3 Best Metabolic Conditioning Workouts and Routines w/PDF

Whether you’re a personal trainer or just a fitness enthusiast, an understanding of the metabolic conditioning program helps you and your clients achieve fitness goals faster. In this article, I’ve shared all about metabolic conditioning (MetCon), including the best workouts and routines.

This guide will help you design a MetCon workout program and scale your fitness to the next level.

What is Metabolic Conditioning?

Metabolic conditioning (MetCon) is a kind of workout program that involves performing bodyweight cardio and resistance exercises and helps enhance aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

Features of Metabolic Conditioning Workout Program (MetCon)

  • It includes various types of workouts, such as traditional cardio, strength workouts, and Tabata.
  • The exercises in a MetCon program are performed at a moderate to fast pace.
  • Metabolic conditioning exercises burn more calories, support weight loss, build muscle, and help you become stronger and leaner.
  • It boosts metabolism, increases VO2 max, and improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness.

3 Best Metabolic Conditioning Workouts and Routines

MetCon Workouts
MetCon Workouts

Some of the best examples of metabolic workouts include Circuit Training, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and Resistance Training (barbell and dumbbell complexes).

1. Circuit Training

Circuit training involves performing a set of exercises with no rest between them. It is a high-intensity training program requiring you to perform exercises at a moderate to maximum heart rate.

It helps increase weight loss, enhances fat-free mass, promotes cardiovascular health, strengthens the entire body, and improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness.1 Functional High-Intensity Circuit Training Improves Body Composition, Peak Oxygen Uptake, Strength, and Alters Certain Dimensions of Quality of Life in Overweight Women – Frontiers in Physiology, 2 Circuit Weight Training: A Critical Review of Its Physiological Benefits – The Physician and Sports Medicine, 3Effects of Resistance Circuit-Based Training on Body Composition, Strength and Cardiorespiratory Fitness: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis – Biology Basel

This program involves performing bodyweight and weighted exercises at a moderate pace, neither slow nor high intensity. It is great for people who find HIIT challenging.

Here, I’ve designed a weekly routine for you as an example.

Instructions:

  • Intensity: 60-75% of your maximum heart rate (MHR)
  • Rest between exercises: 30-60 seconds
  • Number of Rounds: Do as many as possible in 30 minutes.
  • Rest between rounds: 2-3 minutes
MondayWednesdayFriday
15 Dumbbell Squats10 Squat Jumps15-sec High Knees
10 Push-Ups15 Overhead Presses20 Kettlebell Swings
10 Bent-over Rows10 Deadlifts10 Standing IYT Raises
10 Crunches30-sec Mountain Climber10 Incline Plank Row
12 Front Lunges10 Pendlay Row12 Incline Bench Press
10 Floor Press30-sec Overhead DB Walk10 Burpees
10 One-arm Rows1-min Forearm Plank10 DB Oblique Chop

2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is designed to work on the full body with little or no equipment.

HIIT exercises are intense bursts and are performed in a couple of intervals. For example, 30 seconds work and 30 seconds rest.

Various studies have proved the importance of HIIT for overall health and fitness. You can check out the pros and cons in detail.

HIIT is a part of the MetCon, but not all HIIT exercises are included in the metabolic conditioning program.

The selection of exercises, intensity level, intervals between sets, and duration of a workout session all depend on your or your fitness level.

Here’s how a Metabolic Conditioning HIIT program looks:

Monday

  • 15-sec High-knees, 15-sec rest
  • 10 Burpees, 30-sec rest
  • 10 Push Presses, 30-sec rest
  • 10 Snatches, 30-sec rest
  • 15-sec Mountain climbing
  • 10 Bent-over Rows, 30-sec
  • Repeat five times

Wednesday

  • 10 Pop Squats
  • 10 Push-ups
  • 15 Bent-Over Rows
  • 10 Sit-ups
  • 10 Jumping Lunges
  • 15 Overhead Press
  • 15-sec Flutter Kicks
  • Repeat five times

Friday

  • 10 Squat Jumps
  • 20 Kettlebell Swings
  • 10 Barbell Clean
  • 10 Knee Tap Push-up
  • 12 Dumbbell Step-ups
  • 10 Floor Presses
  • 15 Reverse Crunches
  • Repeat five times

3. Metabolic Resistance Training Workout

Metabolic Resistance Training
Metabolic Resistance Training

Whether you’re a male or female, underweight or overweight, beginner or pro, you can incorporate weight training in your Metabolic conditioning training to enhance your cardiovascular health, build fat-free mass, and achieve an aesthetic physique.

You can design a metabolic conditioning strength workout plan using various isolation and compound exercises, such as deadlifts, biceps curls, clean and press, bench presses, lateral raises, overhead presses, and squats.

Here, I’ve designed a weekly metabolic resistance training program you can start with:

Monday

Dumbbell ComplexBarbell Complex
10 Front Squats10 Back Squats
10 Push Presses10 Hang Cleans
20 Pendlay DB Rows (10/side)10 Thrusters
20 Dumbbell Lunges (10/leg)10 Deadlifts
Two to three roundsTwo to three rounds

Wednesday

DB ComplexBB Complex
20 Steps Farmers Walk5 Front Squats
10 Dumbbell Clusters5 Hang Cleans
10 Floor Presses5 Thrusters
20 DB Wood Chops (10/side)5 Pendlay Rows
Two to three roundsTwo to three rounds

Friday

DB ComplexBB Complex
5 Pop Squats5 Landmine Press
5 Clean and Press5 High Pulls
10 Squat to Twist Press (5/side)10 Thrusters
10 Incline Plank Rows (5/side)5 Bent-over Rows
Two to three roundsTwo to three rounds

How Often Should You Do Metabolic Conditioning Workout?

It depends on what you want to achieve, but two or three times a week would be good to go if you’re a beginner.

However, don’t force yourself. Always listen to your body. When you start, focus on technique and form and build a good foundation in the beginning.

Sleeping and rest are also crucial for muscle recovery.

Metabolic Conditioning (MetCon) Workouts PDF

Is Metabolic Conditioning Good for Weight Loss?

Metabolic Conditioning workouts burn more calories and help you lose or maintain weight.

Burning more calories throughout the day is the ultimate goal of every overweight person. Metabolic conditioning exercises do this work.

Moreover, the metabolic conditioning program also boosts your metabolism and allows your body to release calories even after completing your workout.

If you follow a calorie-deficit diet and metabolic conditioning workouts, you will see some improvement.

Can You Build Muscle with Metabolic Conditioning?

The MetCon workout isn’t effective for Mass Gain.

Metabolic conditioning training includes moderate to high-intensity calorie-burning exercises that are suitable for weight loss but inefficient for hypertrophy4 Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods – National Institute of Health Database.

Muscle grows when you lift maximum weights throughout the workouts. Lifting heavier weights engages more muscles, especially type II muscle fiber, which is responsible for mass gain.

Metcon exercises are intense bursts with little rest between sets so you won’t get enough rest, and as a result, you won’t be able to do exercises with proper form and execution.

Although the metabolic conditioning program builds muscles only at a certain level, after that, you won’t see much gain.

Please Note: Before starting this kind of training, it’s always essential to consult with your doctor if you have any issues.

References

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Author
Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.

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