5 Keys to Metabolic Conditioning

(Last Updated On: January 4, 2021)


If you’re in the fitness industry or you’re simply a fitness enthusiast, you’ve probably already heard of the term “metabolic conditioning” before now. This term is slowly transforming into a huge trend, as a growing number of people are becoming aware of the huge benefits of this sweat-inducing workout technique.

Also known as “Metcon”, metabolic conditioning comes with a wide range of benefits for your entire body and could help you shed off extra weight more than any other exercise. With Metcons, you can achieve maximum calorie burn, enhance your calorie profile, and ultimately boost your cardiovascular capacity.

So why are metcons so good for you in 2020 and beyond? Let’s explore below 5 unique aspects about metabolic conditioning that you want to be aware of, especially if you’re keen on building a physique people will envy you for.

Mindee Le Diehl tire flip


Related: HIIT Cardio: The Complete Guide


1. What Actually is a Metcon and What it Isn’t

This term has been thrown around quite a lot lately, with numerous fitness gurus trying to pin it down. Because of that, they have only increased the aura of mystery around it. Metabolic conditioning is certainly not just a bunch of exercises that you perform rapidly over a short period of time, in quick succession. Instead, it includes various conditioning exercises performed in a structured set of reps and rest periods, with the ultimate goal of kickstarting the metabolism.

Metabolic conditioning is similar to aerobic training. However, it includes a specific set of exercises aimed to allow your muscles to better use the energy in your body and make the most out of the blood flow. Metcon exercises can increase your cardiovascular capacity beyond what you can experience with a standard aerobic program.

Running Sprints


2. How Are the Rest Periods Used?

In metabolic conditioning, rest periods are key for experiencing maximum results out of your exercises. Your main goal in metcon circuit is to boost your efficiency and make the most out of each second in order to make your physique leaner and enhance your performance. What’s truly amazing about this training method is that it allows you to lose calories not just during workout, but also long after the workout session is over.

Also known as the “after-burn” effect, you can skyrocket your metabolism and enable your body to continue losing weight for hours after the circuit is complete. However, for that, you want to know how to properly use the rest periods.

Here are a few examples of proper rest periods to increase the after-burn effect (or EPOC effect):

  • 30 on/30 off method: simply exercise extremely fast for 30 seconds, then rest for 30 seconds. Do this for 6 rounds.
  • Tabata training: 20 seconds of heavy training, followed by 10 seconds of rest. No more than 8 rounds in total.
  • Circuit training: you should perform between 3 and 6 exercises in a row with minimal rest, or no rest at all.


3. What Types of Exercises to Perform?

A good metcon should include primarily multi-joint workouts and exercises. The list includes box jumps, tire flips, kettlebell swings, barbell thrusters, and burpees. All of these exercises can work several groups of muscles in a very short period of time, enabling you to benefit from a great metabolic response.

metablic conditioning


4. How Can You Create Your Own Bespoke Metcom?

In order to help you set up your own metcon workout, we’ve put together a list of “ingredients”. You are welcome to play with them and choose your own favorite metcon, switching between exercises in order to meet your level of conditioning. Here’s the process:

Step 1: Choose your favorite method: you can select one of the methods explained above, including the 30 on/30 off, Tabata training, or circuit training.

Step 2: Add several multi-joint movement exercises with moderate loads: choose from box jumps, rope slams, kettlebell swings and tire flips

Step 3: Perform your bespoke Metcom circuit during off-lifting days or at the end of a training session


5. Example Workouts

Tabata Method

Perform 20 seconds of kettlebell swings, rest 10 seconds. Repeat for 8 rounds total.



Perform as many burpees as possible in 30 seconds and then rest for 30 seconds. Repeat this sequence for 6 total rounds.


Circuit Training

Perform 10 reps of the following exercises with minimal to no rest between each exercise:

  • Pull-ups
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Tire Flips
  • Barbell Thrusters
  • Box Jumps

Perform 5 total rounds resting 1-2 minutes between each round.


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments