evident that there is no unique metcon routine. It is designed or customized to serve each individual’s body goals. For those who are alien to the concept, it is highly recommended to master your volume and intensity training. Metcon is not a cakewalk. Some examples of metcon workout routines are as follows:

  1. The warm-up stage: A set of routines is provided to the trainees. One to three rounds of the routines are advised with a standard 20 seconds to rest intermittently. Some of the exercises that are prescribed as warm-ups are jump squats, pushups, leg lifts, etc.
  2. Bodyweight workout: This stage involves HIIT. An Individual’s body weight is used for executing the routines. Any kind of weight lift is not incorporated in this step. This includes box jumps, lunges, reverse lunges, hanging leg raises, etc. Three to five rounds are recommended with 3 minutes rest after each round.
  3. Muscle development stage: Equipment is used from this stage of metcon workout routine. As evident from the title, muscle building is the main target at this stage. Clean press, goblet squat, ab rollout, and different exercises with dumbbells, barbells are common in this stage. The same pattern of rep is followed as the previous stage.
  4. Hybrid routine: The cluster of the previous two stages is hybris or combo-routine. squat jumps, hanging twisted leg lifting, are usually practised in this stage. Three to five rounds are advised with a predetermined interval time in between each round.

After this staple metcon workout routine, upper or lower split and lower stages are also given to the trainees in varying degrees of intensities.

Metcon workout plans

The metcon workout plans could be broadly categorized into two classes. The AMRAP workout plan and the EMOM workout plan. The previous plan refers to as many reps/rounds as possible in a specified period. For example, if a trainee chooses four exercises and wants to see how many reps, he/she/they can do in 30 seconds, it is an AMRAP workout plan.

This plan may prove to be strenuous. In a survey, it has been observed that AMRAP plans have 30% higher chances to cause an injury than EMOM plans. On the other hand, the EMOM or every minute on the minute plan asks the trainees to complete a set of reps at the start of every minute. An interval of rest is provided between each round.

Some of the AMRAP workouts are safe to practice at home as explained by Laura Williams in her blog. Read to learn more about home-based AMRAP plans


The combination of cardio and strength training into a single exercise plan is a milestone achieved by the CrossFit community. Though the idea may sound simple, practising metcon is not an easy task to accomplish.

A lot of people quit the workout plans midway. While some of them have higher levels of motivation. Metcon comes with its pros and cons. It is always advised for the gym freaks to consult their trainer before trying their hands on something new.

The amalgamation of two different workout plans would shape the future of the fitness industry. Till then, keep flexing your muscles, flaunting your bodies, and continue achieving healthy body goals. Stay Strong. Buildingbeast.